Barriers to and supports for success for students older than average attending the College

Merrigan, Bessie (2001) Barriers to and supports for success for students older than average attending the College. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Personal, institutional and academic factors contributing to or impeding the success of students older than average registered at four campuses of the College of the North Atlantic from 1998-2000 were examined in this study. Students, twenty-five years and older, who had completed their program, were compared with those who had voluntarily withdrawn. The study was completed in two phases. Phase I involved the collection of data through the mailout of a questionnaire. Sixty-eight people responded to the questionnaire. After analyses of the data from those respondents, it was decided to conduct interviews. Phase II consisted of the collection of qualitative data through semi- structured interviews, conducted with 12 of the original respondents. -- Graduates and those who withdrew from the College faced common barriers to success. The study revealed that all students older than average expected respect from instructors, wanted their experiences acknowledged, had fixed ways of doing things, and indicated problems identifying with younger students in the class. Students who had the most difficulty with their perceived lack of respect seemed more likely to withdraw. While all expressed concern with balancing home and school responsibility, a significant difference emerged between the two groups as per their ability to cope with that responsibility. Results also showed a significant difference between the two groups as per the grade point average obtained at the College. The higher the GPA, the more likely the chances of graduating. -- The most significant theme that emerged from the study was the difference between the two groups as to their perceptions of course instructors, the support received from instructors, and the variety of teaching techniques. Graduates found that instructors were helpful and supportive and used a variety of teaching techniques, and those who withdrew reported experiencing the opposite. -- During the interviews, an important difference emerged between male and female students as per the difficulty experienced in balancing home and school responsibility. Women faced the greatest adjustment in attempting to balance that responsibility. It appeared from this study that those women who successfully managed home and school were the ones who graduated. -- The data from this study support the need for the College to identify perceived or real institutional barriers to success. There were clearly identified differences between those who graduated and those who voluntarily withdrew. Further research into academic, institutional and personal factors for students older than average would provide more support for the College, and to students older than average.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/1125
Item ID: 1125
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 149-156
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 2001
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: College of the North Atlantic--Students; Adult education students--Newfoundland and Labrador; Motivation in adult education--Newfoundland and Labrador; Adult learning--Newfoundland and Labrador

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