The study investigates if the number of visits to the campus recreational facilities would predict the year-to-year retention rate of new entering freshmen (NEF) who enrolled in fall 2006. Additional purposes were to examine retention rates and number of visits to the campus recreational facilities by gender, ethnicity, fall 2006 place of residence, and employment status on campus fall 2006. Finally, the number of student visits to the campus recreational facilities, first-semester grade point average (GPA), first-semester credits earned, first-year GPA, and first-year credits earned were used to determine if differences existed between returning and nonreturning students.
The data for the students were taken from the student record system and the system that scans the student access card as the student entered the campus recreational facilities. The data in these files were merged and analyzed to determine relationships between selected student-related variables and campus recreational facility usage.
After the data was collected and entered into an SPSS file, statistical analyses were performed. First, frequency counts were generated on the nominal data (gender, ethnicity, place of residence, employment on campus, and retention). A frequency count of the number of campus recreational facilities visits was done to determine how to break the facility users into three or four groups that were the same size as the nonvisitor group. For the continuous data, general descriptive statistics were calculated including mean, standard deviation, and range. After the variables were grouped into adequate and reasonably equal cell sizes, a series of nonparametric and parametric statistical tests were preformed using academic performance and retention as dependent variables. First, a series of chi-square tests was done between the nominal variables and retention status. These tests showed if there was a significant difference between genders, place of residence, employment on campus, and ethnicity, and retention status. Next, a series of t tests was conducted to determine if there was a significant difference in cumulative fall 2006 credits earned, cumulative spring 2007 credits earned, cumulative fall 2007 credits earned, fall 2006 GPA, spring 2007 GPA, fall 2007 GPA, and retention rates. Another analysis was a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Both linear and logistic regression analyses were performed to predict retention based on demographic variables that included gender, ethnicity, place of residence, employment on campus, and campus recreational facilities visits.
As the results of this and other studies have shown, there is an improvement in retention rates, GPA, and credits earned when students visit the campus recreational facilities. This would seem to tell administrators and students that campus recreational facilities serve a purpose for students on campus and should be funded much like any other campus activity to support students' academic success.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2008. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisor: Professor Darwin D. Hendel. 1 computer file (PDF); xvii, 158 pages.
Windschitl, Mark Richard.
The relationship of participation in recreational sports with retention rates and academic success of first-year college students..
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