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|Title:||Linking Levels to Understand Graduate Student Attrition in Canada|
|Keywords:||Attrition;graduate education;time-to-completion;time-to-withdrawal;higher education;policy;Educational Sociology;Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies;Educational Sociology|
|Abstract:||<p>This dissertation takes a multi-level approach to studying attrition and time-to-completion (TTC) in Canadian graduate programs. I draw on three distinct data sources to provide macro, meso, and micro-level analyses of the characteristics, program features, and other aspects that affect graduate student outcomes. My research is informed by existing attrition models and frameworks and takes a policy sociology approach to providing evidence-based recommendations to be implemented at government, institution, and department levels.</p> <p>My meso-level analysis presented in chapter two uses logistic regression and discrete-time survival analysis with time-varying covariates to analyze data from the Youth in Transition Survey, Cohort B. The pre-entry attributes identified in Tinto’s (1993) model of attrition are examined to help to uncover the type of student most likely to dropout of graduate school. Certain demographic and background characteristics, such as being married and having children, are shown to reduce the likelihood of graduating, while academic performance and experiences tend to be most relevant for entry to graduate school.</p> <p>My third chapter presents my meso-level analysis of TTC and completion rates for thirteen doctoral programs at Carleton University using publically available data for six cohorts. In an effort to deepen our understanding of the variation that exists, program requirements, obtained from archived graduate calendars, are coded and included in my analysis. The results show that at the faculty level, Science reports the lowest average TTC, only slightly lower than Engineering, and Social Sciences have substantially longer average TTC. Completion rates are also shown to vary by discipline and faculty, with Science again reporting the highest completion rates and Social Sciences the lowest. In addition to differences by faculty and disciplines, certain program requirements are found to be negatively associated with successfully completing a doctoral degree.</p> <p>The fourth chapter contains my micro-level analysis of two Sociology departments in two Ontario research intensive universities. My research was informed by interviews with completers, non-completers, and faculty I shed light on the process of attrition and barriers to timely completion. This chapter highlights how aspirations differ between groups of students, and how a department’s climate can have indirect effects on student outcomes. Faculty and students are shown to have some different perceptions of factors that lead to non-completion and the importance of supervisory relationships is found to be paramount to both student experiences and outcomes. Students face many challenges throughout their journey in the doctoral program, but many can be overcome through a department’s recognition of challenges faced as well as a commitment to improve them. Additionally, this paper highlights barriers to timely completion and reasons for withdrawal.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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