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Influence of reading and mathematics screening tests and student ages on academic achievement in a two… Wade, Spencer 1990

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c . 2. I n f l u e n c e of Reading and Mathematics Screening Tests and Student Ages on Academic Achievement i n a Two Year Canadian C o l l e g e N ursing Program by Spencer Wade B.S c . N . , U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1980 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES The Department of C o u n s e l l i n g Psychology We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the r e q u i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA November 1990 (c) Spencer Wade In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Department Date <[)j2a**J}t*~ rf^O DE-6 (2/88) i i A b s t r a c t P r e s e n t l y t h e D o u g l a s C o l l e g e G e n e r a l N u r s i n g P r o g r a m s c r e e n s i t s a p p l i c a n t s w i t h t h e N e l s o n - D e n n y R e a d i n g T e s t a n d t h e S t a n f o r d D i a g n o s t i c M a t h T e s t i n t h e b e l i e f t h a t t h o s e t e s t s s e t a p p r o p i a t e s t a n d a r d s f o r a d m i s s i o n t o t h e p r o g r a m . No r e s e a r c h h a d b e e n p e r f o r m e d t o v a l i d a t e t h i s b e l i e f . T h i s d e s c r i p t i v e , e x p l o r a t o r y s t u d y e x a m i n e d t h e a v a i l a b l e d a t a t o d e t e r m i n e t h e i n f l u e n c e o f t h e s c r e e n i n g t e s t s on a c a d e m i c a c h i e v e m e n t . S i n c e t h e l i t e r a t u r e d o c u m e n t s t h e i n f l u e n c e o f d e m o g r a p h i c v a r i a b l e s on a c a d e m i c a c h i e v e m e n t i n n u r s i n g p r o g r a m s , t h e s t u d e n t s ' a g e s we r e a l s o i n c l u d e d i n t h i s s t u d y . The s t u d e n t s ' s c o r e s on t h e s c r e e n i n g t e s t s , a n d t h e s t u d e n t s ' a g e s , w e r e c o r r e l a t e d w i t h t h e i r s c o r e s on s i x n u r s i n g a c a d e m i c s c o r e s i n t h e f i r s t two s e m e s t e r s i n t h e p r o g r a m . C a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n a n a l y s i s was p e r f o r m e d on t h e same d a t a t o s e e i f i n s i g h t c o u l d be o b t a i n e d a b o u t t h e i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s o f t h e s c r e e n i n g t e s t s , t h e s t u d e n t s a g e s , a n d a c a d e m i c a c h i e v e m e n t . The P e a r s o n r c o r r e l a t i o n s i n d i c a t e t h a t t h e i n f l u e n c e o f t h e s c r e e n i n g t e s t s was s m a l l t o m o d e r a t e i i i on academic achievement i n the i n d i v i d u a l courses, and t h a t students' ages demonstrated the weakest c o r r e l a t i o n . Sub-test 3 of the S t a n f o r d D i a g n o s t i c Math t e s t c o n s i s t e n t l y c o r r e l a t e d the h i g h e s t with the academic course s c o r e s with only two excepti o n s , and i n those cases i t was the second h i g h e s t c o r r e l a t e . The c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n a n a l y s i s demonstrates t h a t t h e r e are two u n d e r l y i n g l i n k a g e s or dimensions between the two data s e t s . The f i r s t dimension demonstrates the dominance of the S t a n f o r d D i a g n o s t i c Math s u b - t e s t s i n c o r r e l a t i n g with academic achievement. The second dimension i s too weak t o make assumptions about the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the two data s e t s , but i t does suggest t h a t the students' ages i n f l u e n c e academic achievement. i v TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE A b s t r a c t i i Table of Contents i v L i s t of Tables v i L i s t of F i g u r e s v i i Acknowledgements v i i i CHAPTER ONE I n t r o d u c t i o n 1 Background 1 Problem Statement 8 Purpose 8 D e f i n i t i o n s 9 Assumptions 11 L i m i t a t i o n s 11 Summary 13 CHAPTER TWO L i t e r a t u r e Review 14 A t t r i t i o n Rates 15 Me t h o d o l o g i c a l Concerns i n A t t r i t i o n Research 17 C o g n i t i v e C o r r e l a t e s of Academic Achievement 18 Demographic C o r r e l a t e s of Academic Achievement 25 T h e o r e t i c a l Framework 27 Co n c l u s i o n s 29 Summary 31 CHAPTER THREE Methods 33 Subjects 33 Measures 34 Procedures 40 M i s s i n g Data 49 O u t l i e r s 52 Summary 52 CHAPTER FOUR R e s u l t s and A n a l y s i s 53 Summary 62 r V Page CHAPTER FIVE Discussion 65 Recommendations 59 Conclusion REFERENCES 71 APPENDIX A: Measures of Central Tendency ol VI L i s t of Tables  Table Page 1 M i s s i n g Data 50 2 B i v a r i a t e Pearson r C o r r e l a t i o n 54 3 Percentages of Overlapping V a r i a n c e s Between Independent and Dependent V a r i a b l e s 56 4 Percentages of A p p l i c a n t s C o r r e c t l y P l a c e d i n Excess of Chance 58 5 C o r r e l a t i o n s Between V a r i a b l e s and C a n o n i c a l V a r i a t e s , P r o p o r t i o n of V a r i a n c e , Redundancies, and the C a n o n i c a l C o r r e l a t i o n 6 0 V l l L i s t of F i g u r e s  F i g u r e Page 1 Schematic Drawing of F i l e f o r C a n o n i c a l A n a l y s i s . 47 v i i i Acknowledgements I express my s i n c e r e g r a t i t u d e t o my t h e s i s committee, Dr. Du-Fay Der, Dr. R i c h a r d Young, and P a u l i n e Dunn, f o r t h e i r guidance, support, and e s p e c i a l l y t h e i r p a t i e n c e . I a l s o express my s i n c e r e g r a t i t u d e t o Joy Holmwood f o r her e n t h u s i a s t i c response t o the study and f o r p r o v i d i n g access t o the data and to the r e s o u r c e s i n Douglas C o l l e g e . As w e l l , I wish t o thank Dr. Walter B o l d t who guided me i n the a p p l i c a t i o n of c a n o n i c a l a n a l y s i s . F i n a l l y , I wish t o express my deepest g r a t i t u d e t o my wife who so g r a c i o u s l y supported my s t r u g g l e . 1 CHAPTER 1 I n t r o d u c t i o n Background The a t t r i t i o n of n u r s i n g students from n u r s i n g programs p r i o r t o completion i s a major concern t o s o c i e t y as each d e p a r t i n g student r e p r e s e n t s the l o s s of a p o t e n t i a l h e a l t h care p r o v i d e r . Nurses p r o v i d e 90% of p a t i e n t care s e r v i c e s i n h o s p i t a l s (Kramer and Schmalenberg, 1988) and over the l a s t few years t h e r e has been an ever i n c r e a s i n g shortage of nurses which i s r e a c h i n g c r i s i s p r o p o r t i o n (Health Care A d v i s o r y Board, 1987; Layton, 1988). S o c i e t y not only l o s e s s c a r c e h e a l t h care p r o v i d e r s but must a l s o bear the c o s t s of t h e i r p a r t i a l e d u c a t i o n . These c o s t s are g r e a t e r than many other programs given the low tea c h e r t o student r a t i o r e q u i r e d i n c l i n i c a l t e a c h i n g areas. With student a t t r i t i o n the n u r s i n g program l o s e s i t s investment o f r e s o u r c e s . The d e p a r t i n g student f a c e s p o t e n t i a l p s y c h o l o g i c a l l o s s e s p l u s the l o s s of a p o t e n t i a l c a r e e r , whereas the remaining students and f a c u l t y f a c e the l o s s of morale (Grant, 1986). Though exact f i g u r e s on n u r s i n g student a t t r i t i o n i n Canada are not a v a i l a b l e , recent f i g u r e s from 2 S t a t i s t i c s Canada (1987) suggest t h a t p r o v i n c i a l diploma s c h o o l s are g r a d u a t i n g anywhere from 56% to 72% of those who e n r o l as f i r s t time students. Recent f i g u r e s from the R e g i s t e r e d Nurses A s s o c i a t i o n of B.C. (1989) suggest s i m i l a r a t t r i t i o n r a t e s f o r c o l l e g e -based n u r s i n g programs i n B.C.. These f i g u r e s under-r e p r e s e n t the t r u e a t t r i t i o n r a t e as many sc h o o l s have access programs f o r L i c e n s e d P r a c t i c a l Nurses and R e g i s t e r e d P s y c h i a t r i c Nurses whereby they g a i n entrance t o the program i n t o v a c a n c i e s l e f t by a t t r i t i o n . T h erefore, the