Type of Document Dissertation Author Latino, Jennifer A. Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-04092007-184329 Title First-Year Student Ratings of Their College Environment Based on Background Characteristics Degree Doctor of Education Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Shouping Hu Committee Chair Diana Rice Committee Member Joy Gaston Gayles Committee Member Robert Schwartz Committee Member Keywords
- Student Satisfaction
- First-Year Students
Date of Defense 2007-03-29 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe purpose of this study was to compare the areas of satisfaction and levels of importance within their college environment by students from various pre-college backgrounds. Research questions were developed to examine if a relationship existed for first-year students between pre-college characteristics of parental educational attainment and household income and the levels of satisfaction with and importance of services provided at the studied institution. Specifically, the researcher reviewed collected data based on students’ membership within the created status groups of advantaged, moderate, or disadvantaged. Survey results were explored to determine if differences existed between groups.
Student satisfaction is an effective determinant of the areas in which resources and efforts should be concentrated when strategic planning, specifically with regard to student retention. When a student expresses satisfaction with their collegiate experiences, administrators can identify that their efforts to provide quality and meaningful services are justified. Students who are satisfied with the college environment are more likely to remain enrolled and, ultimately, persist through graduation. Additionally, satisfied students often have higher academic performance than their peers who are dissatisfied with their college environment. Through determining the factors which most affect the satisfaction of students, programs can be intentionally designed to target the specific needs of today’s changing college student.
For this study, data were collected from students who entered the institution in the fall of 2005 and enrolled full-time. Students were included in the sample through the completion of the Student Satisfaction Inventory, developed by Noel Levitz. Using descriptive statistics and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) the researcher determined the degree to which a relationship existed between pre-college characteristics and satisfaction and between pre-college characteristics and levels of importance students placed upon measured areas of college life.
For most of the SSI subscales, students reported satisfaction scores between neutral and somewhat satisfied. Students within the sample were neither satisfied nor very satisfied with any area of college life. These low satisfaction scores, coupled with higher importance scores on most scales, indicated that there was a need to increase the quality and level of support programs that were being provided to students in the nine measured areas.
When evaluating satisfaction based on status, significant differences between groups was found within the campus life scale. Within this scale, students from the moderate group reported significantly higher satisfaction scores than those from the disadvantaged group. Advantaged students reported higher satisfaction within the instructional effectiveness scale and lower satisfaction with their feelings of safety and security on campus than their moderate or disadvantaged peers. These differences were not, however, statistically significant. Additionally, students from the disadvantaged group reported higher satisfaction with the academic components of their college environment than their peers from the advantaged and moderate groups.
The overall sample for this study reported that most of the measured scales were important to very important to their college environment. As with the satisfaction measurements, significance was found only in the campus life scale. As with the satisfaction measurements, students from the moderate group reported higher levels of importance than their disadvantaged peers. Other differences among importance scores, though not significant, were found within the safety and security scale as well as the campus climate scale. Within the nine subscales, across all three status groups, the level of importance that students reported for the measured areas of the SSI were higher than the level of satisfaction that students reported for the corresponding areas.
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