1 Summer 2011 Urban vs. Rural: A Look at Indiana State Students from Urban and Rural Areas in Illinois using MAP Works Results Prepared by Christopher Childs Indiana State University
3 During the academic year, the Student Success Department received antidotal reports that students of the 2010 cohort were having trouble adjusting to the college climate at Indiana State University (ISU). These students were freshman and mainly from Chicago, Illinois and from the suburbs of that region. Many of these antidotal reports were disciplinary issues the students were involved in, such as drug use in the dorms, and fist fighting with other students. There was also a growing concern that some students who were from low socioeconomic and crime ridden areas of Chicago were coming to ISU to escape their previous life style. These students may not be compelled to succeed at ISU but are just using the institution to escape their hardships. This can be evident by the lack of motivation toward academic work that some of these students have displayed. Even though these are antidotal reports, there is a need to be concerned. For the past two years, ISU recruiters have been heavily recruiting out of Chicago and the Chicagoland suburbs. As one may know, the number of incoming freshman increased over the past few academic years from 2,258 in to 2,944 in This may have been a result of major recruiting effort in Chicago and in the Chicagoland suburbs. The number of students recruited from Illinois during the academic year was 139, out of that 28 percent were from Chicago and the Chicagoland suburbs. In the academic year the numbers of Illinois freshman increased to 287, out of that number 62 percent were from Chicago and the Chicagoland suburbs. If the antidotal reports about these students are true than students from Chicago and its suburbs may have a problem being retained at ISU. This may cause the institution to rethink recruiting efforts in these areas. In addition, there may be a need to create student success programs for students from these areas (Office of Admissions, 2011; Office of Admissions parta, 2011). The goal of the current report was to compare the social behavior and college adjustment of students who are from urban areas to students who are from rural areas. The target population of the report was first year, degreeseeking freshman who are from Chicago, the Chicagoland suburbs, rural Illinois, and Indianapolis. In order to be considered in each group, students needed to have graduated from high schools located in Chicago, Chicagoland, rural Illinois, and Indianapolis. Chicagoland was defined as the counties that surround Chicago and have a population over 200,000 residents. These counties were Cook, Lake, Will, Kane, DuPage, and McHenry. Rural Illinois was defined as counties that do not surround Chicago and have a population below 200,000 residents. These counties were Bureau, Clark, Crawford, Coles Douglas, Edgar, Jasper, Jefferson, Livingston, Madison, McLean, Shelby, St. Clair, Tazewell, and Vermillion. The MAP Works data was used to assess the students social behavior and college adjustment. MAP Works is a nationwide assessment tool for first year students. It is used to identify scholars who may be having trouble adjusting to the college environment. MAP Works measures students homesickness, their feelings about college friendships, roommate relationships, their commitment and satisfaction with the university. The survey is mostly used by academic advisors, and residential life staff to help pinpoint problem areas for students. To make it even easier for advisors to help students, students are label a color based on their risk of dropping out of college. If a student scores low on the survey she or he will be coded red for high risk, if a student scores high on the survey they will be coded as green for low risk. Students are tested three times throughout the year. First, they are tested at the beginning of the semester, then again in the middle of the semester, and a few weeks into the spring semester. Each survey is very similar to each other, but the survey in the middle of the semester is shorter. In this report, scales from the MAP Works survey were used to test differences between students from Chicago, Chicagoland area, rural Illinois, and Indianapolis. One limitation of the current report is that not all first year freshmen were able to participate in all three surveys but only a select few who were in random courses that the survey was given out in. All the scales used for this report were based on a Likert scale and range from 1:Not at all, 4: Moderately, and 7: Extremely. The first scale used was Commitment to the Institution; this measures the student s commitment to ISU and it is comprised of three items. A sample question is: To what degree are you committed to completing you college degree at this institution? Another scale used was Financial Means; this measured the student s perception of being able to pay for college. This is comprised of three items. A sample question is: To what degree are you
