Retaining students is a growing issue for many universities across the nation. St. Cloud State University (SCSU) is looking for an explanation of what factors into a student’s likelihood to be retained. The Academic Learning Center at SCSU was particularly interested in data collected on College 110 and 150 students in the Fall 2014 and Fall 2015 semesters. College 110, Reading/Study Strategies; and College 150, Discovering the College Experience; are classes that are required for ACE program students to prepare them for their college careers. ACE stands for Academic Collegiate Excellence. The program provides intensive academic and social support for new students. A student is placed into an ACE program if they have a low QPP, which is comprised of their ACT score and High School GPA. Through collaboration with Professor Kirstin Bratt from the Academic Learning Center, I examined a series of questions by analyzing the data collected on College 110 and 150 students. The goal was to determine a student’s likelihood to be retained. Some variables that were considered include: change in retention rates, the effects of GPA on retention, the effect of Grades in College 110, and how factors such as student demographics could play a role in the likelihood of their being retained. The analysis is focused on new entering Freshman (NEF) ACE students enrolled in COLL 110 and/or 150, in either the Fall 2014 or Fall 2015 semester.
Several hypotheses were held at the start of this analysis. One hypothesis was that Female students would be more likely to have a Low-Belonging level than Male students. A second hypothesis was that students that had a High-Belonging level and who received a higher grade in COLL 110 were more likely to be retained. Last, in past studies, STEM was shown to have a highly positive effect on student retention. From the analysis, several key findings were seen to be significant and may provide a greater insight to the Academic Learning Center. In term 3, students that were Female or had Advising and Registration in August were less likely to be retained. As hypothesized, students with a High-Belonging Index, higher GPA in COLL 110, or who were enrolled in a STEM program had a higher likelihood of being retained than other students.
An issue found in the analysis of this data was that some variables had few occurrences in all the subgroups. This means that the patterns in the percentages for these variables are not necessarily reliable. Further analysis will need to be done with more student data.
Wittrock, Brittany, "College 110 & 150: SCSU Belonging Data Analysis, Fall 2014-2015" (2017). SCSU Data. 20.