Scholastic Abilities and Academic Decision-Making Patterns as Predictors of Dropout in Higher Education

Scholastic Abilities and Academic Decision-Making Patterns as Predictors of Dropout in Higher Education

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Scholastic Abilities and Academic Decision-Making Patterns as Predictors of Dropout in Higher Education

This study posits a new group of factors as potential predictors of dropout in the higher education system. These factors are characteristic of the individual',s academic decision-making patterns. Specifically, we hypothesized that an individual',s academic decision-making patterns, together with his scholastic abilities, affect the specific decision-making process regarding where and what to study, selected characteristics of his actual studies and, ultimately, his decision to persist or drop out. The research questions were: 1. How predictable is voluntary dropout based on applicant characteristics (scholastic abilities, academic decision-making patterns, and demographic variables)? 2. How predictable is forced dropout based on scholastic abilities? The study was based on three samples of applicants (N=1,001, N=1,227, and N=527) for first-year undergraduate studies. The first research question was addressed using a path-analytic approach. The second research question was addressed using a multiple logistic regression model. Six percent of the variance in persistence vs. voluntary withdrawal was accounted for by our hypothesized model. Ten percent of the variance in persistence vs. forced withdrawal was accounted for by scholastic abilities. Even with this limited explanatory power, the models proposed can contribute to the sensitivity of the admissions system.Key words: Higher education, dropout, career decision-making

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