4 confident that you can pay for next term s tuition and fees? A third scale was Peer Connections. This measured if the students were able to meet new people on campus. It is comprised of three items. A sample is On this campus, to what degree are you meeting people who share common interests with you? The next three scales are designed to measure the student s feelings about on campus living. Social Aspects; this measures the social aspects of the students lives on campus. It is comprised of three items. A sample question is: To what degree are you hanging out with other residents? Environment is another scale in MAP Works, this measures how students are adjusting to the college environment. It has three items and a sample question is to what degree are you adjusting to living in on campus housing? MAP Works also tests the student s roommate relationship. This is comprised of 3 items. A sample question of this is: To what degree do your roommate(s) respect your sleep time? The next two scales are designed to measures the student s level of homesickness. The first scale is called Separation. This looks at the student s level of separation anxiety from being away from home. It is comprised of three items. A sample question is: To what degree do you miss your family back home? The other homesickness scale is called Distress. This measures the level of distress a student has from being away from home. It is comprised of three questions. A sample question is: To what degree do you fell upset because you want to go home? In addition to those scales, three more are used. One is called Academic Integration and is designed to measure the student s perception of how well he or she is integrating academically to college. The scale contains four items, one item is: Overall, to what degree are you keeping current with your academic work? The second scale is called Social Integration and is designed to measure the student s perception of how well he or she is integrating socially to college. The scale contains three items, one item is: Overall, to what degree do you belong here? The last scale is called Satisfaction with Institution, it measures how pleased the student is about the university overall all factors. This also has three items: a sample is Overall, to what degree would you choose this institution again if you had to do it over? Below is a graph highlighting the demographics of each student who participated in the MAP Works surveys. They are dived by the Indianapolis, Chicago, Chicagoland, and rural Illinois students. As one can tell, Indianapolis has a lot more students than the other three groups. This is why the report gives percentages with the count to compare with each group. Each group is containing first year, degree seeking freshman between the ages of Also, the average high school grad point average (G.P.A) is included for each group, but it may be difficult to compare one group s G.P.A to another because some high schools may calculate G.P.A differently. The average G.P.A for each group for the first fall term is included as a better comparison. Furthermore, Spring Persistence shows if students were able to come back for spring classes or if they were dismissed by the institution or left on their own accord. Finally, Risk Rating is the designated color of risk that MAP Works assigned to the student based on their answers to the survey. Demographics Indianapolis Chicago Chicago Suburbs Rural Illinois Count H.S GPA ISU GPA Fall Sex Male:119 (48%) Male:23 (38%) Male:23 (43%) Male:24 (47%) Female:128 (52%) Female:37 (62%) Female:30 (57%) Female 27(53%)
5 Race/Ethnicity Indianapolis Chicago Chicago Suburbs Rural Illinois Race unknown 4 (2%) 1 (2%) 1 (2%) 1 (2%) Hispanic of any race 3 (1%) 2(3%) 2 (2%) 0 (0%) American 2 ( >1%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) Indian/Alaskan Native Asian 1 (>1%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) Black Non Hispanic 163 (66%) 55 (92%) 29 (55%) 4 (8%) White Non Hispanic 67 (27%) 2 (3%) 20 (38%) 45 (88%) Two or more races 7 (3%) 0 (0%) 1 (1%) 1 (2%) Color Risk Warning Indianapolis Chicago Chicago Suburbs Rural Illinois Red (high risk) 170 (67%) 48 (80%) 28 (53%) 17 (33%) Yellow(mid risk) 32 (13%) 4 (7%) 17 (32%) 7 (14%) Green (low risk) 45 (18%) 8 (13%) 8 (15%) 27 (53%) Spring Persistence Did not return/own decision Dismissed by institution Came back for spring semester Indianapolis Chicago Chicago Suburbs Rural Illinois 13 (5%) 6 (10%) 2 (4%) 7 (14%) 33 (13%) 16 (27%) 10 (19%) 4 (8%) 201 (81%) 38 (63%) 41 (77%) 40 (78%) The tables above paint a great picture of students in each group. Some data that is notable is the 1.65 average GPA students from Chicago received their first semester during the academic year. Students from Indianapolis were the second lowest with a 2.08 GPA. Furthermore, when looking at the Color Risk Warning table students from Chicago have the most high risk students and Indianapolis comes in second with 67 percent of its students being high risk. The only group to have more low risk students than any moderate and high risk group was the rural Illinois group. When looking at spring persistence, Chicago shows the most students not coming back for their sophomore years. Rural Illinois has the most students who left ISU on their own accord. The Chicago suburbs group has the second most that was dismissed by ISU and the Indianapolis group had the highest number of students coming back for their sophomore years.
