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Title: Examining Academic Resilience as a Mediator of Post-Secondary Achievement and Retention
Author: Colp, Steven Mitchell
Advisor: Nordstokke, David William
Keywords: Educational Psychology
Issue Date: 22-Dec-2015
Abstract: Entry into post-secondary studies from high school presents students with an assortment of challenges that extend far beyond conventional academic demands. These students are often required to modify their orientations to learning, foster, and maintain new social support networks, manage complex responsibilities, regulate personal freedoms, and navigate the many environmental and psychological stressors that will likely appear along the way. In the empirical literature, there is consensus that high school grade point average (HSGPA) represents the best predictor of success during this time of transition. Although HSGPA is often used to screen for entrance into higher education, little is known as to how or why it facilitates positive adjustment. Some have argued that HSGPA is influential because it is represents an interaction of internal and external factors. The purpose of this study was to undertake an empirical investigation to determine whether academic resilience, as defined by specific traits found within students that help them overcome situational adversity to achieve academically, mediates the relation between HSGPA and post-secondary success (i.e., achievement and retention outcomes). Using structural equation modeling, the responses from 655 first-year undergraduate participants were examined and demonstrated positive findings. Specifically, academic resilience accounted for approximately 5% of shared variance between HSGPA and post-secondary academic achievement. Due to the limited number of students who identified themselves as leaving academic studies, the mediational properties of academic resilience could not be explored within the context of post-secondary retention. The limitations of this study and future directions are discussed in relation to the obtained results.
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