In the United States, slightly more than half of all students (51 percent) who begin university study complete their degree in their initial institution within six years. Though some students eventually earn their degrees via transfer to another university or college, it remains a fact that for many institutions in the United States dropout is often as frequent as graduation. Of course, universities and colleges vary considerably. Some elite private universities such as Harvard and Princeton graduate over 90% of their students and several very selective public universities such as the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Virginia, and the University of Michigan, graduate over 80% of their students. On the other hand, many open-enrollment universities, especially those in the large cities, graduate less than 30% of their students.
“Collaborative learning” is an umbrella term for a variety of educational approaches involving joint intellectual effort by students, or students and teachers together. Usually, students are working in groups of two or more, mutually searching for understanding, solutions, or meanings, or creating a product. Collaborative learning activities vary widely, but most center on students’ exploration or application of the course material, not simply the teacher’s presentation or explication of it.
Many colleges speak of the importance of increasing student retention. Many even invest substantial resources in programs to achieve that end. Witness, for instance, the growth of the freshman seminar. Some institutions even go so far as to hire retention consultants who promise significant gains in retention if only you use their programs. But while many colleges have adopted a variety of programs to enhance retention, most programs are add-ons that are marginal to the academic life of the institution. Too many colleges have adopted what Parker Palmer calls the “add a course” strategy. Need to address the issue of diversity? Add a course in diversity studies. Need to address the success of new students? Add a freshman seminar. Need to address student retention? Bring in a consultant and establish a committee or office charged with that responsibility. The result is a growing segmentation of services for students into increasingly autonomous fiefdoms whose functional responsibilities are reinforced by separate budget and promotion systems. Therefore, while it is true that retention programs abound on our campuses, most institutions, in my view, have not taken student retention seriously. They have done little to change the way they organize their activities, done little to alter student experience, and therefore done little to address the deeper roots of student attrition. As a result, most efforts at enhancing student retention, though successful to some
degree, have had more limited impact than they should or could.
Vincent Tinto (1993) identifies three major sources of student departure: academic difficulties, the inability of individuals to resolve their educational and occupational goals, and their failure to become or remain incorporated in the intellectual and social life of the institution. Tinto's "Model of Institutional Departure" states that, to persist, students need integration into formal (academic performance) and informal (faculty/staff interactions) academic systems and formal (extracurricular activities) and informal (peer-group interactions) social systems.
Vincent Tinto’s Student integration Model (SIM) (Tinto, 1975) remains the most influential model of dropout from tertiary education. This paper outlines the problems associated with student attrition and examines how the SIM models the factors that drive attrition behaviour. Three criticisms that have been made of the SIM are evaluated; 1: The SIM is not an adequate model of student attrition, 2: The SIM does not generalise beyond traditional students, 3: Academic integration is not an
important predictor of student attrition. It is argued that the papers which provide evidence in support of criticisms 1 and 3 are methodologically flawed and that criticism 2 is potentially invalid as, according to Tinto (Tinto, 1982) the SIM was never meant to generalise beyond typical students. Tinto’s later additions and alterations of the SIM are discussed and evaluated. The paper
concludes that it is impossible to properly asses venting student dropout until the model itself is satisfactorily verified.
Many colleges speak of the importance of increasing student retention. Indeed, quite a few invest substantial resources in programs designed to achieve that end. Some institutions even hire consultants who promise a proven formula for successful retention. But for all that effort, most institutions do not take student retention seriously. They treat student retention, like so many other issues, as one more item to add to the list of issues to be addressed by the institution. They adopt what Parker calls the "add a course" strategy in addressing the issues that face them. Need to address the issue of diversity? Add a course in diversity studies. Need to address the issue of student retention, in particular that of new students?Add a freshman seminar or perhaps a freshmen mentoring program. The result is that student experiences are increasingly segmented into smaller and smaller pieces; their relationships with faculty, staff, and each other becoming more narrow and specialized; their learning further partitioned into smaller disconnected segments.
Students persisting to completion of their educational goals is a key gauge of student success, and therefore institutional success. Two most frequently cited statistics in connection with student success are the freshman-to-sophomore retention rate, or first-year annual return rate, and the cohort graduation rate. The freshman-to-sophomore retention rate measures the
percentage of first-time, full-time students enrolled at the university the following fall semester. The cohort graduation rate is defined as the percentage of an entering class that graduates within three years with an associate’s degree, and within four, five, or six years with a baccalaureate degree. Since the annual return rate of students as they progress through a program
is directly related to their degree/certificate completion, the concept of retention usually includes year-by-year retention or persistence rates as well as graduation rates. Together, these statistics represent student success.
This morning I will speak to what we must do next to more effectively address the continuing problem of student attrition in higher education. To do so I will briefly look back on what is now a thirty-year history of research & practice on student retention and reflect on the lessons we have learned over that time. I will argue that we have yet to attend to the deeper
educational issues that ultimately shape student success in higher education. Until we do so, our efforts will always be less effective than we desire.
The purpose of this study is to estimate the effects of organizational attributes on social integration in particular, and more generally on the student withdrawal process. Theory elaboration (the application of new concepts borrowed from other theoretical perspectives to explain the focal phenomenon) is used to help with the revision of Tinto's interactionalist theory of individual student departure. The existence of empirical evidence supporting the importance of organizational attributes in the persistence process makes the addition of organizational characteristics a logical choice as a possible source of social integration in an elaboration of Tinto's theory. The results from this study provide strong supp elaborating the revised version of Tinto's theory through the inclusion of concepts from organizational theory.
