Type of Document Dissertation Author Graunke, Connie Washburn URN etd-03302005-181631 Title The Perceptions, Behaviors, and Experiences of Extended Persisters in the Florida Community College System Degree Doctor of Education Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Beverly Bower Committee Chair Joseph C. Beckham Committee Member Ralph Brower Committee Member Robert Schwartz Committee Member Keywords
- Excess Hours
- Time to Degree
- Credit Hours to Degree
Date of Defense 2005-02-23 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions, behaviors, and experiences of student who persisted in the Florida Community College system and accumulated credit hours beyond those required for graduation. The study was a theory-guided study utilizing qualitative methods associated with orientational qualitative inquiry, intended to clarify and elucidate Bean’s Theory of Student Attrition. The data collection consisted of interviewing 18 students using a semi-structured interviewed based on variables derived from Bean’s theory. The purposeful sample of respondents was selected from students who had earned an A.A. degree and accumulated excess hours. The excess hours ranged from 5 to 212 beyond the 60 required for an associate in arts degree. The sample was further striated by the size of the community colleges from which the students were selected.
A cross-case analysis was done using the constant comparative analysis of data. The analysis found little difference among the respondents from different size community colleges. However, significant differences were found when a cross-case analysis was made based on the number of accumulated excess hours.
Family background was found to be a significant factor in influencing the accumulation of excess hours, in that students who expressed that they were “expected to go on to college” by their families were more strongly goal directed and as a consequence earned fewer excess hours. Students that had family responsibilities also tended to stop out, withdraw, and fail courses more due to those responsibilities than students who did not have families. Finally, two other themes emerged as major findings that contributed to the accumulation of excess hours: Changing majors and earning more than one degree. The students that changed majors more often had the greatest number of excess hours. In addition, some students whose ultimate goal was a bachelors degree, would first complete an associate in science degree to provide them with employment options and then go back and complete an associate in arts in order to transfer into a bachelor program, thereby accumulating excess hours. The major variables that influenced the accumulation of excess hours were: strong goal commitment, family responsibilities, major certainty and earning more than one degree.
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