A Quantitative Exploration of the Educational Paths to Completion Taken by First Generation College Students and Students Who Have a Parent with A Four-Year College Degree
This quantitative study examines students’ survey responses as they begin the transition from high school into and through their initial year of college then to completion of a four-year college degree, to explore differences for both first generation college students and students whose parents have a four-year college degree. The research design uses data from four points in time to analyze and report the characteristics of a sample population of more than 16,000 students spread across 750 public and private secondary institutions in the United States (Gall, Gall & Borg, 2007). The data are derived from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, specifically the Student Questionnaires and phases that include the Base Year (2002), the First Follow Up (2004),the Second Follow Up (2006), and the Third Follow Up (2012), which offers the opportunity to see the data through different lenses. Students who responded to the survey were separated into two groups for the purposes of analysis: first generation college students (FGCS) and students who have a parent with a 4-year college degree (SPCD). This data disaggregation and the use of Binary Logistic Regression allowed the researcher to analyze and discuss the factors involved in both groups’ progression to completion of a four-year college degree. Results of the study showed that FGCS were 1.5 times less likely to persist to a four-year college degree than SPCD. Further, in conducting the regression models when all of the variables selected for this study are considered together, only school motivation, familial involvement and a student’s confidence significantly predict FGCS’ persistence to completion of a four-year college degree.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Literature review -- Methodology -- Results -- Discussion -- Appendix A. IRB approval letter -- Appendix B. A personal account -- Appendix C. Overview of the instrument