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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Factorial structure of engagement and its relationship to persistence: A study of adult secondary education students
by Arballo, Madelyn Rodriguez, Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2011, 177; 3472517
Abstract (Summary)

Adult education programs provide a viable option for adults who seek lifelong learning. One type of such programs is the adult secondary program where high school dropouts can earn a high school diploma. Although a significant number of students return to adult secondary programs, most fail to change their dropout status as they fail to complete their programs. The large body of available engagement research pertaining to K-12 and higher education students appears to be a promising source from which to address the issue of poor persistence of adult secondary students.

The purpose of this study was to examine the structure of engagement for students in an adult secondary program and to investigate how different components of engagement are associated with persistence. This study utilized a quantitative methodology, specifically employing a survey research design. The instrument used included the Student Engagement Instrument (SEI), a researcher-developed behavioral engagement scale, and demographic items. A convenience sample of 184 students who enrolled in the Luna Crest College Adult Diploma Program completed this instrument and indicated their perceived levels of emotional, behavioral, and cognitive engagement.

The findings from a confirmatory factor analysis showed that the instrument tested in this study reliably identifies factors of emotional, behavioral, and cognitive engagement among adult secondary students. It is expected that this instrument of engagement will provide adult educators and researchers with a useful tool with which to measure engagement within adult secondary students. This is a significant contribution of this study, as there was not such an instrument available for use with adult education students prior to this study. In further analyses to examine the relationships between factors of engagement and persistence, Peer Support to Learning (PSL) was found to predict persistence of students in the adult secondary program. Persistence was operationalized with attendance hours of 62 hours or more, as students at Luna Crest College are required to complete at least 62 hours of school work to obtain credits for one course. The results of this study call for: (1) future efforts to modify the instructional format in adult secondary programs to promote peer support, student engagement, and student persistence, and (2) a more comprehensive examination of barriers that adult secondary students face in their endeavors to complete their programs.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Masunaga, Hiromi
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 72/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Adult education, Continuing education
Keywords: Adult secondary education, Persistence
Publication Number: 3472517
ISBN: 978-1-124-85696-4
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