Date of Award

6-19-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

John A. Anderson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

George R. Bieger, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Lisa R. Shibley, Ph.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to develop a preadmission predictive model of student success for prospective first-time African American college applicants at a predominately White four-year public institution within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. This model will use two types of variables. They are (a) cognitive variables (i.e., SAT score, ACT score, high school GPA, high school rank, advance placement/college credit and ranking of high school), (b) non-cognitive variables (i.e., gender, race, family structure, parental income, and parental education). The cognitive and non-cognitive variables are used with African American and White college-bound students as a way of predicting their persistence and graduation at a four-year PWCU within the PASSHE. A multiple regression analysis with standardized regression coefficients was used to determine the relative contribution of each predictor variable for predicting the first and second year persistence and graduation status after the fourth, fifth and sixth or more years. A regression analysis was used to analyze graduation after the fourth, fifth, and sixth years and graduation in more than six years, by systematically adding and eliminating both cognitive and non-cognitive predictor variables. This was completed separately for the African American sample group and the White sample group. The results of the multiple regression analysis supported the two main hypotheses that a significant relationship exists between pre-collegiate data and college success for both races and that a significant difference exists between African American and White students in terms of the model predictors. A different mix of non-cognitive and cognitive variables proved to be strong predictors of academic success for African American and White students. The findings presented in this study will assist EU and other institutions with recruiting and retaining African American students. Further, the findings should contribute to the understanding of the predictors of academic success that were present over this ten-year period at EU and will continue to be predictors of student success for both African American and White students.

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