Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 4, No. 2 (2007)

Causes of Attrition in First Year Students in Capstone Courses and Recommendations for Intervention.

Leone Hinton, CQU


This paper identifies research work done by a team that examined the notion of why first year students leave university. Initially, the team used an action research framework to elicit qualitative issues related to attrition of first year students undertaking three foundation year subjects. This research moved towards a quantitative analysis as it progressed. As an institutional imperative, the principal researcher extrapolated student data and trends to demonstrate the context of attrition at a regional university. Difficulty arose when defining the parameters of attrition and the processes leading to this, as a reliable and valid source of knowledge to be analysed, so that strategies may be established to enhance retention. The social and financial influences surrounding student retention were seen to be as important as success in academic work and study. This paper reinforces the work done by Yorke (1998), and through its recommendations, recognises the work and strategy outcomes of many others.

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