g r a d u a t i o n f i g u r e s do not r e f l e c t the l o s s of students who were r e p l a c e d by access s t u d e n t s . The R e g i s t e r e d Nurses A s s o c i a t i o n of B r i t i s h Columbia attempts to r e c o r d the t r u e a t t r i t i o n r a t e but the d i f f i c u l t i e s of d e f i n i n g a t t r i t i o n makes such r e c o r d keeping meaningless a c c o r d i n g t o the a s s o c i a t i o n ' s e d u c a t i o n a l c o n s u l t a n t (Barbara Greenlaw, p e r s o n a l communication, September, 1990) . A frequent approach taken to address concerns over a t t r i t i o n i n both the g e n e r a l e d u c a t i o n a l r e s e a r c h l i t e r a t u r e and the n u r s i n g e d u a c t i o n a l r e s e a r c h l i t e r a t u r e i s to perform c o r r e l a t i o n s between s e l e c t e d p r e d i c t o r v a r i a b l e s and s e l e c t e d academic achievement 3 v a r i a b l e s (Higgs, 1984/ Pantages and Creedon, 1978). C o r r e l a t i o n s i n d i c a t e the s t r e n g t h of r e l a t i o n s h i p between two v a r i a b l e s (Hopkins and G l a s s , 1978). Th e r e f o r e , a major focus of a t t r i t i o n r e s e a r c h i s t o e x p l o r e the s t r e n g t h of r e l a t i o n s h i p between v a r i a b l e s of i n t e r e s t and to use those v a r i a b l e s t h a t demonstrate the s t r o n g e s t p r e d i c t i v e power as p a r t of the admission c r i t e r i a . The assumption of t h i s approach i s t h a t i f students are admitted to a program based on t h e i r r e s u l t s on t e s t s c o r r e l a t e d with academic achievement scores than those students w i l l do w e l l i n the program and the l i k e l i h o o d of a t t r i t i o n i s reduced (Pantages and Creedon, 1978) . Over the l a s t ten to f i f t e e n years v a r i o u s r e s e a r c h e r s have qu e s t i o n e d t h i s approach as b e i n g too l i m i t e d (Grant, 1986; Higgs, 1984; M i l l e r and Eddy, 1983; Pantages and Creedon, 1978; Schwirian and Gortner, 1979; T i n t o , 1975; 1982). S p e c i f i c a l l y , they argue t h a t a t t r i t i o n i s a complex process t h a t must take i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n v a r i o u s f a c t o r s once the program of study has commenced. Therefore, though r e s e a r c h g e n e r a l l y supports the v a l i d i t y of s e l e c t i v e admission c r i t e r i a as c o r r e l a t i n g more s t r o n g l y with 4 lower a t t r i t i o n r a t e s than does admission c r i t e r i a of a l e s s s e l e c t i v e nature (Noel, L e v i t z , and S a l u r i , 1985; S c h w i r i a n and Gortner, 1979), the use of s e l e c t i v e admission c r i t e r i a does not gaurentee low a t t r i t i o n r a t e s (Noel, L e v i t s , and S a l u r i , 1985) nor does i t take i n t o account p h i l o s o p h i c a l i s s u e s r e l a t e d t o the r o l e of a p a r t i c u l a r e d u c a t i o n a l i n s t i t u t i o n i n a community. As a community c o l l e g e , Douglas C o l l e g e ' s p h i l o s o p h y i s t o accommodate the v a r i o u s needs of students at t h e i r i n s t i t u t i o n . Therefore, the admission c r i t e r i a must r e f l e c t t h i s p h i l o s o p h y . The i n t r o d u c t i o n of t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a i s one method employed by the Douglas C o l l e g e n u r s i n g department t o address f a c u l t y concerns over student a t t r i t i o n . At one p o i n t t h i s department rec o r d e d an a t t r i t i o n r a t e of 43% i n the f i r s t phase of t h e i r program which they viewed as unacceptable (Dunn, 1981) . Since e m p i r i c a l evidence s t r o n g l y suggested t o the f a c u l t y t h a t students with d e f i c i t s i n mathematical, rea d i n g , and w r i t i n g s k i l l s were at g r e a t e s t r i s k f o r a t t r i t i o n they i n s t i t u t e d t h r e e t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a , which n u r s i n g program a p p l i c a n t s must s u c c e s s f u l l y pass, or be exempted from, b e f o r e 5 admission t o the program was granted. A c c o r d i n g t o Dunn (1981) t h i s s t r a t e g y was based on the b e l i e f t h a t : I f entrance c r i t e r i a are a p p r o p r i a t e , the student w i l l be able t o meet the demands of the program or, i f weaknesses and d i f f i c u l t i e s are i d e n t i f i e d p r i o r t o program entrance, students w i l l have o p p o r t u n i t y f o r c o u n s e l l i n g and upgrading t o improve t h e i r chances of success. I t i s the i n t e n t i o n of t h i s r e p o r t t o p r o v i d e i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t w i l l guide the F a c u l t y i n examining the i n f l u e n c e of our entrance c r i t e r i a upon academic achievement i n the program and i n determining the need f o r change. Our g o a l i s t o reduce a t t r i t i o n and by doing so, maximize human and e d u c a t i o n a l r e s o u r c e s t o meet p r o f e s s i o n a l and academic standards, (p. 3) The n u r s i n g department implemented the t h r e s h o l d c r i t e r i a as p a r t of the admission requirements a f t e r d i s c u s s i n g Dunn's r e p o r t . To date no study has been performed t o determine the i n f l u e n c e of the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a on academic achievement. Pantages and Creedon (1978) s t a t e t h a t "by f a r the m a j o r i t y of the recommendations f o r r e d u c i n g a t t r i t i o n 6 have been concerned with e n l a r g i n g the r o l e and scope of c o u n s e l l i n g s e r v i c e s f o r students f o l l o w i n g enrolment" p. 90. T h i s focus was echoed i n the v a s t m a j o r i t y of n u r s i n g a t t r t i t i o n r e l a t e d r e s e a r c h over the l a s t 10 t o 15 years, though few n u r s i n g s t u d i e s a c t u a l l y d e s c r i b e the a p p l i c a t i o n of t h e i r recommendations. C o u n s e l l i n g i s a h e l p i n g p r o f e s s i o n (Egan, 1986/ Gazda, Walters, and C h i l d e r s , 1975) . Though c o u n s e l l i n g i s t y p i c a l l y viewed as a process between two people, the h e l p e r and the helpee, c o u n s e l l i n g can occur at other l e v e l s wherby the u l t i m a t e e f f e c t of t h a t c o u n s e l l i n g impacts the i n d i v i d u a l (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). The h e l p i n g r o l e of a c o u n s e l l o r can t h e r e f o r e be viewed as t h a t of a c o n s u l t a n t ( L i p p i t t and L i p p i t t , 1978). T h i s study demonstrates a n o n d i r e c t i v e c o n s u l t a n t r o l e of a c o u n s e l l o r wherby the c o u n s e l l o r as c o n s u l t a n t "provides data f o r the c l i e n t t o use or not, as a guide f o r the c l i e n t ' s s e l f - i n i t i a t e d problem s o l v i n g " ( L i p p i t t and L i p p i t t , 1978, p. 30) . S p e c i f i c a l l y t h i s d e s c r i p t i v e study an a l y z e s the a v a i l a b l e data to i l l u m i n a t e the i n f l u e n c e of the Douglas C o l l e g e Nursing Department's t h r e s h o l d 7 admission c r i t e r i a on academic achievement i n the g e n e r a l n u r s i n g program. Pearson r c o r r e l a t i o n s were performed t o determine the s t r e n g t h of the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a and s c o r e s on s i x of the f i r s t and second semester n u r s i n g academic courses. The ages of the students were a l s o c o r r e l a t e d with the course scores as r e s e a r c h by B e l l o (1977) i n d i c a t e s t h a t age i s a c o r r e l a t e of academic success i n c o l l e g e n u r s i n g programs. A c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n was a l s o performed between the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a , p l u s the age v a r i a b l e , and the course s c o r e s . T h i s s t a t i s t i c a l a n a l y s i s , which i s used to determine the c o r r e l a t i o n s between s e t s of v a r i a b l e s (Bordens and Abbott, 1988; M a r a s c u i l o and L e v i n , 1983; Pedhazur, 1982; and Tabachnick and F i d e l l , 1983), was performed t o e x p l o r e the i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s of the v a r i a b l e s under study and t o "capture some of the complex dynamics i n v o l v e d i n educatonal r e a l i t y " (Thompson, 1984, p. 17). C a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n i s the s t a t i s t i c a l a n a l y s i s of c h o i c e between two s e t s of v a r i a b l e s (Bordens and Abbott, 1988) . 