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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Prebaccalaureate students at a California State University: A study of student characteristics and first-year success
by Smith, Candace Madonna, Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2010, 187; 3448620
Abstract (Summary)

During the past 2 decades the provision of basic education courses in public 4-year universities has been scrutinized and debated by state officials, higher education executives, educators and the public. This cross-sectional study examined academic and psychosocial characteristics of entering fall 2008 students in relation to their persistence at a specific California State University. The sample included 1,790 students who completed the Cooperative Institutional Research Program's (CIRP) 2008 Freshman Survey. Multiple analytic procedures including exploratory factor analysis, independent t tests, one-way ANOVA and logistic regression were conducted to answer 3 research questions. This study compared prebaccalaureate students to nonprebaccalaureate students. Moreover, comparisons were made between 2 groups of prebaccalaureate students: a group completing 1 to 2 basic skills courses and a group completing 3 basic skills courses. Results from analyses indicated that several factors used with this study's sample and subgroups were consistent with those of other studies that utilized the CIRP Freshman Survey. Statistically significant differences were found between prebaccalaureate and nonprebaccalaureate students on single-item variables as well as factors such as academic preparation, academic self-concept, social personality, investigative personality, academic involvement, and faculty involvement. Moreover, statistically significant differences were found among nonprebaccalaureate students and the 2 prebaccalaureate groups. For example, a post hoc test showed statistically significant mean differences between the prebaccalaureate subgroups on academic preparation but not academic self-concept. Finally, results indicated different predictors of persistence for the entire sample and 4 subgroups. Interestingly, involvement with faculty emerged as the only common predictor for the entire sample, nonprebaccalaureate students, and prebaccalaureate students.

This study provides evidence that prebaccalaureate students are diverse and certain factors set them apart, for instance, the number and type of precollege courses a prebaccalaureate student must take. This finding alone presents implications for policy formulation, in that policies affecting prebaccalaureate students should be developed with discernment in regard to student characteristics.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Locks, Angela M.
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 72/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Education Policy, Higher education
Keywords: 4-year university, Assessment, California State University, Developmental education, Persistence, Prebaccalaureate, Psychosocial, Quantitative research
Publication Number: 3448620
ISBN: 978-1-124-55048-0
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