Student Retention Pieces of the Puzzle: Improving Student Retention and Graduation Rates
Student Retention • Overview • Who Are Today’s College Students? • Who Stays? Who Leaves? • Why? • What can we do about it?
Student Retention Pieces of the Puzzle Fact No. 1 • By traditional standards, students are brighter and better prepared today than ever before. • BUT, they suffer from low expectations and high grade inflation in the secondary school system.
Student Retention • % Who said there was a • “very good chance” they would . . . • 1% Fail a course • < 1% Drop out temporarily • 3% Transfer to another college
Student Retention Time Spent in High School . . . 56% studied 5 hrs or less per week 33% watched TV more than 5 hrs/week 11% read for pleasure more than 5 hrs/week
Student Retention Why Students Chose UT-Austin • 75% Academic reputation • 57% Grads get good jobs • 42% Low tuition • 42% Grads go to top grad schools
Student Retention Pieces of the Puzzle Fact No. 2 • We know what works in student retention. Nearly ALL of our retention programs are successful. • They improve the academic performance and increase the retention rate of students who participate.
Student Retention Pieces of the Puzzle Fact No. 3 • We know why students leave UT Austin: • Students report multiple “causes.” • 65% reported PERSONAL reasons such as: • lack of motivation, “burn out”, poor high school preparation,family problems and health • 58% reported FINANCIAL or work-school conflicts • 33% reported ACADEMIC problems
Student Retention Policy Reasons People Reasons Student Attrition Teaching/Curriculum Reasons Resource Reasons
Student Retention People Reasons - Students • Are students not “well prepared” for college? • Are students not “motivated?” • Are students here for the “wrong” reasons? • Can students afford to attend UT?
Student Retention People Reasons - Faculty • Why should faculty worry about the graduation rate? • How can we improve graduation rates without lowering academic standards? • Why should we spend more time teaching? • Why should we teach “differently?”
Student Retention Policy Reasons • Would a failing grade replacement policy improve retention rates? • What happens to the students in majors with a “grade point requirement” who have greater than a 2.0 gpa but less than the requirement?
Student Retention Resource Reasons • If enrollment increases, will students have more difficulty obtaining courses that meet their interests and degree requirements? • If more students are successful at the freshmen and sophomore level, will we have the faculty resources to teach upper division level courses?
Student Retention Curriculum / Teaching Reasons • What are the risks/rewards of changing HOW we teach? • Is our curriculum too diverse; does it give students too many choices? • How can we better motivate students to attend class? • How do we reward teachers for promoting retention?
Student Retention Who Leaves?
Student Retention • 1st Year Attrition Rate • SAT Qtr % HS Rank % • Top Qtr 09 Top 10% 09 • 2nd Qtr 13 Next 15% 16 • 3rd Qtr 17 2nd Qtr 25 • 4th Qtr 26 Bottom Half 50
Student Retention Pieces of the Puzzle Fact No. 4 • Historically, retention programs at UT-Austin re-shuffle the deck and change the faces of those who succeed, but do not improve the university-wide graduation rate.
Student Retention Pieces of the Puzzle Fact No. 5 • The graduation rate at UT Austin has not changed in over 30 years.
Student Retention Pieces of the Puzzle Fact No. 6 • Academic “Darwinism” has been the dominant retention philosophy on this campus. • UT-Austin’s academic reputation depends on letting only the “fittest” survive! • Student failure rates in the freshmen/sophomore year restrict graduation rates.
Student Retention Pieces of the Puzzle Fact No. 7 • Educational policy “traps” when combined with student failure result in high levels of “wheel spinning” by students attempting to improve their grades and enter upper division majors.
Student Retention • Completed No UT Degree & • UT Degree 121+ Total Hrs • % dropped a course 47% 56% • If dropped, avg. hrs dropped 5.3 6.7 • % failed a course 27% 51% • If failed, avg. hrs failed 8.0 12.6
Student Retention Pieces of the Puzzle Fact No. 8 • UT Austin can not afford high levels of student success. • If al the freshmen who entered this fall were academically successful, we would not have the resources to educate them in their junior and senior year.
Student Retention What will it take to change the graduation rates? • The “will” to change the status quo. • Broaden our focus from just “fixing” students to looking at our total system. • Put more time, effort and money into the academic classroom. • Re-evaluate educational policy that limits or restricts student success.
Student Retention Had Enough?
Student Retention • Academic Performance • Retention Rates • Graduation Rates
Student Retention The Graduation Rate Paradox • Student preparation level improves every year • Most retention programs improve academic performance and reduce the attrition rate • The graduation rate has not changed in 30 years
Student Retention % Who said there was a “very good chance” they would . . . • 86% Get a bachelor’s degree • 71% Make a “B” average • 29% Graduate with honors
Student Retention • Who comes to UT-Austin? • Demographics • Preparation • Attitudes
Student Retention • Student Attitudes
Student Retention • How well prepared are UT Students?
Student Retention Why Do Students Leave?