8 Problem Statement The Douglas C o l l e g e n u r s i n g f a c u l t y i n t r o d u c e d t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a as a means t o d e a l with t h e i r concerns over student a t t r i t i o n which e m p i r i c a l evidence i n d i c a t e d was r e l a t e d t o d e f i c i t s i n students r e a d i n g , w r i t i n g , and math s k i l l s . To date no study has been performed t o examine the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a and academic achievement even though the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a , i n p a r t , determine admission i n t o the n u r s i n g program. Furthermore, though t h e r e i s an abundance of American-based a t t r i t i o n r e l a t e d r e s e a r c h , t h e r e i s a de a r t h of a t t r i t i o n r e l a t e d r e s e a r c h i n Canada. I t i s t h e r e f o r e necessary t o examine the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a , measures of academic achievement, and other v a r i a b l e s of i n t e r e s t t o guide the n u r s i n g f a c u l t y ' s d e l i b e r a t i o n s on the need f o r changes which reduce a t t r i t i o n and "maximize human and e d u c a t i o n a l r e s o u r c e s t o meet p r o f e s s i o n a l and academic standards" (Dunn, 1981, p. 3) . Purpose The primary purpose o f t h i s study i s to examine the i n f l u e n c e of the Douglas C o l l e g e General N u r s i n g 9 Program's t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a upon academic achievement. As a d e s c r i p t i v e , e x p l o r a t o r y study i t makes use of the a v a i l a b l e data to b e t t e r understand the r e l a t i o n s h i p between c o g n i t i v e t e s t s , a demographic v a r i a b l e , and academic achievement. D e f i n i t i o n s T h r e s h o l d Admission C r i t e r i a : t h r e e t e s t s t h a t set minimum standards f o r reading, w r i t i n g , and math a b i l i t i e s t h a t a l l a p p l i c a n t s must pass, or be exempted from, b e f o r e they are allowed to enter the Douglas C o l l e g e General Nursing Program. For the purposes of t h i s study only the scores on the r e a d i n g and the math t e s t s are examined. The r e a d i n g t e s t i s the Nelson-Denny Reading Test (grade e l e v e n l e v e l ) . Only the t o t a l r e a d i n g score i s examined. The math t e s t i s the S t a n d f o r d D i a g n o s t i c Math t e s t (blue l e v e l ) , which c o n s i s t s of t h r e e sub-scores. A t t r i t i o n : the departure of students b e f o r e the s u c c e s s f u l completion of the n u r s i n g program. Academic success s c o r e : the numerical grade a s s i g n e d t o a student i n any one of the f i r s t or second semester n u r s i n g courses under examination i n t h i s study. N u r s i n g courses: a t o t a l of s i x Douglas C o l l e g e 10 n u r s i n g courses under examination i n t h i s study, t h r e e from f i r s t semester, and t h r e e from second semester. They are noted i n the Douglas C o l l e g e c a l e n d e r as: GNUR 100/THEORY 1, a theory course t h a t i n t r o d u c e s the ph i l o s o p h y and the n u r s i n g model of the program. GNUR 102/PHARM 1, a pharmacology theory course t h a t emphasizes the a p p l i c a t i o n of b a s i c mathematical s k i l l s i n c a l c u l a t i n g drug dosages and intr a v e n o u s flow r a t e s . GNUR 103/PNI 1, a p r o f e s s i o n a l n u r s i n g i n t e r a c t i o n s course t h a t g i v e s students p r o f e s s i o n a l i n t e r a c t i o n knowledge and s k i l l s . B eginning communication s k i l l s are developed. GNUR 200/THEORY 2, a theory course on s e l e c t e d h e a l t h problems with a p p l i c a t i o n of the n u r s i n g model. GNUR 202/PHARM 2, a second pharmacology course w i t h an emphasis on d e v e l o p i n g a knowledge base r e g a r d i n g t h e r a p e u t i c use of commonly p r e s c r i b e d drugs. GNUR 203/PNI 2, a second p r o f e s s i o n a l n u r s i n g i n t e r a c t i o n s course t h a t b u i l d s on the s k i l l s developed i n GNUR 103. Transformed (independent/dependent) v a r i a b l e s / c a n o n i c a l  v a r i a t e : the mathematical t r a n s f o r m a t i o n v i a c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n whereby a minimum of two v a r i a b l e s i n one set and a minimum of two v a r i a b l e s i n the second set are each transformed i n t o a new v a r i a b l e , wherein a l l v a r i a b l e s are maximally c o r r e l a t e d with each o t h e r . Age: the age of the students at the s t a r t of the program. Assumptions 1. The s cores on the s e l e c t e d n u r s i n g academic courses are r e l i a b l e and v a l i d measurements. L i m i t a t i o n s 1. The e f f e c t of r e s t r i c t e d v a r i a b i l i t y on the c o r r e l a t i o n s between the v a r i a b l e s of the two data s e t s . A c c o r d i n g to Hopkins and Glass (1978) r e s t r i c t e d v a r i a b l i l i t y r e f e r s to the i n f l u e n c e on computing c o r r e l a t i o n s i f the f u l l range of p o t e n t i a l s cores are not i n c l u d e d , as i n t h i s study, where only the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a scores on those a c t u a l l y admitted t o the program are i n c l u d e d . The e f f e c t of r e s t r i c t e d v a r i a b l i l i t y i s to lower the c o r r e l a t i o n . 2. One of the t h r e e t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a , the w r i t i n g t e s t , i s not i n c l u d e d as a v a r i a b l e i n t h i s study. The w r i t i n g t e s t i s e v a l u a t e d as e i t h e r a pass or 12 f a i l , t h e r e f o r e no score i s a v a i l a b l e f o r c o r r e l a t i o n a l a n a l y s i s . T herefore, the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a cannot be f u l l y examined, which was the o r i g i n a l i n t e n t of t h i s study. 3. The l i m i t e d amount of data on the students sex and m a r i t a l s t a t u s . The o r i g i n a l i n t e n t of t h i s study was to i n c l u d e the sex and the m a r i t a l s t a t u s of the s t u d e n t s . However, the number of males are too few t o bear s i g n i f i c a n t r e s u l t s , and the a v a i l a b l e data on m a r i t a l s t a t u s proved too u n r e l i a b l e . Thus the only a v a i l a b l e demographic v a r i a b l e f o r t h i s study i s the age of the s t u d e n t s . 4. The academic n u r s i n g scores a v a i l a b l e f o r t h i s study are l i m i t e d t o the f i r s t two semesters of the n u r s i n g program. The o r i g i n a l i n t e n t of t h i s study was t o produce c o r r e l a t i o n s with academic n u r s i n g scores throughout the g e n e r a l n u r s i n g program, i n c l u d i n g the f i n a l GPA, i n order to make b e t t e r d e t e r m i n a t i o n s about the e f f e c t of t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a on academic achievement. However, the data on t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a a v a i l a b l e f o r t h i s study are on those students who had p r o g r e s s e d t o the second semester of the n u r s i n g program. 5. The a v a i l a b l e number of cases f o r t h i s study l i m i t s the number of v a r i a b l e s which can be an a l y z e d u s i n g c a n o n i c a l a n a l y s i s . The o r i g i n a l number of s u b j e c t s a v a i l a b l e f o r t h i s study i s 147. Due t o i s s u e s r e g a r d i n g m i s s i n g data and o u t l i e r s the a v a i l a b l e number of s u b j e c t s was reduced t o 113. As c a n o n i c a l a n a l y s i s r e q u i r e s t h a t t h e r e are at l e a s t 11 s u b j e c t s per v a r i a b l e under examination (Marasculio and L e v i n , 1983) t h i s study i s t h e r e f o r e l i m i t e d t o 10 v a r i a b l e s . Summary T h i s chapter has i n t r o d u c e d the study, p r o v i d e d the background, i d e n t i f i e d the problem area under examination, and d e l i n e a t e d the purpose of the study. As w e l l , the assumption about, and the l i m i t a t i o n s t o , the study were d e s c r i b e d . 