National Research Center Faculty Research Grant

National Research Center Faculty Research Grant

Identification of Factors Associated with Academic Success and Persistence to Graduation in Online Learning Environments Technology self-efficacy is just one component of understanding and predicting academic success. Thus, in our future research we propose to also use institutional data to gain a better understanding of the predictors or barriers to each stage of the process of successful dissertation completion. We are also interested in the types of supports that might increase the conversion rate from ABD to doctoral graduate. The results from our 2008 NRC grant research showed a positive relationship between technology self-efficacy and achievement in both the undergraduate (r= 0.51, p= 0.01) and graduate ( r= 0.56, p= 0.04) students. Our research questions are: What factors besides technology self-efficacy (e.g., ELL and international status, GPA, prior degrees, facilitator and mentor feedback, repeated dissertation classes, demographic characteristics, etc.) are predictive of ABD vs. graduation? What are the most frequent and persistent academic barriers to proposal approval and dissertation completion? What are the most frequent and persistent non-academic barriers to proposal approval and dissertation completion? What types of supports do mentees and graduates report are the most and least effective in helping them to complete the degree? Method and Design We propose a 3-prong approach to examining persistence to graduation. First, we propose modifying our 2008 NRC Web-based survey with scaled and open-ended questions to be pilot-tested with 100 year 3 and year 4 SAS learners on academic and non-academic barriers to graduation. Second, we propose using available institutional data on ELL and international status, GPA, prior degrees held, number of repeated dissertation classes, demographic characteristics, etc. to examine which factors are predictive of ABD vs. graduation. Third, we propose modifying the mentorship instrument and pilot-testing it with 75 SAS current mentees who are scheduled to attend or have recently attended year 4 residency and 50-75 recent graduates (2006-2008) of the SAS.