Though research on student attrition is plentiful and debate over theories of student persistence vigorous, less attention has been paid to the development of a model of institutional action that provides institutions guidelines for effective action to increase student persistence and in turn student success. This report describes a model of action for institutions that is intended to increase student persistence. The report does so by reviewing not only the growing body of research on effective institutional practices, but also studies of effective state and federal policy. In doing so, it seeks, for the first time, to situate institutional action within the broader context of federal and, in particular, state policy.
The field of student attrition has grown tremen dously over the past two decades. The demographic characteristics of the population have induced us to consider how our institutions can more effectively serve their students and hopefully retain more of them until degree completion. As a result, studies of dropout and policy-oriented workshops concerned with prevention of attrition have become commonplace.
This article describes the major findings from a longitudinal study of the impact of learning communities on the success of academically under-prepared, low-income students in 13 community colleges across the country. In this study, we employed both quantitative longitudinal survey and qualitative case study and interview methods. We utilized the former in order to
ascertain to what degree participation in a learning community enhanced student success and the latter to understand why and how it is that such communities do so. The findings strongly support adapting the learning community model to basic skills instruction to improve learning and persistence for this population.
Despite recent innovations, it remains the case that most students experience universities as isolated learners whose learning is disconnected from that of others. They continue to engage in solo performance and demonstration in what remains a largely show-and-tell learning environment. The experience of learning in higher education is, for most students, still very much a "spectator sport" in which faculty talk dominates and where there are few active student participants. Just as importantly, students typically take courses as detached, individual units, one course separated from another in both content and peer group, one set of understandings unrelated in any intentional fashion to what is learned in other courses. Though there are majors, there is little academic or social coherence to student learning. It is little wonder then that students seem so uninvolved in learning. Their learning experiences are not very involving.
Key Word: Tinto
After reviewing the state of student retention research and practice, past and present, the author looks to the future and identifies three areas of research and practice that call for further exploration. These concern issues of institutional action, program implementation, and the continuing challenge of promoting the success of low-income students.
Key Word: Tinto
When Bernie trailed Behind me to my office after class looking crestfallen and slumped into the chair to study with some intensity the laces on his sneakers, i realized that a battle of epic proportion was being waged. after some moments of silence, he blurted out that he was dropping out of school, that he just didn’t feel connected to the students in my class or to students in any other of his classes for that matter. he felt much more comfort- able with the construction crew he worked with every summer. maybe, after all, this was his true calling—being in the open air with scuffed work boots and dirt under his fingernails. maybe this was where he really should be. maybe college just wasn’t for him.
International students have become an increasingly important dimension of Canada‘s educational and immigration policy landscape, which has led to the development of pathways from educational to working visa status. In this report we present an analysis of international student numbers, visa transition rates, processes and government policy evolution with regard to international student entry to Ontario between 2000 and 2012. The report’s findings suggest four major areas of change: increasing male dominance in the number of student entries; the rise in international student entries into the college sector; the increasing importance of international students as temporary workers post-graduation; and the profound shift in source countries for Ontario-bound international students. Policy knowledge in areas related to these issues is vital to Ontario's ability to compete for international students, who can become potential immigrants, while maintaining high-quality postsecondary educational institutions.
The focus of this paper is on the importance of early educational engagement in the retention of postsecondary students. Tinto (1975, 1987) argues that greater academic and social integration in college leads to higher rates of retention. Empirical tests of the claim have been mixed and a frequent criticism of such studies is that the variables used to construct the academic
and social integration measures are not consistent across studies, making it difficult to replicate the results of individual studies. Questions on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), however, offer a way around the difficulty of generalization. NSSE, administered nationally to freshmen and seniors by the Center for Postsecondary Research and Planning at Indiana University, is designed to measure student engagement. Since many of the questions about engagement are concerned with various aspects of students’ integration, by using the questions on NSSE to measure social and academic integration we hope to provide an easy and replicable way to examine the effect of integration on student retention.
The purpose of this research study was to map Ontario universities’ strategies, programs and services for international students (IS). In mapping these programs, we aimed to understand the opportunities, challenges and gaps that exist in supporting IS. We focused on services at various levels, including from the first year of study all the way through to graduation, the job search process, entry into the labour market, and students’ transition to permanent resident status.
Learning communities bring together small groups of college students who take two or more linked courses together — typically as a cohort. During the last few decades, many colleges and universities have started or expanded learning communities as a method to deliver curricula to students and forge closer bonds between students, among students and faculty, and between stu-dents and the institution. The learning community “movement” has grown in large part because of the leadership and advocacy of the Washington Center for Undergraduate Education at Evergreen State College. Founded in 1985, the Washington Center expanded its support for learning com-munities nationally after 1996 with support from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and the Pew Charitable Trusts. As of August 31, 2005, more than 245 learning communities were listed in the online directory of the National Learning Commons. The learning communities registered on this Web site are located at both two-year and four-year colleges. A recent survey by the Policy Center on the First Year of College found that all types of colleges and universities offer some form of learning communities; 62 percent of responding institutions en-rolled at least some cohorts of students into two or more courses.