14 CHAPTER 11 L i t e r a t u r e Review Though t h e r e e x i s t s a l a r g e body of n u r s i n g academic p r e d i c t i o n r e s e a r c h , now spanning f i f t y years (Munro, 1981) t h e r e i s a d e a r t h of r e s e a r c h s p e c i f i c t o Canadian or B r i t i s h Columbian c o l l e g e - b a s e d n u r s i n g programs. However, both the American-based g e n e r a l e d u c a t i o n and n u r s i n g e d u c a t i o n l i t e r a t u r e c o n t a i n r e s e a r c h which i s r e l e v a n t to t h i s study. Up to the 1970's the m a j o r i t y of a t t r i t i o n r e s e a r c h was a t h e o r e t i c a l and d e s c r i p t i v e i n nature (Higgs, 1984; Lenning, (1982); P a s c a r e l l a , 1982). These s t u d i e s g e n e r a l l y f o c u s s e d on p r e d i c t o r s of academic success based on the assumption t h a t p e r s i s t e n c e i n c o l l e g e i s p o s i t i v e l y r e l a t e d t o c o l l e g e achievement (Cope and Hannah, 1975; Pantages and Creedon, 1978). Owen and Feldhusen (1970) s t a t e t h a t " n u r s i n g s c h o o l s have f o c u s s e d a t t e n t i o n on two procedures t o reduce the drop-out r a t e : b e t t e r s c r e e n i n g and s e l e c t i o n of students, and remediation of academic d i f f i c u l t i e s once students are e n r o l l e d . The p r e d i c t i o n of academic success i s a t o o l i m p l i c i t i n both of these procedures" (p.517). 15 T h i s s e c t i o n reviews the r e s e a r c h : t o g i v e a p e r s p e c t i v e on the extent of a t t r i t i o n ; to d e s c r i b e m e t h o d o l o g i c a l concerns a s s o c i a t e d with a t t r i t i o n r e s e a r c h ; and to review the r e s e a r c h r e l a t e d t o c o g n i t i v e and demographic c o r r e l a t e s of academic achievement. Furthermore, t h i s s e c t i o n p r o v i d e s a model u s e f u l f o r a t t r i t i o n r e s e a r c h . A t t r i t i o n Rates A c c o r d i n g to T i n t o (1982), over the l a s t 100 years i n American h i g h e r e d u c a t i o n the a t t r i t i o n r a t e has remained f a i r l y constant at 45%. Cope and Hannah (1975) examined o v e r a l l American a t t r i t i o n r a t e s d u r i n g the 1960's and e a r l y 1970's. During the 1960's, based on 2500 two-year and f o u r - y e a r c o l l e g e s , l e s s than 50% graduated without i n t e r r u p t i o n of t h e i r s t u d i e s and 30% t o 40% w i l l never earn a degree. During the e a r l y 1970's the f i g u r e s are approximately the same. A c l o s e r examination of t h i s data r e v e a l s t h a t community c o l l e g e students have h i g h e r a t t r i t i o n r a t e s than those i n f o u r - y e a r c o l l e g e s i n t h a t 50% leave b e f o r e the second year and of those remaining only 50% complete t h e i r program of s t u d i e s . In both two and f o u r - y e a r c o l l e g e s a t t r i t i o n r a t e s vary from 10% to 80%, g e n e r a l l y 16 r e f l e c t i n g the degree of s e l e c t i v i t y i n t h e i r admission procedures. The g r e a t e s t p r o p o r t i o n of a t t r i t i o n i s among the a c a d e m i c a l l y l e s s t a l e n t e d . Cope and Hannah (1975) c a u t i o n t h a t g i v e n the wide v a r i a t i o n i n data c o l l e c t i o n techniques, t h e i r data are gross approximations. The American-based n u r s i n g l i t e r a t u r e o f t e n c i t e s concerns over a t t r i t i o n but p r o v i d e l i t t l e data on a t t r i t i o n r a t e s . M i l l e r (1974) c i t e s o v e r a l l a t t r i t i o n r a t e s of 40% f o r n u r s i n g students while Owen and Feldhusen (1970) c i t e f i g u r e s of "at l e a s t a t h i r d " (p. 517). More r e c e n t l y , B e l l o (1977) c i t e s a n a t i o n a l a t t r i t i o n r a t e f o r a s s o c i a t e degree programs of n u r s i n g at 33%. As i n d i c a t e d p r e v i o u s l y , the a v a i l a b l e Canadian data suggests t h a t a t t r i t i o n r a t e s f o r n u r s i n g students ranges from 28% to 44%, based on enrollment versus g r a d u a t i o n f i g u r e s . These percentages are rough e s t i m a t e s g i v e n t h a t the d e t e r m i n a t i o n of a t t r i t i o n r a t e s based on s u b t r a c t i n g g r a d u a t i o n f i g u r e s from the enrolment f i g u r e s does not account f o r those withdrew and then returned, nor do those f i g u r e s account f o r those students who l e f t and were l a t e r r e p l a c e d by 17 other s t u d e n t s . At Douglas C o l l e g e an i n t e r i m r e p o r t on the r e s u l t s of a p r o j e c t t h a t examines v a r i o u s aspects of c o l l e g e success (James, 1990) i n d i c a t e s t h a t t h e r e i s an a t t r i t i o n r a t e of 50% to 60% i n the open enrolment courses, which comprise 80% of the programs at Douglas C o l l e g e . T h i s r a t e c o n t r a s t s s h a r p l y with the 10% t o 20% a t t r i t i o n r a t e i n the c l o s e d enrolment programs, of which the n u r s i n g program i s p a r t . James (1990) c a u t i o n s t h a t these r e s u l t s are t e n t a t i v e g i v e n the d i f f e r e n t withdrawal behaviours of s t u d e n t s . A t t r i t i o n r a t e s f o r the g e n e r a l n u r s i n g program were not r e a d i l y a v a i l a b l e , though as s t a t e d i n Chapter 1, an a t t r i t o n r a t e of 43% d u r i n g one p a r t of the program was of concern t o the n u r s i n g f a c u l t y . The data on a t t r i t i o n r a t e s should be viewed c a u t i o u s l y . The a v a i l a b l e r e s e a r c h suggests t h a t the o v e r a l l a t t r i t i o n r a t e of n u r s i n g students i s no worse than f o r the g e n e r a l c o l l e g e e d u c a t i o n environment, and i n many i n s t a n c e s n u r s i n g students probably have a lower a t t r i t i o n r a t e . M e t h o d o l o g i c a l Concerns i n A t t r i t i o n Research T e r e n z i n i and P a s c a r e l l a (1978), a f t e r examining a 18 number of g e n e r a l e d u c a t i o n reviews of a t t r i t i o n , conclude t h a t " t h i s l i t e r a t u r e i s c o n c e p t u a l l y i n c o h e r e n t and m e t h o d o l i g i c a l l y uneven" (p. 347). Pantages and Creedon c i t e the c o n c l u s i o n of Panos and A s t i n (1968) t h a t "the r e s u l t s of many a t t r i t i o n s t u d i e s are not comparable because they i n f a c t d e a l w i t h d i f f e r e n t phenomena" (p. 51). One of the primary concerns has to do with the d e f i n i t i o n of a t t r i t i o n between s t u d i e s (Lenning, 1982; Pantages and Creedon, 1978; T i n t o , 1975: 1982; 1987). T h i s concern i s echoed i n the n u r s i n g l i t e r a t u r e by Higgs (1984). The major i m p l i c a t i o n f o r t h i s concern i s t h a t g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y from one r e s e a r c h s e t t i n g to' another i s q u e s t i o n a b l e and t h a t t h e r e i s v a l u e • i n doing i n s t i t u t i o n - s p e c i f i c a t t r i t i o n r e s e a r c h . C o g n i t i v e C o r r e l a t e s o f Academic Achievement In a review of v a r i a b l e s e l e c t i o n f o r a t t r i t i o n s t u d i e s i n the gen e r a l e d u c a t i o n l i t e r a t u r e Lenning (1982) s t a t e d c o g n i t i v e measures of a p t i t u d e and a b i l i t y dominate the range of v a r i a b l e s t h a t c o r r e l a t e with academic success. High s c h o o l GPA and c l a s s rank had the s t r o n g e s t c o r r e l a t i o n . Lenning (1982) noted t h a t lower r e a d i n g scores, such as measured on the 19 Nelson-Denny Reading Test, c o r r e l a t e d with h i g h e r a t t r i t i o n r a t e s , and