2008 College Student Inventory of Retention Management System

Executive Summary:

Office of Institutional Research
September 2008

The 2008 College Student Inventory

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 has been: 1,722 in 2002; 1,998 in 2003; 1,687 in 2004; 1,481 in 2005 1,536 in 2006; 1,038 in 2007; 1,548 in 2008 (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. Most items use 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 with a planning report which includes lists of students who fall into the following categories: 1) students with high dropout proneness, 2) students who are highly receptive to institutional help, 3) those needing academic assistance, 4) students who might benefit from personal counseling, 5) students who might benefit from career counseling, 6) students who need social enhancement, and 7) students 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 since 2004 (17% in 2002, 20% in 2003, 25% in 2004, 18.8% in 2005, 19.4% in 2006; 9.8% in 2007; and 12.3% in 2008).

The CSI information helps students reflect on how to maximize their college experience, helps academic advisors to be equipped with specific intervention strategies (Appendix 3) and be 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 , 3) Discuss qualifications for occupations , 3) Get help with study habits , 4) Get help in meeting new friends , and 5) Get help in selecting an occupation . These “top five” have been very similar to the previous years and also fairly similar to the national trends.

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. Interventions 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 the information.

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