The class of 1990: a longitudinal study of a freshman cohort at Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Date

2005-08-29

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Texas A&M University

Abstract

Extensive research has been conducted on college student retention and graduation and many studies have found certain characteristics to be predictive of successful completion of college. However, few studies have focused on a target population which is primarily Hispanic. This study examined the 1990 entering freshmen class of students at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK), of which more than 68% were Hispanic. An attempt was made to examine characteristics that would predict success, defined as graduation from TAMUK. Data derived from institutional records and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board were examined using descriptive statistics and stepwise multiple logistic regression. Pre-college characteristics studied included age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, high school GPA (Grade Point Average), high school class rank, high school of origin, county of origin, and American College Test (ACT) and the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) scores. In-college characteristics studied included residency status, admission status, enrollment status, number of hours enrolled fall 1990, college major, the Texas Academic Skills Program (TASP) scores, developmental courses, semester GPA??s, academic standing, and finally, attrition, transfer or graduation status. The fall 1990 entering students were evenly divided between males (53.4%) and females (46.6%), were young (79% were age 19 or less), single (91.4%), and Hispanic (68.2%). Almost half (46%) of the students came from high schools within 50 miles of Kingsville. The mean college entrance exam scores (ACT=16.76 and SAT=766) were well below the national means of 21 and 999, respectively. Of the 1106 entering freshmen, 307 (27.7%) graduated from TAMUK within the 10 years under study. An additional 490 (44.3%) transferred to other state institutions, and 309 (27.9%) dropped out of TAMUK and did not enroll in any other state college or university. The fall-tospring attrition rate was only 16.5%; however, the fall-to-fall attrition rate was 50.0% at the end of the first year. Stepwise multiple logistic regression (backward) analysis revealed that only high school GPA and the ACT composite score were statistically significant predictors of graduation.

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