- The purpose of this study was to identify and analyze some of the reasons for student attrition in the Introductory Course (I.C.) of the National Open University of Venezuela (UNA). Three research questions guided this study: What are the characteristics of students enrolled in UNA's I.C.?; What are the characteristics of the dropouts, successful persisters, and unsuccessful persisters?; Is the incidence of attrition due to institutional or non-institutional variables? Between October 1980 and January 1981, a nationwide survey was conducted. The universe of the survey was 11,539 adults who had been enrolled in the third I.C. The sample size consisted of 521 subjects (153 dropouts; 114 unsuccessful persisters; and 254 successful persisters) from 20 of the 21 local centers. Two instruments were used: one for dropouts and one for persisters.
Data indicated that the typical I.C. clientele was likely to be an urban, middle-class adult, having more than one dependent. This non-traditional student tended to be a white collar full-time employee, studying part time. Chi-square analyses (.05) indicated that there were some distinctive individual characteristics among dropouts, unsuccessful persisters, and successful persisters. The typical dropout student was over 22 years of age, while the unsuccessful persister was more likely to be over 30 years of age. Two stepwise multiple regression analyses were run using two subsamples. One analysis indicated that the best predictors (R = .66, p < .01) for persistence were: frequency of visits to local centers, main professional activity while enrolled, perceptions about the content of the instructional materials, and satisfaction with the I.C. The other analysis indicated that the best predictors (R = .38, p < .01) for successful course completion were: UNA as first choice of enrollment and use of personal instructional material. Consequently, the variables for predicting course completion may not be the same as those which predict successful completion. The findings suggested that non-institutional factors accounted for a credible amount of variance on the criteria. However, most of these non-institutional factors may be directly affected by institutional diagnostic and counseling services.
- Dissertation Note:
- Ph.D. The Pennsylvania State University 1982.
- Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 43-11, Section: A, page: 3469.
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