A study of factors which influence vocational graduates and vocational drop-outs' persistence and attrition at San Jacinto College North



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Purpose. The purpose of this study was to determine the specific variables that cause either program attrition or persistence of vocational graduates and vocational dropouts at San Jacinto College North. Hypothesis. The research hypothesis tested in this study was stated as follows: There is no significant difference in factors related to attrition or persistence between the graduates and drop-outs of San Jacinto College North vocational program. Procedures and Analysis. Procedure and analysis was basically an ex-post facto design or as Van Dalen (1973) described it, a casual comparative study. Data for the study were gathered by means of questionnaires which were mailed to 100 former graduates and 100 drop-outs of San Jacinto College North. Fifty-one drop-outs (51 percent) and seventy graduates (70 percent) responded to the instrument. The questionnaire used in this study was a modified version of the Cannady, 1973 instrument. A pilot test of the questionnaire was conducted to test and revise the research instrument. In its revised form the questionnaire was arranged into seven major categories as follows: (1) Money, (2) Motivation, (3) Distance, (4) College Related Factors, (5) Preparation, (6) Goals, and (7) Others and twentyseven factors that were contained within these seven categories. The data were analyzed using the chi-square statistical technique to determine whether drop-outs and graduates differed significantly in response to the questionnaire as to their decisions about remaining in or dropping-out of college. If differences were found at .05 level of confidence, the existence of a relationship between independent or dependent variable was inferred. On the Basic of the Data Gathered in This Study. The research hypothesis was supported by all factors except courses or programs offered, cost of attending college, time for attending classes and working, attitude of college instructors, knowledge of college costs, programs and entrance requirements, to what extent has this objective been completed, and if the course(s) at college helped in your occupation. These seven items were rejected because they fell below the .05 level of confidence. Conclusions. On the basis of the data gathered in this study it was concluded that vocational drop-outs and graduates were more alike than different in identifying factors that cause either attrition or persistence. The basic differences in the two groups was the degree of certainty or strength of endorsement rather than a difference in direction of influence. Graduates exhibited a greater certainty and consensus of opinion than did drop-outs. Attrition, when viewed from the standpoint of the students' educational goals was not a significant problem. Rather it was an indication that the program was meeting the educational needs and goals of the community the college serves. In this particular instance the college and the program is meeting the needs of many individuals classified as drop-outs whose educational needs were met in terms of a single course or set of courses as opposed to a need to work within a complete degree or certificate program.



College dropouts, Texas, Vocational education, San Jacinto College