Drop-out rate and characteristics of diploma students at the Northern Territory University

  • Lai Fun Lee

    Student thesis: Other thesis - CDU


    This research attempts to investigate the relationship between the characteristics of 1988/1989 Diploma of Nursing and Education students who dropped out of their courses after the first year of study and their reasons for not re-enrolling. These Diploma students were sent a questionnaire related to student drop-out characteristics. In addition to the questionnaire, interviews were also conducted. A sample of 1988/1989 persisting students who were in the same programme was also investigated to compare the significance of the students' personal characteristics in relation to their drop-out or persistence.

    The results of the study indicate that there was a high correlation between possession of a matriculation or a high qualification and persistence among the Diploma students. The parent's/spouse's support for the student doing the course also seemed to have influenced students' persistence in the course. However, age, education, marital status, the number of years away from school and their student status were significantly related to dropping out or persistence for the Diploma of Nursing students but not for the Diploma of Education students. Financial support was only significant for the Diploma of Education students and not the Diploma of Nursing students.

    Students' ability to mix with other students or to relate to Faculty staff did not seem to have an influence on whether students persisted or not.

    The factors which influenced students to drop out appeared to be strongly related to personal factors rather than to social and institutional factors. The problems of a personal nature included: inability to cope with the course, lack of motivation to study, failure in units of study, financial problems and fear of failure.

    The issues identified as causing students difficulties involved various student grievances, time-tabling problems and the individual learning needs of students.

    In order to improve the retention of students, some solutions are offered concerning problems and some suggestions for change are made for meeting the academic/institutional, social and personal needs of students prior to and during tertiary education.
    Date of Award1992
    Original languageEnglish

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