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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Quantitative Exploration of Higher Education, Nontraditional Student Retention Demographics and Success Predictors at a Midwest Private University
by Zacheis, Megan, Ed.D., Lindenwood University, 2017, 140; 10286564
Abstract (Summary)

Persistence and retention has been widely researched through various cornerstone experts, including Tinto (2012), Kuh, Kinzie, Schuh, and Whitt (2010), Braxton, Hirschy, and McClendon (2014), Astin (1993) and Habley, Bloom, and Robbins (2012). The researcher utilized several concepts from retention and persistence experts seeking institutional specific patterns related to student demographics and characteristics. The study sought recommendations for higher educational administrators validated by data driven analytics utilizing theories and concepts from experts in retention and persistence. The researcher sought patterns and trends for completers with the intention to recommend a targeted marketing plan driven by institution-specific data to attract and retain students to degree persistence.

The data were divided into two sets: graduate and undergraduate. The researcher utilized a z-test for difference in proportions to analyze characteristics with two variables and a PPMCC analysis and Chi Square test for homogeneity when more than two variables for differences of specific characteristics were present among completers and non-completers. The researcher color-coded the data to create a visual of completers and non-completers. Of all variables analyzed in this study, only type of program (Graduate Business students) had a significant difference between completers and non-completers. The researcher then selected Graduate Business students for further analysis by cross tabbing with the remaining variables studied for graduate students, to determine if a difference existed between the variables. In comparing the graduate business student completers with the variable of zip code, there was a moderate evidence of a difference between proportions of completes living in the County of location of Midwest University and living outside the County. Overall, the study revealed variables did not contribute to a significant difference in completion during the studied timeframe except for type of program for Graduate Business students and revealed a moderate difference in graduate type of program and zip code.

Accurate data was crucial for higher education administrators to provide quality decision making. Higher education administrators must use true institution-specific data when making decisions. Although the results were not what the researcher expected, additional recommendations were made to the researched institution in regards to data collection and the importance of data accuracy when making decisions at the administrative level.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Leavitt, Lynda
Commitee: Ganahl, Gina, Parisi, Joe, Winslow, Kevin
School: Lindenwood University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 78/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational evaluation, Higher education
Keywords: Persistence, Student retention
Publication Number: 10286564
ISBN: 978-1-369-82260-1
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