t h a t r e a d i n g a b i l i t y was r e l a t e d t o w r i t i n g and speaking a b i l i t y . Cope and Hannah (1975) concurred t h a t h i g h s c h o o l GPA and c l a s s rank were the b e s t c o r r e l a t e s of academic success, f o l l o w e d by SAT v e r b a l and math s c o r e s . In her a n a l y s i s of the n u r s i n g l i t e r a t u r e on p r e d i c t i o n r e s e a r c h Higgs (1984) s t a t e s t h a t two comprehensive reviews of n u r s i n g p r e d i c t i o n r e s e a r c h by L a v i n (1965) and Schwirian (1977) i n d i c a t e t h a t c o g n i t i v e p r e d i c t o r s of academic achievement have reached a peak, v a r y i n g from 30% t o 45%, i n p r e d i c t i n g the v a r i a n c e i n academic achievement s c o r e s . S c h w i r i a n (1977) found t h a t the best p r e d i c t o r s of s c h o o l grades were p r i o r academic achievement GPA, h i g h s c h o o l GPA, and student c l a s s rank. The best p r e d i c t o r s of s c o r e s of the NLN exams were ACT scores, SAT scores, and p r e -n u r s i n g GPA. Boyle (1986) notes the 8 of the 10 most f r e q u e n t l y c i t e d admission c r i t e r i a i n Schwirian's study (1977) were p r i o r academic achievement. P e r s o n a l i t y and b i o g r a p h i c a l data have generated i n c o n s i s t e n t f i n d i n g s t h a t have not added t o the p r e d i c t i v e power of c o g n i t i v e p r e d i c t o r s . 20 Based on the p r e v i o u s work by Schwirian (1977), S c h w i r i a n and Gortner (1979) examined those n u r s i n g programs whose d i r e c t o r s , based on t h e i r judgement, were most ac c u r a t e i n p r e d i c t i n g which of t h e i r graduates would perform best i n the workplace. A f t e r o n - s i t e v i s i t s and a conference of r e p r e s e n t a t i v e i n s t i t u t i o n s S chwirian and Gortner (1979) found t h a t these i n s t i t u t i o n s g e n e r a l l y p l a c e an i n c r e a s e d emphasis oh c o g n i t i v e s c r e e n i n g of a p p l i c a n t s . However, the i n t e n t of these i n s t i t u t i o n s i s to develop s e l e c t i v e admissions c r i t e r i a r a t h e r than simply s c r e e n i n g f o r s k i l l d e f i c i t s . Grant (1986) wrote a review a r t i c l e on p r e d i c t o r s of academic success i n n u r s i n g programs d u r i n g the 1970s and e a r l y 1980. He concludes t h a t i n terms of p r e d i c t i n g academic success i n n u r s i n g courses the " t r a d i t i o n a l c o g n i t i v e c r i t e r i a used f o r s e l e c t i o n of students which r e l y on past demonstrated achievement are most p r e d i c t i v e of n u r s i n g grade p o i n t average" (p.96). The most common t r a d i t i o n a l c r i t e r i a used were p r e v i o u s grade p o i n t average f o l l o w e d by scores on an a r r a y of c o g n i t i v e t e s t s . Grant (1986) a l s o reviewed the n u r s i n g l i t e r a t u r e on p r e d i c t i n g graduates 21 performance on s t a t e board exams. He summarized h i s review by s t a t i n g t h a t " v e r b a l or r e a d i n g a b i l i t y was found t o be a key f a c t o r " p.99. B e l l o (1977) and Yess (1980) r e s p e c t i v e l y demonstrated t h a t r e a d i n g a b i l i t y , and v e r b a l and math t e s t s , are s i g n i f i c a n t p r e d i c t o r s of academic success i n c o l l e g e - b a s e d n u r s i n g programs. L a t e r r e s e a r c h by Yess (1981) found a s i m i l a r p r e d i c t i v e a b i l i t y with the S c h o l a s t i c A p t i t u d e Test math sub-scores. Hutcheson, Garland, and Lowe (1979) , used f a c t o r a n a l y s i s t o examine the r e l a t i v e c o n t r i b u t i o n of r e a d i n g and comprehension, v e r b a l usage, and mathematical a b i l i t y t o academic success i n t h e i r u n i v e r s i t y s c h o o l of n u r s i n g . They found t h a t these t h r e e f a c t o r s accounted f o r 75% of the t o t a l v a r i a n c e i n academic success, with r e a d i n g and comprehension e x p l a i n i n g 47.4% , v e r b a l usage e x p l a i n i n g 20.1%, and mathematical a b i l i t y e x p l a i n i n g 7.9%. More r e c e n t l y Spahr (1987) examined the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the Nelson-Denny Reading Test, p l u s two i n s t i t u t i o n a l l y developed math t e s t s , and s e l e c t e d f i r s t year n u r s i n g courses. S i g n i f i c a n t c o r r e l a t i o n s at l e v e l s of p_ <.05 and p_ < .01 were found 22 w i t h each t e s t and the n u r s i n g courses. Some n u r s i n g l i t e r a t u r e demonstrates the e f f e c t s of r emedial a c t i o n based on concerns over students s k i l l d e f e c i t s . McDonald, C o l l i n s , and Walker (1983) had concerns over d e f i c i t s i n t h e i r students r e a d i n g , w r i t i n g , and math s k i l l s . T h e i r o v e r a l l a t t r i t i o n r a t e was 42%, with a r a t e of 57% f o r those students with the g r e a t e s t s k i l l d e f i c i t s . They employed a needs assessment t o a s s i s t them i n d e v e l o p i n g a s u c c e s s f u l r e m e d i t a t i o n program t h a t reduced t h e i r a t t r i t i o n r a t e from 42% t o 16%. Hudepohl and Reed (1984) a l s o had concerns over student a t t r i t i o n r e l a t e d t o a range of s k i l l d e f i c i t s . They examined i s s u e s r e l a t e d t o how course content, student assignments, and e v a l u t i o n p r a c t i c e s c o u l d p o s s i b l y c o n t r i b u t e t o student f a i l u r e . They a l s o examined: r e a d i n g l e v e l s of n u r s i n g textbooks; the comprehensiveness and c l a r i t y of the math t e s t ; and the composition s k i l l d i f f e r e n c e s of high, medium, and low achievement n u r s i n g students. The purpose of these examinations were to i d e n t i f y v a r i o u s confounding i n f l u e n c e s on academic success i n t h e i r n u r s i n g program t o guide them i n t h e i r r e mediation e f f o r t s . Reed and Hudepohl (1985) r e p o r t a drop i n a t t r i t i o n f o r r e a d m i t t e d students from 50% to 15% f o l l o w i n g implementation of t h e i r remedial programs. The two B r i t i s h Columbian s t u d i e s a v a i l a b l e were Lamoureaux and Johannsen (1977) and Johannsen (1979) . These are e s s e n t i a l l y the same study with the l a t t e r a c o n t i n u a t i o n of the former. Of s p e c i a l note i s t h a t these s t u d i e s took p l a c e at the Douglas C o l l e g e n u r s i n g program d u r i n g the 1970s. The purpose of these s t u d i e s was t o p r e d i c t p e r s i s t e n c e and n o n - p e r s i s t e n c e of students i n the n u r s i n g program r a t h e r than p r e d i c t i n g academic success i n terms of scores earned i n i n d i v i d u a l n u r s i n g courses. Of the f i f t e e n v a r i a b l e s found t o be s i g n i f i c a n t l y c o r r e l a t e d with p e r s i s t e n c e and n o n - p e r s i s t e n c e , the Nelson-Denny Reading Test had the s t r o n g e s t Pearson r c o e f f i c i e n t (.26). A review of a l l the c a l e n d e r s from the nine other B r i t i s h Columbian c o l l e g e s t h a t have n u r s i n g programs shows a v a r i e t y of admission p o l i c i e s . In terms of t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a only one other c o l l e g e uses a r e a d i n g t e s t , the Nelson-Denny, as a requirement p r i o r t o admission. F i v e of the other programs r e q u i r e a math t e s t though two of them do not use these r e s u l t s t o determine acceptance i n t o t h e i r program. In a d d i t i o n , one c o l l e g e r e q u i r e s s u c c e s s f u l completion of E n g l i s h and math competency t e s t s f o r a p p l i c a n t s who do not meet t h e i r r e g u l a r academic admission requirements. Furthermore, i n d i v i d u a l programs have a v a r i e t y of other requirements such as a p e r s o n a l i n t e r v i e w or attendance at an o r i e n t a t i o n s e s s i o n . T h e r e f o r e , t h e r e i s no c o n s i s t e n c y among the d i f f e r e n t c o l l e g e - b a s e d n u r s i n g programs i n terms of the type and of the a p p l i c a t i o n of t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a . However, of those i n s t i t u t i o n s u s i n g c o g n i t i v e t e s t s f o r e i t h e r s c r e e n i n g or f o r admission purposes, a l l t e s t s are e i t h e r a reading, math, or an E n g l i s h t e s t . Concerns over p o t e n t i a l students' reading, w r i t i n g , and math s k i l l s are w e l l j u s t i f i e d . A c c o r d i n g t o r e c e n t s t a t i s t i c s from Employment and Immigration Canada (1989) s k i l l s i n those t h r e e areas, and the a b i l i t y t o speak a r t i c u l a t e l y , are r e q u i r e d even f o r the most b a s i c of jobs. These f o u r s k i l l areas are c o n s i d e r e d p a r t of the g e n e r i c s k i l l s r e q u i r e d t o be developed i n students i n the B r i t i s h Columbia s c h o o l system (New Westminster School Board, 1988) i n order t o meet the changing demands to f u n c t i o n i n s o c i e t y . 