Simms, H. (2019). Exploring the Relationship of Grit as a Non-Cognitive Predictor of First Semester Academic Success for Community College Transfer Students. Unc Charlotte Electronic Theses And Dissertations.
A growing narrative within higher education is to discover better practices and strategies that will increase retention and graduation rates among community college transfer students. Community college transfer students are at significant risk of not completing a bachelor's degree and four-year institutions need to better understand the academic challenges of transfer students at the senior institution. Jenkins and Fink (2016) found that students who originated from a North Carolina community college have only a 10 percent bachelor's degree completion rate, which is well below the national average. Grit is a non-cognitive area of research that is attributed to being a combination of perseverance and determination directly linked to higher education and collegiate academic outcomes to achieve long-term goals. The purpose of this exploratory study is to examine Grit as an outcome variable of previous transfer specific indicators and determine the relationship between self-reported Grit levels and community college student’s first semester outcomes post-transfer. More specifically, the study seeks to determine the relationship between a designated non-cognitive factor (Grit), the size and transfer focus of the previous institution (Carnegie Classification) and other transfer specific variables with subsequent first-semester GPA. Multiple linear regression analyses were used to determine the level of significance that occurred between the predictor variables and the outcome variables. The average age of the community college students in the study was 24 (SD = 6.77). Composite Grit scores ranged from 15 to 40 and had a mean of 28.71 (SD = 4.85). Cronbach’s alpha for Composite Grit was (α = 0.76), Perseverance of Effort reached marginal reliability (α = 0.60), and Consistency of Interest reached acceptable reliability (α = 0.76). The first regression analysis statistically significantly predicted the composite Grit score, p < .05, and accounted for 10.4% of the variance. The results indicated that only Transfer GPA was statistically significant. The second regression analysis was statistically significant for first semester GPA, p < .001, and the analysis accounted for 21.2% of the variance. The results indicated that Transfer GPA, Age, and Small Carnegie classified community colleges were statistically significant. Overall, the results of the study found that Grit, Carnegie Classification, and specified transfer related variables did not demonstrate a strong relationship with the academic performance for community college transfer students in the present study.