Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Sanders

Second Advisor

Dr. Smidchens

Third Advisor

Dr. Marczak


This study looked at the differences in various factors of college retention for students who successfully completed all courses in a particular semester as compared to students who did not successfully complete at least one course during that same semester. The college retention factors were taken from Webb's (1988) Model of Student Retention and were assessed through the use of student records and two survey instruments developed by Noel/Levitz (Schreiner & Juillerat, 1994; Stratil, 1988).

The study was conducted at Muskegon Community College during the 1995 Fall Semester using four groups of students: (1) students enrolled in high success vocational programs, (2) students enrolled in low success vocational programs, (3) vocational students classified as special population students, and (4) vocational students classified as nonspecial population students.

A survey designed to assess student-related retention factors was administered near the beginning of the semester, while a survey designed to assess institution-related retention factors was administered near the end of the semester. Once data were collected, analysis consisted of computing and comparing mean scale scores or proportions of all retention factors between successful students and unsuccessful students in each of the four study groups. A retention factor was associated with a positive course outcome if its score was higher for successful students than for unsuccessful students.

The findings of the study revealed that successful students in both the high success study group and the nonspecial population study group were associated with retention factors representing institutional fit. Since this is predicted by Webb's (1988) model, these two study groups best fit this model. Successful students in the low success study group were associated with retention factors representing institutional fit and academic preparation, while successful students in the special population study group were associated with retention factors representing academic preparation and external environment. The analysis of these last two study groups was not predicted by Webb's model, but were found to be consistent with the criteria by which these groups were formed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access