25 Furthermore, 24% of Canadians are f u n c t i o n a l l y i l l i t e r a t e , o n e - t h i r d of whom are secondary s c h o o l graduates (Employment and Immigration Canada, 198 9) while a n a t i o n a l survey on l i t e r a c y ( S t a t i s t i c s Canada, 1990) found t h a t 38% of the respondants c o u l d not demonstrate b a s i c math s k i l l s . Given the l a r g e number of Canadians with reading, w r i t i n g , and math s k i l l d e f i c i t s i t i s reasonable t h a t some s o r t of t e s t i n g p r ocess f o r such d e f i c i t s be i n p l a c e at c o l l e g e s . Even though the m a j o r i t y of a t t r i t i o n s t u d i e s concur t h a t n o n - c o n g n i t i v e p r e d i c t o r s add l i t t l e or n o t h i n g t o p r e d i c t i v e a b i l i t y , other v a r i a b l e s such as age, sex, and m a r i t a l s t a t u s may be of i n t e r e s t i n a t t r i t i o n r e s e a r c h . Lenning (1982) noted t h a t demographic v a r i a b l e s "are u s u a l l y not u s e f u l f o r p r e d i c t i n g a t t r i t i o n , but c e r t a i n subgroups t e n d t o have l a r g e r percentages of dropouts and t h e r e f o r e deserve s p e c i a l a t t e n t i o n . Separate p r e d i c t i o n s w i t h i n such groups may be warranted" p. 36. Demographic C o r r e l a t e s t o Academic Success Age A c c o r d i n g t o Pantages and Creedon (1978) age i s not a primary f a c t o r i n a t t r i t i o n , though o l d e r students t e n d t o have a hi g h e r r a t e . Lenning (1982) notes t h a t o l d e r students have ' r u s t y ' academic s k i l l s but t y p i c a l l y are more a c a d e m i c a l l y motivated and more s o c i a l l y mature. B e l l o (1977) noted t h a t at her sc h o o l of n u r s i n g , students under the age twenty-one had a 43 success r a t e , while those over age twenty-one had a 68 success r a t e . Green (1987) noted t h a t age d i f f e r e n c e s i n n u r s i n g programs "can r e s u l t i n awkward dynamics t h a t d i s r u p t the l e a r n i n g p r o c e s s " p. 267. Th i s l a t t e r i s s u e i s r e l e v a n t t o the Douglas C o l l e g e General N u r s i n g Program as the age range of the students i n t h i s study range from 19 t o 51. Sex O v e r a l l men tend t o have a hi g h e r a t t r i t i o n r a t e than women (Pantages and Creedon, 1978; T i n t o , 1975), however t h i s tendency i s i n s t i t u t i o n - s p e c i f i c (Pantage and Creedon, 1978). Furthermore, women and men leave s c h o o l f o r d i f f e r e n t reasons (Pantages and Creedon, 1978; T i n t o , 1982) , with women t e n d i n g t o leave f o r f a m i l y r e l a t e d reasons (Cope and Hannah, 1975). M a r i t a l Status A c c o r d i n g t o Lenning (1982) marriage s t a t u s tends t o c o r r e l a t e with an i n c r e a s e d a t t r i t i o n r a t e f o r women, but a decreased a t t r i t i o n r a t e f o r men. However, i n n u r s i n g programs which p r i m a r i l y c o n s i s t of females, marriage s t a t u s was found by Yess (1980/ 1981) t o c o r r e l a t e p o s i t i v e l y with academic suc c e s s . The n u r s i n g l i t e r a t u r e i n d i c a t e s t h a t the demographic v a r i a b l e s of age, sex, and m a r i t a l s t a t u s can be c o r r e l a t e s of academic success i n n u r s i n g programs. These v a r i a b l e s t h e r e f o r e warrant examination i n r e s e a r c h endeavours r e l a t e d to academic success and a t t r i t i o n i n n u r s i n g programs. T h e o r e t i c a l Framework Though t h i s study i s d e s c r i p t i v e and a t h e o r e t i c a l i n i t s e x e c u t i o n , Higgs (1984) p r o v i d e s a u s e f u l model t o c o n c e p t u a l i z e t h i s r e s e a r c h e f f o r t which c o u l d be u s e f u l f o r f u t u r e r e s e a r c h c o n s i d e r a t i o n s i n a c o l l e g e program of n u r s i n g s t u d i e s . Higgs (1984) o r g a n i z e d a t t r i t i o n r e s e a r c h v a r i a b l e s under t h r e e broad c a t e g o r i e s : pre-major v a r i a b l e s , n u r s i n g major v a r i a b l e s , and post g r a d u a t i o n v a r i a b l e s . She i n c l u d e d under each category commmon v a r i a b l e s i n a t t r i t i o n r e s e a r c h s t u d i e s . In terms of Higgs's (1984) model t h i s study can be viewed as c o r r e l a t i n g v a r i a b l e s from the pre-major v a r i a b l e s category with v a r i a b l e s from the 28 n u r s i n g major category. T h i s study i s t h e r e f o r e examining one r e l a t i o n s h i p r e l a t e d t o academic achievement i n the Dougals C o l l e g e General N u r s i n g Department e d u c a t i o n a l m i l i e u . Higgs's model (1984) i s of p r a c t i c a l use t o the Douglas C o l l e g e n u r s i n g f a c u l t y g i v e n t h a t they are at a b e g i n n i n g l e v e l of r e s e a r c h preparedness ( R e g i s t e r e d Nurses A s s o c i a t i o n of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1990a) and gi v e n t h a t they have r e c e n t l y a c q u i r e d the c a p a c i t y t o computerize t h e i r student data base. Th e r e f o r e , as the n u r s i n g f a c u l t y develop t h e i r r e s e a r c h e x p e r t i s e , they can at the same time c o l l e c t data i n a s y s t e m a t i c f a s h i o n which can be e v a l u a t e d at a l a t e r date. For example the recent t r e n d i n n u r s i n g p r e d i c t i o n r e s e a r c h i s t o develop p r e d i c t i o n s t u d i e s t h a t i n c o r p o r a t e outcome v a r i a b l e s as measured by scores on l i c e n s u r e exams ( F e l t s , 1986; Yocum and Scherubel, 1985), as w e l l as success i n the workplace (Grant, 1986; Sc h w i r i a n and Gortner, 1979). T h i s l a t t e r i s s u e i s e s p e c i a l l y r e l e v a n t t o B r i t i s h Columbian n u r s i n g programs g i v e n t h a t the R e g i s t e r e d Nurses A s s o c i a t i o n of B r i t i s h Columbia, which governs the e d u c a t i o n a l standards f o r n u r s i n g programs, i s p r e s e n t l y p r o p o s i n g t h a t one of 29 the c r i t e r i a f o r n u r s i n g programs i s t h a t t h e i r graduates achieve p r o f e s s i o n a l p r a c t i c e requirements ( R e g i s t e r e d Nurses A s s o c i a t i o n of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1990b). Using Higgs's model (1984) the n u r s i n g faculty-c o u l d c o l l e c t and c o r r e l a t e d i f f e r e n t v a r i a b l e s w i t h measures of t h e i r graduates performance i n the workplace t o determine which v a r i a b l e s r e q u i r e g r e a t e r examination. For example, t h e i r f a c u l t y handbook (Douglas C o l l e g e H e a l t h Sciences D i v i s i o n , 1990) s t a t e s t h a t they have an e d u c a t i o n a l c o u n s e l l i n g p r o t o c o l i n p l a c e f o r students e x p e r i e n c i n g academic d i f f i c u l t y . Furthermore, t h e i r program e v a l u a t i o n p l a n i n c l u d e s the e v a l u a t i o n s of student s a t i s f a c t i o n . E i g h t q u e s t i o n n a i r e s are a v a i l a