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Persistence in Higher Education

Hilton, Thomas L.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
RR-82-44, CBR-82-05
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, Academic Persistence, College Attendance, College Students, Dropouts, Higher Education, Longitudinal Studies, National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972 (NLS), Racial Differences, Sex Differences, Student Attrition, Student Characteristics


Characteristics and attendance patterns of persisters and dropouts from college and vocational/technical schools were studied, and a model of the persistence process was tested using data from the National Longitudinal Study (NLS), which surveyed high school seniors in 1972, with followup surveys in 1973 and 1974. Student persistence was defined as the relationships of educational status and educational aspirations over time. Study variables included scores from a cognitive test battery, high school and college grades, student and family characteristics, the influence of parents and friends, course of study, hours spent studying and in work outside school, and educational aspirations. In addition to confirmatory factor analysis, the basic analytical approach was path analysis, which provided models for socioeconomic status, academic ability measures, educational aspiration, and educational status, as well as a schemata representative of student development. During the first 3 years after high school, 26 percent of the high school seniors continued their education without interruption. Extensive appendices include: questionnaire items; a list of variables and path coefficients; attendance data by level, race, and sex; and percentage comparisons of attendance patterns.

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