First Course Success: Using Data to Predict Program Success

This action research at USDLA 2014 was presented by Karen Ferguson & Renee Aitken from Northcentral University. They were looking at students’ first course success as a potential predictor for their overall program success. They are serving working adults, and they start a set of classes every Monday.

They took an interesting presentation approach by first having the audience discuss in small groups whether we thought the first course success could predict program success or not. In that discussion, other potential factors were suggested, including the important of how the student liked the teacher, how they liked the LMS, their completion of a previous course, etc. We also discussed what factors might influence attrition, including a non-responsive instructor, life factors, the amount of work/rigor, self-directed ability.

In their study, they looked at the student’s occupation, students’ grade in the Foundations in Graduate Studies course, their introduction to online and higher ed for adult students, and if that GPA might be a predictor of persistence.

This presentation was very interesting to me as we are looking at various variables for student successful completion of courses, with our greatest registrations from students who are filling in the gaps in their schedule or required general education courses.

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