b l e to gather data f o r e v a l u a t i o n of v a r i o u s aspects of t h e i r program. Measures on a l l aspects of the n u r s i n g program can be c o l l e c t e d and then examined i n a v a r i e t y of ways to s u i t e the p a r t i c u l a r r e s e a r c h focus at any g i v e n time. Co n c l u s i o n s Overwhelmingly, the g e n e r a l education and n u r s i n g l i t e r a t u r e documnent the dominance of c o g n i t i v e measurements as c o r r e l a t e s of academic achievement. The t r a d i t i o n a l a p p l i c a t i o n of the r e s u l t s of a t t r i t i o n 30 r e s e a r c h has been to set admission standards f o r i n d i v i d u a l i n s t i t u t i o n s , as g e n e r a l l y the h i g h e r the standards f o r admissions the lower the a t t r i t i o n r a t e . More r e c e n t l y , as s t a t e d i n Chapter 1, r e s e a r c h e r s have advocated t h a t a t t r i t i o n r e s e a r c h should a s s i s t i n the examination of other aspects of the e d u c a t i o n a l p r o c e s s t o more r e a l i s t i c a l l y grapple with concerns over a t t r i t i o n . The approach taken by the Douglas C o l l e g e f a c u l t y i s t h a t t h e i r t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a set minimum standards f o r p r o s p e c t i v e students' a b i l i t i e s i n r e a d i n g , w r i t i n g , and math s k i l l s , which the l i t e r a t u r e f r e q u e n t l y c i t e s as c o r r e l a t e d with academic success. T h i s approach i s l o g i c a l g i v e n t h a t these s k i l l s are fundamental t o adequete f u n c t i o n i n g i n our s o c i e t y and g i v e n t h a t a wide p r o p o r t i o n of Canadians l a c k those s k i l l s . T h e r e f o r e t h i s approach i s a balance between meeting the Dougals C o l l e g e ' s p h i l o s o p h i c a l mandate t o make e d u c a t i o n a l o p p o r t u n i t i e s a v a i l a b l e to a l l , and yet e n s u r i n g t h a t t h e i r students have at l e a s t the b a s i c s k i l l s r e q u i r e d to s u c c e s s f u l l y meet the demands of the n u r s i n g program. What the n u r s i n g f a c u l t y r e q u i r e s i s v a l i d a t i o n t h a t t h e i r t h r e s h o l d admission 31 c r i t e r i a are ap p r o p i a t e f o r s c r e e n i n g t h e i r p r o s p e c t i v e s t u d e n t s . Summary Th i s chapter reviewed the ge n e r a l e d u c a t i o n and the n u r s i n g l i t e r a t u r e r e l e v a n t t o t h i s study. Rates of a t t r i t i o n f o r n u r s i n g students i s no worse, and i n many i n s t a n c e s i s b e t t e r , than a t t r i t i o n r a t e s f o r other programs, e s p e c i a l l y at the c o l l e g e l e v e l . M e t h o d o l o g i c a l concerns r e l a t e d t o the l a r g e body of a t t r i t i o n l i t e r a t u r e i n d i c a t e s t h a t i n s t i t u t i o n -s p e c i f i c r e s e a r c h i s v a l u a b l e i n a d d r e s s i n g concerns over a t t r i t i o n . The a t t r i t i o n r e s e a r c h v a l i d a t e s the dominance of c o g n i t i v e measures as c o r r e l a t e s and p r e d i c t o r s of academic success, with measures of readin g , w r i t i n g , and math a b i l i t i e s demonstrating some of the h i g h e s t c o r r e l a t i o n s . Those a b i l i t i e s are fundamental t o b a s i c f u c n c t i o n i n g i n our s o c i e t y and p r o f i c i e n c y i n those s k i l l s i s l a c k i n g i n a l a r g e p r o p o r t i o n o f Canadians. The n u r s i n g l i t e r a t u r e a l s o demonstrates t h a t the demographic v a r i a b l e s of age, sex, and m a r i t a l s t a t u s o f t e n c o r r e l a t e with academic success, though t o a l e s s e r extent than c o g n i t i v e v a r i a b l e s . Higgs (1984) p r o v i d e s a p r a c t i c a l model f o r c o l l e c t i n g and examining data on the m u l t i t u d e of v a r i a b l e s a v a i l a b l e i n the Douglas C o l l e g e General N u r s i n g Program. T h i s study p r o v i d e s data t o be c o n s i d e r e d by the n u r s i n g f a c u l t y i n t h e i r d e l i b e r a t i o n s of the e f f e c t of t h e i r t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a , and students ages, on academic achievement. 33 CHAPTER 111 Method T h i s chapter o u t l i n e s the s u b j e c t s , the measures, and the procedures of t h i s study. Subjects Data f o r t h i s study were p r o v i d e d by the Douglas C o l l e g e n u r s i n g department which i s l o c a t e d i n the lower mainland of B r i t i s h Columbia. These data were generated from t h r e e s u c c e s s i v e c l a s s e s of n u r s i n g students who s t a r t e d the n u r s i n g program i n September 1988, i n March, 1989, and i n September, 1989. Data from the t o t a l p o p u l a t i o n of a l l t h r e e c l a s s e s , which t o t a l l e d 147 i n number, were a v a i l a b l e . The n u r s i n g department r o u t i n e l y requested w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n from i t s students f o r these data t o be used f o r r e s e a r c h purposes and w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n had been granted by a l l students. Due t o i s s u e s r e g a r d i n g m i s s i n g data and o u t l i e r s o n l y data from 113 of the students were an a l y z e d i n t h i s study. Ages, recorded at the b e g i n n i n g of the program, ranged from 19 years t o 51 years. The mean age was 29.027, the medium age was 27.0, the mode was 21.00 years and the standard d e v i a t i o n was 8.10 y e a r s . Measures Nelson-Denny Reading Test-grade e l e v e n ( t o t a l s c o r e ) . T h i s t e s t s measure g e n e r a l r e a d i n g a b i l i t y and has s u b - t e s t s c o r e s i n vocabulary, comprehension, and r e a d i n g r a t e . A c c o r d i n g to the examiner's manual (Nelson and Denny, 1960), the t o t a l score i s most u s e f u l f o r s c r e e n i n g and f o r p r e d i c t i o n of academic success while the s u b - t e s t scores are most u s e f u l f o r d i a g n o s i n g i n d i v i d u a l problems, s t r e n g t h s , and weaknesses. Only the t o t a l score was a v a i l a b l e f o r t h i s study. Nelson and Denny (1960) r e p o r t a s p l i t - h a l f r e l i a b i l i t y c o e f f i c i e n t of (.92) f o r the t o t a l s c o r e . V a l i d i t y f i g u r e s are not g i v e n though other sources s t a t e t h a t the Nelson-Denny c o r r e l a t e s w e l l with performance i n c o l l e g e (Bordens & Abbott, 1988). I t i s f r e q u e n t l y used to assess the r e a d i n g a b i l i t y of f i r s t year c o l l e g e students (Spahr, 1987) and the Nelson-Denny Reading T e s t - t o t a l score was the s t r o n g e s t c o r r e l a t e i n p r e d i c t i n g the l i k e l i h o o d of a student p e r s i s t i n g or dropping out. The present c u t - o f f i s 28 f o r Douglas C o l l e g e g e n e r a l n u r s i n g s t u d e n t s . S t a n f o r d D i a g n o s t i c Mathematics T e s t - B l u e L e v e l . A c c o r d i n g to the t e s t manual (Beatty, Madden, 35 Gardner, and K a r l s e n , 1976), t h i s t e s t measures competence i n the b a s i c mathematical concepts and s k i l l s . The Blue L e v e l i s designed to i d e n t i f y b a s i c mathematical i n s t r u c t i o n a l needs of students from grade e i g h t t o community c o l l e g e . I t generates t h r e e sub-scores i n the areas of concepts of mathematical computation (sub-test 1), s k i l l i n computation (sub-t e s t 2), and the a p p l i c a t i o n of the concepts and s k i l l s t o p r o b l e m - s o l v i n g (sub-test 3). A c c o r d i n g t o the t e s t authors (Beatty, Madden, Gardner, and K a r l s e n , 1976) the Kuder-Richardson Formula #20 r e l i a b i l i t y c o e f f i c i e n t s f o r the s u b - t e s t s and the t o t a l score range from (.87) to (.97), and the a l t e r n a t e - f o r m r e l i a b i l i t y c o e f f i c i e n t s range from (.81) t o (.92). The review by Rogers i n the N i n t h Mental Measurements Yearbook (1985) f i n d s these v a l u e s " a c c e p t a b l y h i g h " (p. 1458). Furthermore