Attrition After Successful Completion of Doctoral Qualifying Examinations: An Analysis of Characteristics and Attitudes of Doctoral Graduates and Non-Graduates
Description: The purpose of this study was to determine whether differences exist between characteristics and attitudes of graduates and those of non-graduates of doctoral programs in education. The subjects were the 256 students who had successfully completed the qualifying examinations in the College of Education at North Texas State University during the years of 1978 through 1980. Although the data findings from this study are too numerous to list within the restrictions of this abstract, the most notable findings include that (1) 74.2 per cent had graduated; (2) graduates were more likely to have selected the dissertation topic before the qualifying examinations; (3) graduates rated personal motivation higher than did non-graduates; and (4) there were no significant differences in Graduate Record Examination scores (verbal, quantitative, or total) between graduates and non-graduates. Among the conclusions drawn from this study are that (1) the process of going through a doctoral program discourages the less serious students before they reach the qualifying examinations and (2) graduates have high personal motivation and receive high support for dissertation efforts from many segments of life (spouse, family, friends, major professor, and doctoral committee). The recommendations drawn from this study are for (1) further research into the personal motivation of the candidate, (2) further research as to the effect of the candidate's attitudes toward and grades for courses in research and statistics, (3) universities to maintain records that allow for determination of completion rates of doctoral students and to consider these rates in the evaluation of doctoral programs, and (4) graduate faculty to encourage doctoral students to give serious consideration to possible dissertation topics early in their graduate programs.
Date: August 1985
Creator: Grissom, Mary Anne