6 Comparing these four groups to the MAP Works scales is even more interesting. All the analysis computed for the scales were done using analysis of variance (ANOVA) statistical procedure. For the first survey the students took at the beginning of fall semester, the Commitment to Institution scale had significant differences (F(3, )=5.010, p =.003). Students who were from rural Illinois were significantly more committed to the institution (mean= 6.42) than students from Chicago (mean=5.42) and Indianapolis (mean= 5.81). There were no significant differences between any other groups. When looking at the Financial Means scale for survey one, there was a significant difference (F(3,289)=3.781, p =.011). Students from rural Illinois reported significantly greater financial means (mean= 4.90) than students from Chicago (mean=3.78). Students from the Chicago suburbs (mean=4.90) reported significantly greater financial means than students from Chicago (mean=3.78) as well. In addition to those scales, there were significant differences with the Homesickness Scales. First, it should be noted that the scale was reverse for the homesickness items. Meaning a low score meant you exhibited homesickness and a high score meant you did not. For Separation (F(2,278)=4.422, p=.013), students from rural Illinois reported significantly less homesickness (mean=3.728) than students from Chicago (mean=2.510). Furthermore, students from Indianapolis (mean=3.287) reported significantly less homesickness than students from Chicago (mean=2.510). For the Homesickness: Distress Scale, there were marginal significant differences (F(2, 278)=2.920, p=.056). Meaning the p value was slightly higher than.05. Students from Indianapolis reported significantly less distress (mean=5.406) than students from Chicago (mean=4.407). There was marginal significant differences found when comparing students from Illinois (Chicago, Chicago suburbs, and rural Illinois groups combined) and students from Indianapolis (F(1, )=3.696, p =.056. Students from Illinois were significantly more distressed (mean=4.96) than students from Indiana (mean=5.41). There was also significant differences observed when students took the second survey in the middle of the semester. When looking at the Commitment to Institution Scale, there were differences (F(3, )=13.907, p=.000. Students from rural Illinois were significantly more committed to ISU (mean=6.719) than students from Chicago (mean=5.205), students from Indianapolis (mean=5.543), and students from the Chicago suburbs (mean=5.458). The Financial Means Scale in survey two also showed significant differences (F(3,45.750)=8.429, p=.000). Students from rural Illinois reported greater financial means (mean=5.81) than student from Chicago (m=3.55), and students from Indianapolis (mean=4.43). Moreover, students from the Chicago suburbs reported having significantly greater financial means (mean=5.35) than students from Chicago (mean=3.55). Still on the second survey, there is a marginal significant difference when looking at the Roommate Relationship Scale (F(1, 158)=3.640, p=.058). Illinois students reported less satisfaction with their roommate (mean=4.91) than students from Indianapolis (mean=5.47). The last significant scale on the second survey is Satisfaction with the Institution (F(3,158)=2.853, p=.039). Students from rural Illinois reported significantly more satisfaction with ISU (mean=5.62) than Chicago students (mean=4.303). Looking at the third survey the students take in the spring, the Financial Means scale again proved to be significant (F(3,24.510)=3.078, p =.046). Students from rural Illinois reported greater financial means (mean=4.81) than students from Chicago (mean=2.85). Also, students from the Chicago suburbs reported greater financial means (mean=4.73) than students from Chicago (mean=2.85). When examining on campus living on the third survey there are significant differences observed. For the Social Aspects Scale (F(1,75)=5.840,p=.018), students from Illinois in general reported significantly greater social aspects (mean=5.519) than students from Indianapolis (mean=4.675). However, there were no differences observed between students from Chicago, rural Illinois, or Chicago suburbs. Another scale examining on campus living that showed significant differences was the Roommate Relationship Scale (F(3,51)=3.336, p=.026). Students from rural Illinois reported significantly stronger roommate relationships (mean=6.41) than students from Chicago (mean=4.78). In addition, students from the Chicago suburbs reported significantly lower roommate relationships (mean=4.78) than students from Chicago (mean=6.14). Finally, students from Indianapolis reported significantly higher roommate relationships (mean=6.08) than students from the Chicago suburbs (mean=4.78).
