Fischler College of Education: Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler School of Education


Daniel Turner

Committee Member

Gina Peyton


Identifying Student Engagement and Persistence Indicators in a Doctor of Education Program. Cedric E. Thompson, 2013: Applied Dissertation, Nova Southeastern University, Abraham S. Fischler School of Education. ERIC Descriptors: Persistence, Engagement, Retention, Motivation, Social Integration

This applied dissertation was designed to provide central services within any typical institution of higher education with important insight into what is a baseline in academic engagement and persistence. This study offers discernment in the construct of the key factors important in identifying effective central service practices in the effectual benefit of increasing persistence through external motivation by way of student engagement.

A review of the literature implied that students are more likely to fail to persist if they are not socially integrated into a network of support servicing academic, family, work, and even religious needs in the process. Institutions of higher education should seek to impress on the external motivational factors, which, encourages student engagement that tends to increase persistence among 1st-year doctoral education students.

Analyses of the data revealed that doctorate of education participants who were female were found to have a higher level of motivation than their male counterparts. The data also showed that approximately 75% of the participants were female.

Ten factors in this study were used to address two constructs that were essential to the research on student engagement and persistence. The constructs each had five factors assigned for evaluation. Engagement was assigned academic integration, institutional commitment, social integration, scholastic conscientiousness, and advising effectiveness. Persistence was assigned financial strain, degree commitment, motivation to learn, collegiate stress, and academic efficacy.

Only academic integration, scholastic conscientiousness, and motivation to learn reflected any significance when evaluated in a cross-tabulation analysis with the participants’ demographic constructs. Academic integration was also significant for participants whose mothers possessed high school education or less than high school education, participants returning after their first semester of coursework, and participants who requested and took their courses online as opposed to other blended instructional participants. Scholastic conscientiousness was reported significant for participants who worked fewer than 30 hours per week.

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