Considering student retention as a complex system: a possible way forward for enhancing student retention
2015 (English)In: European Journal of Engineering Education, ISSN 0304-3797, E-ISSN 1469-5898, Vol. 40, no 3, 235-255 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This study uses multilayer minimum spanning tree analysis to develop a model for student retention from a complex system perspective, using data obtained from first-year engineering students at a large well-regarded institution in the European Union. The results show that the elements of the system of student retention are related to one another through a network of links and that some of these links were found to be strongly persistent across different scales (group sizes). The links were also seen to group together in different clusters of strongly related elements. Links between elements across a wide range of these clusters would have system-wide influence. It was found that there were no elements that are both persistent and have system-wide effects. This complex system view of student retention explains why actions to enhance student retention aimed at single elements in the system have had such limited impact.This study therefore points to the need for a more system-wide approach to enhancing student retention.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 40, no 3, 235-255 p.
higher education, student retention, complex systems, multilayer minimum spanning tree analysis
Research subject Physics with specialization in Physics Education
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-235499DOI: 10.1080/03043797.2014.941340ISI: 000355565100001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-235499DiVA: diva2:760907