This report is a follow-up to a prior project, Mapworks Data and Retention Rates - Part I by Andrea Richards and Fisayo Aderibigbe. That study looked at data from the 2015 MapWorks survey given to New Entering First-Year students at St. Cloud State University. A measure called the belonging index was found to be an important predictor of retention, with low-belonging students remaining enrolled at St. Cloud State University significantly less often than other students. The present report uses data from the 2014 MapWorks survey and Term 3 retention data. To find out what may be causing the drop in retention among low-belonging students, this report analyzes the differences between low-belonging index students and their peers based on many different variables such as financial status, academic index category, and several other demographics. Additional demographics that were analyzed include students’ status as students of color, international students, ACE students, and first generation students.
Data used in this project were formatted as similarly as possible to the first MapWorks project to allow for comparisons to be made between the two projects. Both academic and belonging indexes were calculated the same way as in the first project. JMP Pro 13 was used for all data analysis and Microsoft Excel was used for data visualization purposes.
As expected, in the majority of comparisons, low-belonging students had significantly lower retention rates than other students. When splitting the belonging groups into subgroups using the variables mentioned earlier, several distinct variables were found to have significant effects on retention. Low-belonging students whose hometowns were considered far away from SCSU had significantly lower retention rates than students whose permanent residence was closer to SCSU. Also, international students were more likely to be retained through their third term than all other students. The difference in retention rates between low-belonging students and other students grew as Financial Aid Gap decreased, which was a surprising finding. The overall retention rate difference between low-belonging students and others was less than what was observed in the first project. This implies that the difference in retention between low-belonging index students and their peers grew from 2014 to 2015.
Toftey, Joshua and Aderibigbe, Fisayo, "MapWorks Data and Retention Rates - Part II" (2017). SCSU Data. 48.
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