This mixed-methods case study determined the factors and examined the issues associated with student retention at a faith-based independent day school in southwestern United States of America. The data included online surveys, personal interviews, collection of archival information, and the researcher's extensive field notes. Surveys (530) were distributed to the board of trustees, administration, faculty, parents, and other stakeholders. Current parents responded to the survey at 71.5%, faculty responded at 47.8%, and board members responded, at 27%. Therefore, parents comprised the largest percentage of respondents by constituency to the survey. To gather more in-depth perceptions, 21 personal interviewees were purposely identified to equally represent the school's 5 groups of stakeholders. These semi-structured long interviews were conducted by the researcher and a trained assistant. The researchers' extensive notes across the year, and archival data portraying the school since its inception secured significant information to support valid results.
The first research question focused on factors stakeholders perceived were important to retention. Based upon the results of this study, a model noting the 5 factors that affect retention at faith-based independent schools was developed. These 5 factors were identified: positive relationships, affordability, clear communication, action plan for retention, and living the school mission. Positive relationships among the stakeholders were an overarching theme. The mission of the school--the focus on a balance of high quality general studies, faith-based curriculum, values and culture--was an essential factor in student retention Stakeholders perceived a need for better marketing and recruiting throughout fifth grade. Stakeholders were also concerned about affordability xiv and perceive a need for financial aid as an issue in retention. The school administration needs focus on improving positive communication.
The second research question asked stakeholders to list perceived issues that relate to retention. Based on the results of this study the predominant issues are: relationship building by administration, fine tuning communication from administration to the school community, finding the right balance between faith based and academic curriculum, exclusivity versus inclusivity of non-Jewish students, tuition support, recruiting throughout the grade levels, and improving the school's marketing strategy.
|Advisor:||Hiatt-Michael, Diana B.|
|Commitee:||Jungwirth, Linda, Teller, Mathew, Wilson, L. Claudette|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational evaluation, Education Policy, School administration|
|Keywords:||Independent school, Persistence, Private school, School choice, Student attrition, Student recruitment, Student retention|
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