The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore what factors active duty military students perceived as having a positive or negative effect on their decision to persist or not continue in post-secondary education. Once the active duty military students’ perceptions were documented, they were compared to current research on academic persistence to determine if they tended to agree or disagree. The study used a modified version of Fiona MacKinnon-Slaney’s 1994 Adult Persistence in Learning (APIL) as a theoretical framework to examine the personal factors, environmental factors, institutional factors of the higher education institution, and institutional factors of the military. The participants in this study were all active duty military students enrolled in post-secondary education while serving on the USS JOHN C. STENNIS. There were 43 total participants in the study. 33 participants answered questionnaires and 10 took part in interviews with the researcher. Of the 43 participants, 5 were officers, 7 were senior enlisted (E-7 to E-9), 30 were enlisted (E-4 to E-6), and 1 was junior enlisted (E-1 to E-3). The research showed that active duty military students’ perceptions do not agree with current research on their persistence. They do not perceive themselves to be at-risk students (Beausoleil-Holt, 2009; Capps, 2011; Imagine America Foundation, 2009). Additionally, they do not see themselves as non-traditional students. Active duty military students’ responses provided more positive risk factors than negative risk factors, indicating they are essentially positive about their chances of persisting. In the personal factor, learning ability factor, and university factor categories of the modified APIL, active duty gave more positive risk factors than negative risk factors. However, under the military factor category they gave substantially more negative risk factors than positive risk factors. Active duty military students perceive the greatest negative risk factors to their persistence to be from uniquely military factors, which also disagrees with current research. Therefore, even though current research shows that active duty military students are at-risk and non-traditional students, they instead see themselves as students that face persistence risks that are unique to the military experience.
|Advisor:||Brizek, Michael, Wardlow, Rebecca|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, School administration, Military studies|
|Keywords:||Active duty military, Persistence factors, Post-secondary education|
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