Date of Award


Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction


Graduate School of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Rudy Pauley

Second Advisor

Ron Childress

Third Advisor

James Sottile


College enrollment is rising but there has not been a corresponding increase in graduation rates. Nationwide, 30% of students who enter college do not return for their sophomore year. This case-study was conducted to determine what factors influenced the first-year persistence of the 2009 Marshall University freshmen cohort. This research used extant data from two MAP-Works surveys and Marshall University’s student academic management system. Data from a cohort of 467 students were analyzed using logistical regression to determine which factors, if any, were statistically significant predictors of persistence. Logistic regression analysis produced statistically significant relationships with 27 pre-entry characteristics, 12 student satisfaction variables, four enrollment profile variables, and three academic performance variables. The results of this study indicate that the persistence of the 2009 Marshall University freshmen cohort was influenced moderately by pre-entry characteristics, student satisfaction, enrollment profile, and to a much higher degree, academic performance. It appears that academic integration is more important for persistence than social integration. The findings of this study suggest that a commitment to education is the predominant influence on persistence. Students who persisted in this cohort exhibited academic behaviors and attitudes that were related to a commitment not only to completing a college education but also to Marshall University. Persisters became satisfied with their academic life and developed positive relationships with peers. Commitment to the completion of the freshmen year and subsequent commitment to Marshall University was strengthened by the interactions with the university’s academic and social systems making what happened once students were on campus the most influential aspect of first-year persistence.


College dropouts - Prevention.

College freshmen.