Validating measures of theoretical constructs useful in examining college persistence

Healy, Margaret
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This study examined persistence in college using the model proposed by Spady (1970) and modified by Tinto (1975) in which students must be adequately regulated by the institution's values and goals in order to achieve goal commitment and must be adequately integrated into the social system of the institution in order to achieve institutional commitment. The purpose of this study was to develop reliable measures of the concepts, goal commitment and institutional commitment, and to validate them in terms of whether or not they are useful in identifying direct-from-high-school students who will or will not satisfactorily persist from the first to the second year in college. The measures developed in this study were derived from available institutional data (ACT Student Profile Report);Two constructs were developed in order to define the concept of academic integration or goal commitment: success orientation and accuracy of self-perception. The concept of institutional commitment was measured by the single construct of student fit with the environment. The constructs were related to two criterion variables, the student's grade point average and enrollment status;The results generally support the idea that the student's pre-enrollment, non-intellective characteristics are useful in identifying students who are likely to integrate successfully into the academic value system and the social system of the university, thus persisting from the first to the second year. The construct of success orientation had high reliability (r = .74) and was valid. The construct of accuracy of self-perception, while having only moderate reliability (r = .52), was valid. The construct of student fit with the environment was only moderately reliable (r = .54) but it was significantly related to enrollment status and grade point average.

Professional studies in education, Education (Research and evaluation), Research and evaluation