7 Before there is a discussion about the results shown above, there were separate ANOVAs computed for students who are the first in their immediate family to go to college. This was done because, according to Seidman (2005), evidence shows that first generation college students are at risk of not succeeding in college. They may lack the family and financial support to be retained and some reports even suggest they have a lack of motivation when it comes to academics at four year institutions. Therefore, the results below exhibit the views of first year, bachelor degree seeking freshman who do not have a mom or dad who went to college. Since there were not enough students in this group, first generation students from Chicago, rural Illinois, and the Chicago suburbs are in one group. First generation students from Indianapolis are in a group by themselves. When looking at the first survey, many scales examining on campus living and social aspects were significant for first generation students. For example, there was a significant difference found with peer connections (F(1,55)=7.948, p=.05). Students from Illinois had significantly less (mean=4.81) peer connections than students from Indianapolis (mean=5.59). Also, there were significant differences found with the Social Aspects Scale (F(1,51)=5.464, p =.023. Students from Indianapolis reported significantly more social aspects (mean=5.67) than students from Illinois (mean=4.69). The Homesickness Scale: Distress also showed significant differences (F(1,51)=3.857, p=.055). Students from Illinois reported more Distress for being away from home (mean=4.25) than students from Indianapolis (mean=5.45). The Academic Integration Scale for the first survey also showed marginal significance (F(1, 56)= 3.650, p=.061). Students from Indianapolis reported more academic integration (mean=6.32) than students from Illinois (mean=5.81) Moreover, the second and third survey showed some significant differences for first generation students. For the second survey, the Roommate Relationship Scale showed differences with the means (F(1,30)=8.597, p=.006). Students from Indianapolis reported better roommate relationships (mean=6.00) than students from Illinois (mean=4.23). For the third survey, the Homesickness: Separation Scale showed significant differences (F(1,15)=8.518, p =.011). Students from Indianapolis had more separation anxiety (mean=3.31) than students from Illinois (mean=5.3). From examining the results from all three surveys, one can come up with a couple explanations. First, students from urban areas perceived ISU differently from students from rural areas. Students from Indianapolis and from Chicago perceived themselves has not having enough financial support to sustain themselves through college. The more these students were surveyed the less they thought they had the financial means. These students also seemed to be more homesick than students from rural areas. The homesickness and lack of financial support may have caused urban students to have less satisfaction with and to be less committed to ISU than students from rural areas. These students also seemed to have less satisfaction with their roommates during the spring semester. One can hypothesize that the climate at ISU is drastically different from the climate that students from urban areas are used to. The ISU climate resembles more of a rural atmosphere. This may be why students from rural Illinois seemed more satisfied with ISU than other students. It would be interesting if students were asked if they thought Indiana State University was a rural or urban climate. This would add more support for this explanation. Another explanation for these differences may be caused by distance between the ISU and the students hometown. On the homesickness scales, students from Chicago experienced more homesickness than anyone else. Chicago is about three hours away, while students from rural Illinois were closer to Indiana State. Some were just across the border of Indiana and Illinois. Indianapolis is just an hour away, so most of these students can go home on the weekends. Traveling home may prove more difficult for Chicago students since it is farther and residents in Chicago may not have a car since there are several public transit options. Despite the explanation above, there may be a confounding variable in the analysis. When looking at the race/ethnicity table above the majority of students who are from Indianapolis (66%) and Chicago (92%) are African American but in the rural Illinois group most students are White (88%). There is evidence to support that some factors that can influence African American student retention are financial support, social and academic support. So these findings may reflect the difference among Whites and African Americans students as well as urban and rural students.
8 Furthermore, the ANOVAs that were conducted to the first generation group were interesting as well. It seems that first generation students from Illinois may have trouble adjusting socially to ISU. When looking at peer connections and social aspects, Illinois students consistently scored lower than Indianapolis students. However, in the third survey they scored higher than Indianapolis students on homesickness. This is hard to determine why this is, although, there were only five respondents in the Illinois group and only twelve in the Indianapolis group. So this may not be representative of all first generation students at ISU. This brings up a limitation in the report. The number of respondents decreased with the more surveys the students took. In the first survey there is about 37 to 40 respondents in each group except the Indianapolis group who had over a 100. However, in the third survey the number of respondents drops to the low teens for Chicago, Chicago suburbs, and rural Illinois groups. It is difficult to say whether or not the differences in third survey are representative to the true population. In all it is safe to conclude that students from urban areas perceive ISU differently from students in rural areas. The difference comes from their perceived ability to pay for college, and their homesickness. These differences may reflect urban and rural students contrasting views of the climate at Indiana State University. Rural students may feel more comfortable here for the rural setting, while urban students feel more out of place. However, more analysis should be done to conclude this. The analysis also shows that students who travel farther away from home to come to ISU feel more homesick. This may result in less commitment and satisfaction with the institution. Finally, the analysis shows that first generation students from Illinois may have trouble adjusting socially at ISU. This may be because they are far away from home and they are not use to the college climate.
9 References Office of Admissions (2011). Freshman Official Count by County. Indiana State University Office of Admissions, Part A. (2011). Freshman Official Counts. Indiana State University Seidman, A. (2005). Minority student retention: Resources for rractitioners. In Gaither, G (Eds.), Minority retention: What works? (7 24). San Francisco, CA; Jossey Bass.