This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Examination of Freshman Participation in a Study Skills Course and Retention at a Four-Year Southeastern University




Nabors, Mark

Type of Degree



Educational Foundations

Leadership and Technology


The issue of student retention remains a fundamental concern for both educators and administrators around the world. While most institutions tend to agree that retention is an important concern, they may differ in determining the specific population to focus retention efforts upon. The first year student population,or freshman, is generally the most vulnerable to the pitfalls that befall many college students. As retention concerns grow, educators often implement various first year student programs designed to assist students with their transitions to college life. Due to a lack of funding or support many of these programs are abandoned before an accurate assessment can be completed to determine if they are indeed making a difference in terms of retention and graduation rates. In this study students were grouped into two categories: those who completed a study strategies course and those who did not. Four consecutive academic years, beginning Fall 2001 semester and ending Spring 2005 semester, including summer terms, were reviewed. Analysis of grade point averages and graduation status was completed. The effect of the variables gender, ethnicity, and age on graduation and retention rates was also reviewed and reported. For students who successfully completed the course, the Learning and Study Skills Inventory (LASSI) scores were reviewed and analyzed. The results of the statistical analysis demonstrated that students who completed a study strategies course were more likely to graduate and have more favorable GPA’s than students who did not complete the course. The results from a Pearson Chi Square Test indicated that there were statistically significant differences in graduation based on gender and age. The results of the statistical analysis also demonstrated that students who scored higher on the LASSI scales: attitude, anxiety, concentration, and motivation were more likely to graduate that students who scored lower on those same scales.