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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A national study of student early alert models at four-year institutions of higher education
by Simons, Jill M., Ed.D., Arkansas State University, 2011, 152; 3482551
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to explore the state of student early alert models at nonprofit, four-year institutions of higher education through both quantitative and qualitative lenses. The use of these retention initiatives has become a much heralded practice on college campuses (Kuh, 2007a; Kuh 2007b; Seidman, 2005; Tinto, 2008). However, despite a growing trend, little documentation of these practices exists in the literature. Five broad research questions were posed to describe early alert programs. The questions sought to answer what is the nature of institutions with EAP systems, what are the major design elements, what constitutes program communication, what are the intervention techniques, and what are key measures of effectiveness. A 44-item survey instrument was sent to 1778 institutions. A total of 529 survey responses were received, yielding a 29.8% return rate. Several trends emerged as a result of the study.

Student early alert programs were more prevalent on small, private colleges and on colleges with low admissions standards. Programs were considered new to higher education with 68.1% reported being five or fewer years old. The most common design elements, those receiving a minimum of 50% or higher in the associated line item results, included centralized administration of the program, use of a reactive referral approach, and employing an open concept design in terms of program inclusivity. Student communication consisted largely of email contact (82.2%). Institutions invest considerable time in student outreach with 58.8% of respondents making three or more attempts to reach each referral. Programs were described as labor intensive and poorly funded. However, most of the respondents (81.4%) reported being moderately to very satisfied with their program.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cox, David W.
Commitee: Holman, David, Hux, Annette, Ingram, Debra, Salah, Amany
School: Arkansas State University
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Arkansas
Source: DAI-A 73/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: School administration, Higher education
Keywords: Academic advising, College students, Early warning, Intervention, Student retention
Publication Number: 3482551
ISBN: 978-1-267-04132-6
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