Higher incidence of student under achievements and attrition rate continue to pose significant challenges for the organizational effectiveness of community colleges. Restructuring the classroom at each academic departmental level to better accommodate the needs of the students should be considered by community colleges as part of an institutional planning strategy to improve student retention and success rates. Based on Tinto's (1975) model of retention which posits that the degree of academic and social integration has a significant effect on student retention and attrition rates, this study investigated how community colleges could improve student retention and success rates by promoting shared learning experiences and interaction with peers and faculty. In doing so, this study examined the effect of higher order thinking that was integrated into structured, online discussion postings on student retention and success rates in traditional, face-to-face, introductory accounting classes at community colleges. The study was conducted at a South Atlantic state community college over the course of a 16-week semester in the fall of 2011. One hundred seventeen students who signed up for the introductory accounting classes were randomly assigned to two experimental and two control sections. Students in all four sections used the same textbook and took identical exams and assignments. Students in the experimental sections had the additional requirement of online discussion postings, which were used as a tool to increase student interaction with peers and faculty. Final grades from all four sections were collected at the end of the semester for analysis. This study employed a quantitative methodology and utilized an experimental design. A two-independent-samples t test revealed that online discussions did not produce any significant effect on student retention and success rates. Similar findings have been noted in the works of previous researchers. The study's findings indicate that students may have been academically underprepared to engage in discussions involving higher order thinking skills and to communicate and interpret ideas in writing. The study further highlights the importance of the proper assessment of students' academic preparedness. Proper placement of students in classes matching their academic skill level would lead to improved student retention and learning outcomes.
|Commitee:||Callender, Stephen, Waldron, Arthur|
|Department:||School of Business and Technology|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Accounting, Community college education, Business education|
|Keywords:||Academic learning outcomes, Accounting education, Community college, Discussion postings, Interaction, Student retention|
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