Project
Attrition and Academic Performance of Students Aged 35+
Description
Our project involves disaggregating and analyzing data to identify factors contributing to higher attrition in students aged 35+ and monitoring this data on a regular basis to support the identification and resolution of the achievement gap.
Address Equity Gaps
4-Year Institution
Health Professions
Nevada
Sumathi Lingappa
Director of Institutional Assessment
Jamie Fairclough
Associate Dean for Assessment and Evaluation
Evidence

This project focuses on the following research questions: What are the factors contributing to higher attrition rate in students aged 35+? How can we improve retention and graduation rates of students aged 35+?

Preliminary analysis of 6 years of graduation and retention data showed lower rates for students aged 35+ compared to students less than 35 years of age.

Preliminary analysis of assessment data also revealed higher remediation rates for students aged 35+. However, remediations are part of the Roseman competency model that allows students to learn, re-learn and take remediation assessments until they develop competency before moving on to next topic.

Surveys capturing primary data will be administered to currently enrolled (year 1 to 3) students aged 35+. These surveys are still under IRB review.

Goal

The goal of this project is to identify and resolve the equity gap of higher attrition rates of students aged 35+ as compared to students younger than 35. We will accomplish this by disaggregating and analyzing data to identify factors contributing to higher attrition in students aged 35+, designing a set of metrics to capture data for this population, and monitoring this data on a regular basis to support the identification and resolution of the gap.

Lessons Learned

Lessons learned include:
- Submit IRB applications as early as possible, even if the project is deemed to be for evaluation purposes (not research). IRB committees will determine the exemption status of the evaluation project.
- Expect IRB approval delays - even though we had access to data as part of our roles, the IRB resolved to conduct a full review since the project was collecting student data that could have psychological implications on participants.
- Anticipate work-related scenarios that may also cause delays, as this is an added project to your regular workload.