A study of academic performance and persistence of community college vocational-technical students



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This study was undertaken to investigate the relationship of academic performance and persistence in certain vocational- technical programs utilizing the Career Ability Placement Survey, the ACT Assessment, and the biographical variables of age, sex, ethnicity, educational major, full-time or part-time enrollment status, intentionality, and socioeconomic status. The sample population represented 776 students enrolled at a community college in one of the following technical programs: air-conditioning, automotive/diesel mechanics, drafting, electronics, and welding. The students were enrolled from June, 1979 through December, 1981. The primary statistical procedure was multiple regression. Other statistical procedures included cross-tabulation, Pearson Correlation Coefficient, and the t test. Positive correlations were found with the Career Ability Placement Survey subtests and certain vocational-technical programs for declared majors. The highest correlations were found in the fields of electronics, welding, and automotive/diesel mechanics. The CAPS subtests: mechanical reasoning, spatial relations, numerical ability, and perceptual speed and accuracy appeared to predict academic performance in this specific study. The biographical data used in this study (sex, age, ethnicity, educational major, enrollment status, socioeconomic status, intentionality), either separately or in combination, were not found to be significant predictors of persisters, stopouts, and dropouts with the sample study. Educational status and intentionality had the highest correlations. A positive correlation was found between the ACT English and CAPS language usage and the ACT English and CAPS word knowledge. The ACT English subtest tended to be a predictor of performance in developmental English, and CAPS language usage tended to be a predictor of performance of freshman English. The differences between vocational-technical majors and non majors were significant at the .05 level for ACT math and ACT natural science. The nonmajors achieved higher grades in developmental English and technical math. A derived reading estimate correlated with developmental English indicated the possibility of using the reading estimate in developmental English classes.



College students--Texas--Houston, Community colleges--Texas--Houston, Vocational education--Texas--Houston, Prediction of scholastic success