R. David Roos, Utah State University 


It is well established that such student precollege cognitive measures as high school GPA and test scores (ACT, SAT) have a certain predictive value in student retention. While research is replete with evidence of the value of student advising in a college’s retention strategy, there is a gap in the literature on the impact of using noncognitive survey information by advisors to better target student deficiencies. The primary goal of this study was to explore the relationship between retention and exposure to noncognitive risk factor information for students and advisors. One thousand fifty-four freshmen students enrolled in a first-year experience (FYE) course at Dixie State College were given the Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) survey that measures six different noncognitive risk factor variables. By using a regression discontinuity design, students were initially divided into two sample groups using an index score generated by combining the high school GPA and ACT (or equivalent) test score. Students who fell below the cutoff point were further subdivided by random sampling into three groups: (a) students who received their survey results with no further action, (b) students selected for general advisement, and (c) students selected for targeted advisement using the survey results. When comparing the retention rates from fall semester 2009 to fall semester 2010, the retention rates varied as predicted by the researcher; however, these differences in retention could not be attributed to the usage of the survey with one exception: when the treatment group was filtered only to include first-generation students, usage of the survey results was statistically significant in contributing to a 62% retention rate, the highest of any of the sample groups studied.


Roos, R. David, "Relationship Between First-Year Student Retention, Noncognitive Risk Factors, and Student Advising" (2012). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. Paper 1167.

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