Graduation Year

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

Curriculum & Instruction

Degree Granting Department

Leadership, Counseling, Adult, Career and Higher Education

Major Professor

Thomas E. Miller, Ed.D.

Co-Major Professor

Donald A. Dellow, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Donald A. Dellow, Ed.D.

Committee Member

W. Robert Sullins, Ed.D.

Committee Member

William H. Young III, Ed.D.

Keywords

Continuing-Generation, CSXQ, Persistence, Retention

Abstract

As the landscape of higher education changes to allow increased access for first-generation college students (FGS), emerging research should take into account the unique nature of this at-risk population of students (Aspelmeier, Love, McGill, Elliott, & Pierce, 2012). These students tend to be less prepared for the rigors of college coursework (Horn & Bobbitt, 2000; Strayhorn, 2006; Thayer, 2000) and may lack appropriate expectations (Pascarella, Pierson, Wolniak, & Terenzini, 2004). In particular, FGS may struggle with understanding the importance of creating and maintaining relationships with faculty (Cotten & Wilson, 2006; Davis, 2010).

In order to discover any correlation between expectations for experiences with faculty and student success, as measured by cumulative first-year grade point average (GPA) and persistence to the second year of college, this study utilized Astin's Inputs-Environment-Outcomes (I-E-O) model. Astin's I-E-O model outlines the relationship between inputs, environment, and outcomes in order to understand student persistence in college (Astin & Sax, 1998; Thurmond & Popkess-Vawter, 2003). Although past researchers focused on the relationship between these inputs, experiences, and outcomes, the relationship of inputs (expectations) and outcomes (academic performance) has garnered less attention. Further, many focus on the disconnection between expectations and experiences; however, this study focuses solely on the expectations and its relationship with academic outcomes.

The purpose of this research was to investigate the potential differences between first- and continuing-generation students' (CGS) expectations for faculty experiences and to discover any correlation between parental status and academic performance. This study utilized the College Student Expectations Questionnaire (CSXQ) in order to analyze 3,234 first-time in college students' expectations of faculty experiences during a summer 2008 orientation at a large, public, research intensive, metropolitan university located in West-Central Florida. The study also examined differences between FGS and CGS in first year college academic performance, while controlling for high school GPA. Further, the study assessed the relationship between FGS and CGS' expectations for faculty experiences and their academic performance after the first year of college, while controlling for high school GPA. Academic performance after the first year of college was measured as cumulative college grade point average and enrollment in the second year of college. The study analyzed secondary data in order to address seven research questions.

No statistically significant differences were discovered between FGS and CGS' expectations for faculty experiences. Further, no statistically significant differences existed between FGS and CGS' academic performance, as measured by cumulative first year college grade point average and enrollment in the second year of college, while controlling for high school GPA. Lastly, weak relationships were discovered between FGS and CGS' expectations for faculty experiences and their academic performance after the first year of college.

The study did not find statistically significant differences between FGS and CGS' academic performance, as measured by cumulative college grade point average and enrollment in the second year of college, while controlling for high school grade point average. Although strong relationships between expectations and academic performance were not revealed, these findings suggest that first- and continuing-generation college students may have other indicators or characteristics that impact their expectations. These indicators may correlate to academic performance measures including college GPA and enrollment in the second year.

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