At many American colleges and universities, efforts to enhance the retention of a diverse group of students have become a priority. This study represents part of this effort at the University of Central Florida, a large public suburban state university in the South. Specifically, this investigation evaluated Pegasus '95 and the Academic Mentoring Program offered in the Summer and Fall Semesters of 1995 to specially-admitted students who fell short of regular admissions requirements. During the summer, Pegasus '95 provided testing, orientation, guided course work, study skills workshops, and mentoring, both individually and in the context of cohesive socialization groups of approximately 15 students each. In the Fall 1995 Semester, students were highly encouraged to participate in one-on-one mentoring in the Academic Mentoring Program (AMP) available through the Student Academic Resource Center (SARC), a university-based office which provides a variety of academic assistance services.

A multiple regression analysis was conducted using the following independent predictor variables: gender, SAT/ACT scores, Pegasus participation, use of the AMP in the Fall 1995 semester, four summary scores from the College Student Inventory (CSI), and eight scaled scores from the Noncognitive Questionnaire (NCQ). Dependent variables were individual student GPA in the Summer and Fall 1995 semesters, cumulative GPA after two semesters, and enrolled credit hours into the Spring 1996 academic term.

Overall, it was expected that a combination of predictor variables, including both traditional cognitive factors (SAT/ACT scores and high school GPA) and noncognitive factors (NCQ scores and CSI scores, Pegasus participation, and mentoring by the SARC) would significantly predict GP A and retention. The study found that a regression equation including gender, high school GPA, overall SAT scores and the eight NCQ scale scores significantly predicted Fall 1995 and cumulative GPA after two semesters but not Summer 1995 GPA or credit hours enrolled in Spring 1996.

Attendance at Pegasus meetings was also shown to be significantly and positively associated with Fall 1995 GPA and cumulative GPA after two semesters but not of Summer 1995 GPA or credit hours enrolled in Spring 1996. Gender, high school GP A, the ACT score and the CSI Dropout Proneness scale significantly predicted credit hours enrolled in Spring 1996, as did use of the AMP program provided by the SARC.

Of particular interest was the finding that including noncognitive factors in significant equations led to a greater explanation of the variance than could be obtained with any of the traditional cognitive measurements alone, suggesting that with academically disadvantaged students noncognitive measures must be considered in predicting who can succeed and persist in college.


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McGuire, John M.


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences






120 p.



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Masters Thesis (Open Access)




Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences

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