First-year science students with little academic commitment, profile with higher risk of dropping out of university

Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 20 (Europe Press)

The profile of students most likely to leave their university studies is those who are in first-year study, mainly in the science discipline, have chosen a third-choice or later degree, have a failing grade as the average grade at the university, have little academic commitment He shows little satisfaction when carrying out his activities as a student.

These are the main conclusions of a study delves into the profile of university students at risk of dropping out, conducted by researchers Rocio Peña, Olga Morales, Pedro Alvarez and David Lopez, most of whom belong to the University Group for Integrated research. Coaching and Mentoring (GUFO) from the University of La Laguna, which was published in the latest issue of the Spanish Journal of Education (REP).

This group of researchers has been working on academic dropout in higher education for more than a decade, trying to provide useful and transferable knowledge to deal with this serious problem affecting educational systems around the world.

The article, “Building a Student Profile with the Intent to Drop Out,” is based on a survey of a sample of 1,038 students from all University of Laguna centers and colleges. In order to respond to the goal of identifying the profile of students at risk of dropping out, different characteristics that could be associated with this situation were analysed, be it personal, academic, economic or social.

Specifically, the following variables were taken into account: age, gender, method of payment for tuition, grade point average at the university, degree selection order, academic satisfaction, adaptive competence, and student academic commitment. At the methodological level, a logistic regression model was built to assess whether there is a significant relationship between the expectation variables and the dependent variable (intent to quit).

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After conducting various statistical tests, the results obtained showed that demographic variables, gender, age, and socioeconomic variables were not critical when predicting the intention to quit. Academic factors had a high predictive value, as satisfaction with studies, grade point average, knowledge branch, or course were significantly associated with the idea of ​​abandonment.

Pedro Álvarez emphasizes academic dropout as one of the most prominent problems in higher education, “because of its effects on students, families, the institution itself, and society in general. Added to this is the difficulty of analyzing it, because it is not a single variable that causes it, but a combination of factors of a very diverse nature. Therefore, academic dropouts, especially in the first year of studies, reach very alarming numbers that justify studies like this one.”

It is hoped that the information provided by this research will be transferred to practice and can be translated into policies and measures that reduce the effects of this serious problem. “If we really want to change the situation we have been observing and control the devastating effects of this phenomenon, specific educational and extension measures must be implemented in each institution and in each center, so that academic dropouts are replaced by adaptation, permanence and graduation of the student body,” points out David Lopez.

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