Date of Graduation
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
Harry N Boone, Jr.
Deborah A. Boone
Ann M. Richards
Jason B. McKibben
Nathan M. Sorber
As state funding for universities decline and funding becomes based more on outcomes like retention and graduation rates, universities must focus their efforts on assessment and delve deeper into uncovering issues that prevent students from graduating. Once issues are identified, it is in the best interest of the university to develop, implement, and assess support services that may provide students with resources that could lead to their success, thus improving graduation rates. At West Virginia University, the Mountaineer Success Academy (MSA) was created to serve eligible students who were undecided or did not meet the requirements for their desired major. Participation in the program was voluntary and nearly all the students who were invited to participate and who participated encompassed WVU’s two lowest levels of academic preparation and achievement which is measured by high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores.
The purpose of this study was to examine the West Virginia University Mountaineer Success Academy participants’ graduation rates and academic performance (GPA) upon graduation in comparison to eligible non-participants and non-eligible students entering as first-time, full-time freshen at West Virginia University during the fall semester of 2012 through 2015. This study also examined if attributes identified including ethnicity, gender, high school GPA, state residency, and SAT/ACT scores appeared to have an impact on graduation rates or academic performance (GPA) upon graduation.
The data collected in collaboration with the Office of Institutional Research using the identified boundaries were analyzed by the researcher using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Descriptive statistics were used to report the profile and demographics of participants. Chi square was used to analyze the difference in graduation rates among the groups. Analysis of covariance was used to partially adjust for pre-existing differences between groups in an ex post facto design. ANCOVA adjusts scores on the dependent variable for any initial differences on the extraneous variable. A .05 alpha level of significance was used for all data analysis.
There were significant differences found within 4 year and more than 4-year graduation rates among the groups. The MSA non-eligible participants who graduated in 4 years (40.2%) completed their degree at a higher percentage than their MSA (25.5%) and MSA eligible non-participant counter parts (25.6%). Participants in three groups who graduated in “more than 4 years,” did so at a similar rate. (17.1%, 18.7%, and 17.0% for MSA participants, MSA eligible non-participants, and MSA non-eligible participants, respectively)
There was a significant difference found in academic performance (GPA) upon graduation among the groups. An analysis of covariance that used high school GPA as a covariant, revealed that MSA non-eligible participants who graduated in 4 years (3.36) had a higher college GPA than their MSA (3.13) and MSA eligible non-participant counter parts (3.15). There were also differences in participants in three groups who graduated in “more than 4 years” (2.97, 2.79, 2.91 for MSA participants, MSA eligible non-participants, and MSA non-eligible participants, respectively).
While statistical differences existed in the college GPAs, the researcher stopped short of deciding if the differences had practical significances.
Watts, Ashley D., "Impact of the West Virginia University Mountaineer Success Academy Program from 2012-2015" (2020). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 7627.