• The relationship between achievement goals and the academic success of first-generation college students

      Perry, Andrew Holmes (2018-06)
      Recent research has established that first-generation college students, or those students without a parent with a four-year college degree, tend to underperform academically compared to continuing-generation college students, or those with at least one parent with a four-year college degree. The current study was undertaken to attempt to explain this discrepancy, known as the social class achievement gap, through the use of achievement goal theory. A survey of 351 undergraduates was conducted with students reporting their generational status and their adoption of three achievement goals. Their first-semester GPA was later acquired. It was expected that generational status would predict achievement goal adoption, that achievement goal adoption would predict academic performance, and that goal adoption would mediate the relationship between generational status and academic performance. Results did not support these hypotheses. Potential explanations for the null effects and implications of these findings for the social class achievement gap literature are discussed.
    • Social facilitators of and barriers to community college transfer student success

      Fennimore, Lauren (2019-05)
      Students who transfer to four-year institutions from community colleges often encounter difficulty within their classes post-transfer and tend to graduate at lower rates than their peers who began at four-year institutions as freshman (Bailey, Jenkins, & Leinbach, 2005; Jenkins & Fink, 2016). Reasons for these lowered rates of success have been explored, but have often focused on academic reasons while neglecting any possible social causes. The current review aimed to explore what is known about the impact of social factors, such as belongingness, on community college transfer students' rates of persistence and academic success at four-year institutions. The literature was searched in a systematic way using a three-part search strategy, through which 21 articles were deemed eligible to be included and further evaluated. Several social factors emerged, including sense of belonging, the stereotype of a community college transfer student, and additional considerations for student success as well as social support from family, peers, faculty, and advisors. Most students reported the social factors identified to play a role in their success at the four-year institution. The findings from each theme are presented and future directions for research and programs to be used to address those factors mentioned are suggested.