Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Interdisciplinary Health Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Joyce Thompson


The purpose of this study was to determine if admission selection strategies that utilize cumulative and/or pre-requisite GPA are predictive of timely graduation for associate degree nursing (RN-AD) students. Data were obtained from de-identified records of 437 associate degree nursing students enrolled in three Midwest community colleges from 2003-2006. Of the total sample, only 44% of the students graduated on time (i.e., in four semesters or two years). Although a statistically significant difference was found for timely graduation rates between colleges (ranging from 29% in College B to 54% in College A), no relationship was found for cumulative GPA, pre-requisite GPA, age or race/ethnicity with timely graduation in the total sample (N = 437). Logistic regression revealed that neither cumulative nor pre-requisite GPA was predictive of timely graduation even after controlling for college. The rationale for using selective admission criteria that include pre-requisite or cumulative GPA is based on the assumption that competitive admission criteria using grades draw the most qualified students with the highest probability for graduation. The results of this study do not support the assumption that those with the highest probability of graduating on time can be found by admitting individuals by pre-requisite or cumulative GPA. Other factors for timely graduation from associate degree nursing programs must be investigated to determine which independent variables are predictive of timely graduation, including research that targets single science courses and cluster variables as predictors. In addition, further research into reasons for high attrition rates and prolonged graduation are urgently needed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access