IS THERE SUCH A THING AS TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING WHEN IT COMES TO EDUCATION? REEXAMINING FIRST GENERATION STUDENT SUCCESS

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1 IS THERE SUCH A THING AS TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING WHEN IT COMES TO EDUCATION? REEXAMINING FIRST GENERATION STUDENT SUCCESS Dr. Mary Lou D Allegro, Senior Director Stefanie Kerns, Statistical/Data Analyst The Pennsylvania State t University it Berks College Planning, Research & Assessment

2 Abstract Relationships between parents educational level and some first year success indicators are not linear. Students grouped by five parent education levels are assessed by Mathematics SAT Critical Reading SAT Placement tests First semester credits attempted and credits earned First semester GPA One-year retention

3 Abstract (cont.) Analysis variable construction definition of first generation students exploratory analyses inferential statistics predictive models ordinary least squares logistic and regression techniques, limits, and appropriateness of these techniques are investigated

4 Introduction Evidence suggests first generation students are not as successful as non-first generation students Discerning between the different levels of parent education Institution selectivity

5 Background Penn State Berks is a public college campus of The Pennsylvania State University Berks is 1of 5 PSU college campuses that confers both associate and baccalaureate degrees 2000 Carnegie Classification: Baccalaureate-Arts & Sciences

6 Background Fall 2007 overall enrollment 2,824 Fall 2007 new baccalaureate degree-seeking freshmen % of Berks students are STEM majors 5 year average combined SAT 1,003

7 Research Questions Is the success of first generation students different from non- first generation students at less selective institutions with respect to pre-college, college, and student success indicators? dcaos? What is the relationship between student success and parent level of education? Do students who have not reported the educational level of Do students who have not reported the educational level of their parents or guardians fare as well as those students who do identify parent education level?

8 Data Collection Information was collected using Penn State s Data Warehouse New baccalaureate degree-seeking students enrolled at Penn State Berks for fall semesters between 2000 and 2006 Three types of independent variables student demographic information pre-college data college variables

9 Data Collection First Generation Defined Neither parent or Neither parent or guardian of an enrolled student has obtained a Bachelor s degree

10 Data Collection (cont.) Dependant Variables first semester GPA first semester credits attempted first semester credits earned one-year retention

11 Results Proportion of Students by Parent Education Level el Variable N Percent High School or Less 1, % Some College 1, % Baccalaureate Degree 1, % Beyond Baccalaureate Degree 1, % Missing % Total 5, %

12 Demographics 1 st Generation Non-1 st Generation Variable N Percent N Percent Male 1, % 1, % Female 1, % % Native American 0 0.0% 1 0.1% African-American % % Asian % 11 04% 0.4% Hispanic % % Caucasian 2, % 2, % Non-Resident Alien % % Missing % %

13 Pre-College Variables 1 st Generation Non-1 st Generation Variable Mean Standard Deviation SAT Mean Standard Deviation Mathematics Critical Reading PLACEMENT TESTS Vocabulary Spelling Grammar Punctuation Basic Math Algebra/Trig Business Calculus Calculus

14 Enrollment in Majors 1 st Generation Non-1 st Generation Variable N Percent N Percent Has a Major (1 st Sem) Yes 1, % 1, % No % % TOTAL 2, % 2, % Is a STEM Major (1 st Sem) Yes % % No 1, % 1, % TOTAL 2, % 2, %

15 College Variables 1 st Generation Non-1 st Generation Variable Mean Standard Deviation Mean Standard Deviation FIRST SEMESTER Credits Attempted Credits Earned GPA

16 14 Mathematics Placement Scores For Fall 2000 Fall 2006 Baccalaureate Degree Seeking Freshmen ment Score Mean Place Placement Basic Math Placement Algebra/Trigonometry Placement Business Calculus Placement Calculus Missing First Generation, Parents with HS Plus (Some College) Parents has a Baccalaureate Parents Beyond a No Beyond HS Degree Baccalaureate Degree Parent Educational Level * Independent t-tests between first generation and non-first generation p g g students was significant p.001

17 ment Score Mean Place English Placement Scores for Fall 2000 Fall 2006 Baccalaureate Degree Seeking Freshmen Placement Vocabulary Placement Spelling Placement Grammar Placement Puncuation Missing 3.32 First Generation, Parents HS Plus (Some College) Parents has a Baccalaureate Parents Beyond a with No Beyond HS Degree Baccalaureate Degree Parent Educational Level * Independent t tests between first generation and non first generation * Independent t-tests between first generation and non-first generation students was significant p.001

18 First Semester Credits Attempted/Earned for Fall 2000 Fall 2006 Baccalaureate Degree Seeking Freshmen 14.8 Semester Cre edits empted/earn ned First Att First Semester Credits Attempted First Semester Credits Earned 13.6 Missing First Generation, Parents with No Beyond HS HS Plus (Some College) Parents has a Baccalaureate Degree Parents Beyond a Baccalaureate Degree Parent Educational Level * Independent t-tests between first generation and non-first generation students credits attempted was significant p.01 ** Independent t-tests between first generation and non-first generation students credits earned was significant ifi p.001

19 First Semester GPA for Fall 2000 Fall 2006 Baccalaureate Degree Seeking Freshmen First Semester GPA First Semester GPA 2.5 Missing 2.49 First Generation, Parents with No Beyond HS HS Plus (Some College) Parents has a Baccalaureate Degree Parents Beyond a Baccalaureate Degree Parent Educational Level ** Independent t-tests between first generation and non-first generation students t was significant ifi p.001

20 First Year Retention for Fall 2000 Fall 2006 Baccalaureate Degree Seeking Freshmen 90% One Year Retention 85% 80% 75% 80.59% 74.64% 82.71% 83.48% 85.46% 70% One Year Retention 65% Missing First Generation, Parents with HS Plus (Some College) Parents has a Baccalaureate Beyond Baccalaureate No Beyond HS Degree Parent Educational Level

21 Limitations I. Generalizability Small Campus Less Selective II. Variables Only looked at first semester variables, first year may yield better results Financial Aid information was not included Placement Testing PSU uses their own testing methods, not able to compare to other institutions

22 Recommendations Intervention at Middle School / High School Level Further study of missing information Continue to develop & deliver special services to first generation students Information on college expectations Financial aid information

23 Summary Reinforces previous research: Non-1 st generation students outperform 1 st generation students 1 st generation students also perform more poorly on pre-college variables Students who do not report parent education level do not fare as well - important group to focus future research on

24 Use on Campus Share results with college s Retention Council Use results in Summer Bridge program planning ACT 101 planning Large number of 1 st generation students in program Intervention at High School level NSF grant, Elementary Education

25 QUESTIONS / COMMENTS

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