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Don Hossler Mary Ziskin Indiana University Paul Orehovec University of Miami. Developing the Big Picture: How Postsecondary Institutions Support Student Persistence. College Board Forum 2007. The Search for Policy Relevant Insights into Student Persistence.

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developing the big picture how postsecondary institutions support student persistence

Don Hossler

Mary Ziskin

Indiana University

Paul Orehovec

University of Miami

Developing the Big Picture: How Postsecondary Institutions Support Student Persistence

College Board Forum 2007

the search for policy relevant insights into student persistence
The Search for Policy Relevant Insights into Student Persistence
  • We are interested in understanding how campuses can intervene to positively influence persistence.
  • We are interested in a better understanding of how we can enhance student experiences to improve student persistence & graduation
literature on institutional role in student persistence
Literature on Institutional Role in Student Persistence
  • Many have pointed to the importance of this question (Braxton, 1999; Hossler, 2005; Perna & Thomas, 2006; Tinto & Pusser, 2006)
  • Policy levers
    • Work identifying pivotal practices

(Braxton, Hirschy, McClendon, 2004; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991; Stage & Hossler, 2000)

    • Directions identified through theory and research

(Braxton & McClendon, 2001-2002; Peterson, 1993)

    • Empirical record remains uneven

(Patton, Morelon, Whitehead, & Hossler, 2006)

two ongoing efforts
Two Ongoing Efforts

College Board Institutional Survey

College Board Student Survey

  • What are institutions doing to improve student retention?
  • Survey of 275 four-year institutions
  • What are students’ experiences with institutional policies relevant to student persistence?
  • Websurvey and in-class administration
institutional survey
Institutional Survey

College Board Pilot Study on Student Retention

survey of institutional retention practices
Survey ofInstitutional Retention Practices

2006: Survey of 4-year institutions in California, Georgia, Indiana, New York, & Texas

  • Findings focus on:
    • How institutions organize themselves around retention efforts.
    • Actionable Institutional Policies/Practices
      • Orientation
      • Academic Advising
      • First-Year Experience Seminar
coordination of retention efforts
Coordination of Retention Efforts
  • Analyses identified patterns in how institutions coordinate retention efforts:
      • Presence of a campus wide retention committee
      • FTE devoted to research on retention
      • The respondents’ ratings of how coordinated the retention efforts on a campus are
  • 73.9% have a retention committee
  • 72.1% report coordinating retention-related programs “somewhat” or “to a great extent”
retention coordinators
Retention Coordinators
  • 59.1% report having an administrator charged with tracking and improving retention & persistence
    • Mean FTE reported for this position was .29
    • 42.9% report that the retention coordinator has some or a great deal of authority to implement new initiatives
    • 25.5% report that retention coordinator has some or a great deal of authority to fund new initiatives
  • Responses revealed patterns in authority allocated to retention coordinators:
      • Authority to implement new initiatives
      • Limited authority to fund new initiatives
      • Relatively small %FTE allocated to role of retention coordinator
policies for faculty interaction early warning
Policies for Faculty Interaction & Early Warning

Early Warning

Faculty Interaction Practices

  • 58.1% report they collect mid-term grade information for first-year students

However…

  • 52.9% report they do not flag specific courses with high percentages of Ds, Fs, or Withdrawals
  • 61.0% report average class size for courses primarily taken by 1st year students is between 1-30 students

However…

  • 69.2% report that incentives for full-time faculty to teach first-year classes were non-existent or small
academic advising
Academic Advising

Advising Practices

Advising Roles

  • 82.6% require first-year students to meet with an academic advisor every term
  • 70.0% report that incentives for full-time faculty to serve as academic advisors were non-existent or small
  • 57.1% estimate that more than three-quarters of their first-year students were advised by full-time faculty
  • 28.4% estimate that more than three-quarters of first-year students were advised by professional advisors
student survey
Student Survey

College Board Pilot Study on Student Retention

participating campuses
Participating Campuses
  • Campuses included
    • 3 commuter campuses
    • 2 small private liberal arts colleges
    • 3 residential public universities
    • 1 public HBCU
    • 1 private HBCU
  • Institutions in six states
student experiences of actionable institutional practices
Student experiences of actionable institutional practices
  • Advising structures and policies
  • Orientation
  • Interaction with faculty
  • Active learning
  • Experiences with financial aid practices
  • Perceptions of campus climate
  • Perceptions of academic regulations
  • Availability and use of Services and Facilities
institution specific analyses
Institution-Specific Analyses
  • Descriptive information
    • Experiences in student programs
    • Classroom experiences
    • Time diary items
    • Satisfaction
  • Inferential analyses
    • Confirmatory factor analysis based on policy levers
    • Merge data with fall 2006 & 2007 enrollment data to explore how these experiences affect persistence
example western university
Example: Western University

Commuter Campus—Large, somewhat racially diverse, Public, Doctorate-granting research institution, less selective

conclusions
Conclusions

College Board Pilot Study on Student Retention

institutional retention efforts the emerging national picture
Institutional retention efforts: The emerging national picture

59% of respondent have retention coordinators; less than half of these are able to fund new initiatives

Few institutions report incentives for faculty to take advising undergraduates seriously

  • Potential to provide a snapshot of
    • Practices institutions are using to improve persistence and graduation rates.
    • Policies
    • The intensity of those efforts
  • Explorations of what matters for retention
    • Resources devoted to instruction
    • Residentialness
student experiences sharpening the focus at each institution
Student Experiences: Sharpening the focus at each institution

Student level investigations reveal dynamics that vary campus to campus

  • Actionable implications specific to WSU emerge
    • A multipronged approach to support transition to college
    • Opportunities to tap into encouragement from students’ families
contact us
Contact Us

Indiana University

Project on Academic Success

http://pas.indiana.edu

Presentation available via download:

http://pas.indiana.edu/cb/resources.cfm

mziskin@indiana.edu

institutional characteristics
Institutional Characteristics

Mean scores on select variables

Fall-to-fall retention rate for first time 1st year students 78.12% (min51%-max99%)

72.3% of first-year students living in campus residence halls

Median revenue figures

Instructional expenses $6,076

Tuition and fee revenues $8207/per FTE

Total revenue $70,643,587

  • Mean SAT scores:
    • 995 (25th percentile)
    • 1195 (75th percentile)