Date of Award
Campus Access Dissertation
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Education/Higher Education Administration
This study sought to identify the relationship between a student's level of self-determination towards aspiring to receive a college degree and student retention from the first to second year. Deci & Ryan's (2000) self-determination theory served as the conceptual framework for this study. The fundamental assumption of self-determination is that the content of a person's goal and the regulatory process one initiates to achieve the goals are not the same (Deci & Ryan, 2000). This study aimed to investigate 1) the degree to which a student's level of perceived autonomy in pursuing a Bachelor's degree predicts retention between the first and second year of college, 2) the degree to which a student's level of perceived competence toward his or her ability to achieve a Bachelor's degree predicts retention from first to second year, and 3) whether differences in perceived relatedness predict retention from first to second year. To accomplish these aims, a quantitative research design was utilized to examine the relationship between self-determination and retention from first to second year among college students at Twin University, a four-year, private institution located in the northeast, that is predominately White and has a traditional admission selectivity rating.
Results from independent t tests, ANOVAs, and multivariate logistic regressions revealed that students' needs for relatedness to peers were a positive predictor for retention for drop out students. In addition, the results indicated that a student's level of intrinsic motivation-to experience and amotivation were predictors of student transfer. While a relationship among all aspects of self-determination did not materialize, these significant results provided partial support for the relationship between self-determination and student retention. Recognizing the significance of these findings, this study provides faculty and student affairs professionals with a better understanding of student retention by providing alternative concepts to consider when creating classroom and out-of-class experiences for their students.
Tetreault, Jules, "College Student Retention: A Self-Determination Perspective" (2013). Graduate Doctoral Dissertations. 121.