2006 College Student Inventory of Retention Management System

Executive Summary:

Jean Chen
Carmen Williams
Office of Institutional Research

April 4, 2007

The College Student Inventory (CSI) of the Noel-Levitz Retention Management System is a measurement tool that asks students to reflect on academic, personal, and social experiences and perspectives. The University of North Dakota has administered the CSI Form B to incoming freshmen during the summer orientation since 2002 and for the following four consecutive years. The overall number of freshmen who participated in this survey have been: 1,722 in 2002, 1,998 in 2003, 1,687 in 2004, 1,481 in 2005 and 1,536 in 2006 (Appendix 1). Freshmen provide their cognitive and affective attrition indicators through the survey. There are three CSI reports produced by Noel-Levitz. The first report is for each individual student, second for each student’s academic advisor, and the third is an overall institutional report.

CSI contains 100 Likert-type items. Each item uses a Likert scale of 1 to 7 with 1 equaling “Not At All True” and with 7 meaning “Completely True”. Principal component factor extraction with Varimax rotations was used to simplify the resulting factor structures along with maximizing the loadings. In order to be accepted in the rotated matrix, each factor required an eigenvalue greater than one for the determination of the common factors. This process yielded seventeen orthogonal factors. Factor scores were generated for these 17 variables and were converted to a standard score with a mean of 50 and a standard deviation of 10. Student responses to these items are therefore summarized within 17 different scales (Appendix 2). To check the internal consistency and to determine the reliability of the 100 items as a group and each of the subscales, Cronbach’s alpha was calculated. The scales include: 1) Study Habits, 2) Intellectual Interests, 3) Verbal Confidence, 4) Math and Science Confidence, 5) Desire to Finish College, 6) Attitude Toward Educators, 7) Sociability, 8) Family Emotional Support, 9) Opinion Tolerance, 10) Career Closure, 11) Sense of Financial Security, 12) Academic Assistance (receptivity), 13) Personal Counseling (receptivity), 14) Social Enrichment (receptivity), 15) Career Counseling (receptivity), 16) Financial Guidance (receptivity), and 17) Internal Validity.

In addition, Noel-Levitz provided UND a planning report which includes lists of students who fall into the following categories: 1) students with high dropout proneness, 2) who are highly receptive to institutional help, 3) those needing academic assistance, 4) who might benefit from personal counseling, 5) who might benefit from career counseling, 6) who need social enhancement, and 7) who are highly receptive to institutional help of. The percentage of freshman identified with high dropout proneness increased in 2003 and 2004, but has been much lower in 2005 and 2006 (17% in 2002, 20% in 2003, 25% in 2004, 18.8% in 2005 and 19.4% in 2006).

The CSI information helps students reflect on how to maximize their college experience, helps academic advisors equip with specific intervention strategies (Appendix 3) and able to identify students with particular concerns and gives the Enrollment Management team a snapshot of the first year students as a group. The CSI also permits UND to assess incoming freshmen college preparedness, their individual academic and personal needs and issues which students face. Students were asked to rate 25 intervention strategies from low priority (0) to high priority (10). The five highest ranked strategies were: 1). Discuss job market for college graduates (highest), 2). Get help in selecting an occupation, 3). Discuss qualifications for occupations, 4). Get help with exam skills and 5). Get information about clubs and social organizations (fraternities/sororities). The five lowest ranked strategies were: 1). Discuss emotional tensions with counselor (lowest), 2). Discuss dating and social life with counselor, 3). Discuss family problems with counselor, 4). Discuss unwanted habit with counselor and 5). Discuss attitude toward school with counselor. The trends for highest priority were very similar to the previous two years in the top five, with the exception of number 5 and also very similar for the lowest priorities.

CSI has been proven as a useful measurement tool to gather individual information that reflects each freshman’s orientation to college, motivation, receptivity to assistance, and subsequent retention. Students can get immediate intervention in specific problem areas identified by this instrument. Intervention can be extended to all freshmen who may drop out during their first year at college with or without displaying visible warning signs.

At UND, each college office receives their Advisor Reports along with the Student Reports. They then proceed to distribute these reports as each office has its own methods and procedures as to how best to disseminate.

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