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Enhancing Campus Retention Studies: Predicting 4- and 6-Year Degree Attainment with Institutional and Freshman Survey Data Linda DeAngelo CIRP Assistant Director for Research Overview of Presentation Review findings from recent study on retention rates at the national level

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Enhancing Campus Retention Studies: Predicting 4- and 6-Year Degree Attainment with Institutional and Freshman Survey Data

Linda DeAngelo

CIRP Assistant Director for Research

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

overview of presentation
Overview of Presentation
  • Review findings from recent study on retention rates at the national level
  • Discuss how institutional data and data from a freshman survey such as CIRP’s Freshman Survey can be used to predict retention at the institutional level
  • Demonstrate how an institution can use the formulas created at HERI to compute expected retention in order to gauge the effectiveness of their retention programs

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

the national study of retention
The National Study of Retention
  • Data: 1994 CIRP Freshman Survey and degree completion data provided on 4- and 6-year completers provided by registrars offices
  • 262 baccalaureate-granting institutions
  • 56,818 students – full-time, first-time freshman in 1994
  • Weighted data to represent national norms

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

purpose of study
Purpose of Study
  • Determine degree completion rates by gender, race/ethnicity, and institutional type
  • Identify entering student characteristics that predict degree completion
  • Develop formulas that individual institutions can use to compute “expected” retention rates
  • Examine results for 4- and 6-year completers and for those still enrolled after 6 years

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

major finding from study
Major Finding from Study
  • Nationally, time to degree has increased
  • Results: 36% graduated within four years in this study. In 1989 a decade earlier, 40% graduated within four years, and in the late 60s, 47% graduated within four years
  • Six-year graduation rate in this study is 59% and this increases to 62% if you count those still enrolled after 6 years as retained

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

effects of institutional type on retention
Effects of Institutional Type on Retention

Data suggests that attending public institutions not only lowers the chances that a student will complete a degree, but prolongs time to degree

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

effects of gender on retention
Effects of Gender On Retention

Greatest gender gap occurs at 4 years (7%); reduces to 3% when you take into account students still enrolled after 6 years

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

effects of race ethnicity on retention
Effects of Race/Ethnicity on Retention

Data suggests that the same factors that contribute to low college attendance rates and low retention rates among URM students may also be prolonging time to degree

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

effects of race ethnicity and institutional type on retention
Effects of Race/Ethnicity and Institutional Type on Retention

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

how good is your retention rate
How “Good” Is Your Retention Rate?

Did you know? – Two-thirds of the variation among institutions in their degree completion rates is attributable to differences in their entering classes rather than to differences in the effectiveness of their undergraduate retention programs

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

how good is your retention rate11
How “Good” Is Your Retention Rate?

Our data suggests that it is unwise, and possibly misleading, to compare the raw degree completion rates of different institutions without first taking into account the level of academic preparation of each institution’s students when they first enroll

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

changes in retention when student characteristics at entry are used
Changes in Retention When Student Characteristics at Entry are Used

Example – Although the 4-year degree attainment rates at private universities are more than 40% higher than those at public colleges, this difference diminishes to approximately 15% when expected degree attainment rates are taken into account

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

retention by high school grades
Retention by High School Grades

Data clearly indicated that HS grades are a major determinant of college completion at 4, 6, and 6+ years

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

retention by sat comp score
Retention by SAT Comp Score

Data indicates that the college completion gap between test scores narrows as time to degree increases

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

retention by hs gpa and sat comp
Retention by HS GPA and SAT Comp

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

predicting expected retention institutional or cirp variables
Predicting Expected Retention:Institutional or CIRP Variables
  • Variables Used: Average HS GPA, SAT COMP, Gender, Race/Ethnicity
  • All are variables that the large majority of institutions already have available for analysis
  • These variables are also available on The Freshman Survey from CIRP at HERI

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

multiple r by various retention prediction equations institutional or cirp variables
Multiple R by Various Retention Prediction Equations:Institutional or CIRP Variables

Factors beyond High School GPA add slightly more than 5% to the variance accounted for in predicting retention

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

demonstration of heri retention calculator institutional or cirp variables
Demonstration of HERI Retention Calculator:Institutional or CIRP Variables

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

predicting expected retention if you use cirp freshman survey
Predicting Expected Retention: If You Use CIRP Freshman Survey
  • Substantially improves prediction of degree completion over what was possible using only high school grades, test scores, gender, and race/ethnicity
  • Prediction now includes measures of SES, info about financial aid, activities as HS seniors, reasons for attending college, goals, likely college activities, major, and environmental factors

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

multiple r by various retention prediction equations for users of cirp freshman survey
Multiple R by Various Retention Prediction Equations:For Users of CIRP Freshman Survey

With all input factors, SAT Comp adds very little to the variance accounted for in predicting retention

Most of the variance is accounted for by the effects of entering students rather than differential institutional effects

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

demonstration of heri retention calculator with all cirp available variables
Demonstration of HERI Retention Calculator:With All CIRP Available Variables

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

conclusions
Conclusions
  • Even students who come to college well prepared academically are less likely to persist to degree today than in the past
  • Calls for accountability that require the reporting of “raw” rates of retention actually harm, rather than enhance, the incentive for institutions to admit and educate underprepared students

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

conclusions continued
Conclusions, Continued
  • Institutions can be more accountable for their effectiveness when they take into account the characteristics of the students they enroll
  • Institutions who participate in the CIRP Freshman Survey can predict more precise measures of expected retention
  • Having more precise measures of expected retention enhances institutional, system, and state level policy and practice

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles

question and discussion period
Question and Discussion Period
  • For more information visit HERI at www.gseis.ucla.edu/heri
  • The report “Degree Attainment Rates at American Colleges and Universities” is available for purchase or order at the conference
  • My email is: lindade@ucla.edu

Higher Education Research Institute

University of California at Los Angeles