Date of Award

8-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

John Travers

Second Supervisor

Gloria Jacobs

Abstract

A mixed methods study of students placed on academic probation at Onondaga Community College (OCC) in Syracuse, New York, revealed that voluntary participation in an intervention program yielded limited change in participants’ grades when compared to probationary students who did not participate. Only 29% of participants and nonparticipants improved their grades to return to good academic standing. Grades were compared between the program participant group and the non-participant group and a statistical analysis applying an independent sample t -test (comparing the mean GPAs), as well as an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) (comparing the means of three groupings) resulted in no statistically significant differences between the treatment and nontreatment groups. Through semi-structured interviews, students expressed a strong desire to complete a college degree, but exhibited limited actions to improve their ability to meet this goal. The academic doublespeak of colleges promotes the concept that students should come to college prepared as independent learners but seek assistance when needed. The participants associated independence in college with growing up, working on their own, and therefore, succumbing to supports such as the probation program, was considered failure. Colleges should explore this conflicting message further. The students’ lack of engagement in success-oriented academic behaviors provided the researcher with data to conclude that the offering of academic assistance without explicit or mandatory direction to use it, limits the success of probationary students at this community college.

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