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Path analysis was used to evaluate a structural theoretical model of the relations among different pre-university variables, social and academic experiences during the first year of university, and academic success, evaluated through first-year university achievement and permanence in the sophomore year or student retention. The participants in the study were 243 first-year university students in the 2010–2011 academic year, enrolled in different engineering degrees at a public university in southeastern Europe. The estimated final model shows satisfactory fit levels, offering an adequate representation of the study variables and explaining 38% of the variance in Institutional Commitment, 35% of First-year academic achievement, and 16% of student retention. First year academic achievement and institutional commitment are the best predictors of student retention, showing quite similar effects. Pre-university preparation shows direct effects on academic results and indirect effects on permanence. Preference for studies, academic integration and academic conscientiousness show direct effects on first-year academic achievement. Academic and social integration, support services satisfaction, and degree commitment show effects on institutional commitment. The results are discussed taking into account the theoretical models and previous research, and implications are presented for designing actions and programs to help first-year students make a successful transition to university studies, fulfil their educational and personal goals, and improve their academic success.
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- Effects of pre-college variables and first-year engineering students’ experiences on academic achievement and retention: a structural model
José M. Tomás
- Springer Netherlands
International Journal of Technology and Design Education
Print ISSN: 0957-7572
Elektronische ISSN: 1573-1804
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