the r e p o r t e d c r i t e r i o n - r e l a t e d v a l i d i t y , which exceeds (.66) between the s u b - t e s t s and the Mathematics Te s t s of the S t a n f o r d Achievement Test, " c o n s t i t u t e evidence of reasonable v a l i d i t y f o r the s u b - t e s t s " (p. 1458). The present c u t - o f f f o r Douglas C o l l e g e g e n e r a l n u r s i n g students i s : 27 f o r s u b - t e s t 1; 40 f o r s u b - t e s t 2; and 22 f o r s u b - t e s t 3. Age The age of the students at the commencement of the f i r s t semester i n the g e n e r a l n u r s i n g program. Academic Success Scores The i n d i v i d u a l student scores on the f i r s t and second semester n u r s i n g courses. These n u r s i n g courses are: GNUR 100/THEORY 1/ GNUR 102/PHARM 1; GNUR 103/PNI 1; GNUR 200/THEORY 2/ GNUR 2 02/PHARM 2; and GNUR 203/PNI 3. The academic success scores were determined by a v a r i e t y of e v a l u a t i o n methods, each of which made a c o n t r i b u t i o n t o the f i n a l s c o r e . There are no r e p o r t e d r e l i a b i l i t y and v a l i d i t y c o e f f i c i e n t s f o r these t e s t s and t h e r e f o r e c o r r e l a t i o n c o e f f i c i e n t s generated by t h i s study must be regarded as t e n t a t i v e i n d i c a t o r s of the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between the p r e d i c t o r v a r i a b l e s and the c r i t e r i o n v a r i a b l e s . Issues r e g a r d i n g the r e l i a b i l i t y of the c r i t e r i o n measurements make the r e s u l t s of t h i s study more q u e s t i o n a b l e than i s s u e s r e g a r d i n g the v a l i d i t y of the c r i t e r i o n measurements. However, i s s u e s r e g a r d i n g r e l i a b i l i t y d i r e c t l y impact on concerns over v a l i d i t y . A c c o r d i n g t o Thorndike and Hagen (1961) a v a l i d i t y c o e f f i c i e n t can be no g r e a t e r 37 than the square ro o t of a r e l i a b i l i t y c o e f f i c i e n t . In a study r e g a r d i n g e d u c a t i o n a l measurement i s s u e s r e g a r d i n g v a l i d i t y are based on a d i f f e r e n t p h i l o s o p h y than g e n e r a l s c i e n t i f i c r e s e a r c h (Ebel 1980; E b e l 1979; Thorndike and Hagen, 1961). However, r e l i a b i l i t y i s s t i l l c r i t i c a l t o the v a l i d i t y of measurement i n e d u c a t i o n a l r e s e a r c h though i t can not be r e p r e s e n t e d i n a mathematical equation (Ebel, 1979). As p r e v i o u s l y s t a t e d the f i n a l score i n any one course i s a composite of v a r i o u s measurements. No one e v a l u a t i o n may c o n t r i b u t e more than 30% t o the f i n a l mark (Douglas C o l l e g e H e a l t h S e r v i c e s Department, 1990). Some e v a l u a t i o n s are based on m u l t i p l e c h o i c e exams generated from a data bank of q u e s t i o n s . These exams are marked u s i n g an automated system t h a t allows an examiner t o determine p r o p o r t i o n s of c o r r e c t and i n c o r r e c t responses, and t o make adjustments t o subsequent exams, e i t h e r by d e l e t i n g c e r t a i n q u e s t i o n s or by a d j u s t i n g the weight of c e r t a i n q u e s t i o n s t o the f i n a l s c o r e . T h i s process resembles the process of g e n e r a t i n g Kuder-Richardson r e l i a b i l i t y c o e f f i c i e n t s though t h i s i n v e s t i g a t o r i s unaware i f t h i s i s i n f a c t the p r o c e s s b e i n g u t i l i z e d nor, i f i t i s , how c l o s e l y 38 t h i s p r o c e s s i s adhered to by the n u r s i n g f a c u l t y . R e l i a b i l i t y t e s t i n g on the other forms of e v a l u a t i v e t e s t s i s not performed. A c c o r d i n g t o E b e l (1979), classroom t e s t s g e n e r a l l y have a r e l i a b i l i t y c o e f f i c i e n t of (0.50) or l e s s . Confidence i n the r e l i a b i l i t y of the academic success scores i s i n c r e a s e d i n t h a t these s u b j e c t i v e t e s t s have marking g u i d e l i n e s which the examiners adhere t o . However, any r e s u l t s of t h i s study must be m o d i f i e d by the assumption t h a t the r e l i a b i l i t y of the course score measurements i s at b e s t moderate. A c c o r d i n g t o Thorndike and Hagen (1961) and E b e l (1980; 1979) v a l i d i t y i n e d u c a t i o n a l measurement i s p r e d i c a t e d on a d i f f e r e n t p h i l o s o p h y than t h a t i n g e n e r a l r e s e a r c h . E b e l (1980) c i t e s Thurstone (1939) as r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of t e s t s p e c i a l i s t s who view v a l i d i t y as the c o r r e l a t i o n between a t e s t and i t s c r i t e r i o n . However, i n e d u c a t i o n a l t e s t i n g v a l i d i t y can be viewed as a focus on the q u a l i t y of the o p e r a t i o n a l d e f i n i t i o n s , as embodied i n the t e s t i t s e l f (Ebel, 1979). E b e l goes on to say t h a t most of what i s taught i n s c h o o l i s e i t h e r knowledge, s k i l l s , or a t t i t u d e s , which l e n d themselves t o be o p e r a t i o n a l l y d e f i n e d . 39 Th e r e f o r e , a t e s t i s v a l i d t o the extent t h a t i t i s composed of q u e s t i o n s t h a t are r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of a c l e a r l y d e f i n e d domain of t a s k s , as w e l l as the f a c t t h a t i t produces r e l i a b l e scores (Ebel, 1980). Evidence f o r the v a l i d i t y of the course s c o r e s i s found i n the classroom t e a c h i n g g u i d e l i n e s (Douglas C o l l e g e H e a l t h Sciences Department, 1990). Nu r s i n g theory courses have l e a r n i n g modules t h a t have been s t a n d a r d i z e d f o r c o n s i s t e n c y with the o v e r a l l c u r r i c u l u m o b j e c t i v e s and the conceptual framework of the program. A p r o t o c o l i s i n p l a c e f o r e v a l u a t i o n of the c u r r i c u l u m which i n p a r t examines the v a l i d i t y of exam items i n terms of r e f l e c t i n g course o b j e c t i v e s . T h i s p r o t o c o l i s e x t e n s i v e l y documented i n the f a c u l t y handbook and i s an ongoing p r o c e s s . T h e r e f o r e , t h i s i n v e s t i g a t o r ' s c o n f i d e n c e i n the v a l i d i t y of the course scores i s g r e a t l y i n c r e a s e d i n s o f a r as the t e s t s measure what they p u r p o r t t o measure. However, though the p r o t o c o l i n d i c a t e s t h a t the e v a l u a t i o n systems f o r the n u r s i n g c u r r i c u l u m should address the r e l i a b i l i t y of the t e s t items, j u s t how t h i s i s done i s u n c l e a r t o t h i s i n v e s t i g a t o r except as r e g a r d i n g the m u l t i p l e -c h o i c e q u e s t i o n data bank. Therefore, the u n c e r t a i n t y 4 0 as t o the r e l i a b i l i t y of the n o n - m u l t i p l e - c h o i c e t e s t i n g procedures opens t o q u e s t i o n the v a l i d i t y of those same t e s t i n g procedures. I t i s of i n t e r e s t t o t h i s i n v e s t i g a t o r t h a t though concerns over v a r i a b l e d e f i n i t i o n are expressed by a number of r e s e a r c h e r s i n the f i e l d of a t t r i t i o n , very few address the i s s u e s r e l a t e d t o the r e l i a b i l i t y and v a l i d i t y of academic s c o r e s . Most r e s e a r c h e r s simply note t h a t course s c o r e s are used while others i n c l u d e a b r i e f d e s c r i p t i o n of the course i t s e l f . Procedures A c c o r d i n g t o Bordens and Abbott ( 1 9 8 8 ) c o r r e l a t i o n a l r e s e a r c h "makes sense d u r i n g the i n i t i a l , e x p l o r a t o r y stage of a r e s e a r c h p r o j e c t " and t h a t "the c a p a b i l i t y of the c o r r e l a t i o n a l approach t o i d e n t i f y v a r i a b l e s t h a t may be c a u s a l l y r e l a t e d can p r o v i d e a r i c h source of hy p o t h e s i s t h a t may l a t e r be e x p e r i m e n t a l l y t e s t e d " (p. 6 0 ) . Furthermore, c o r r e l a t i o n a l r e s e a r c h allows one t o see how v a r i a b l e s r e l a t e " i n the " r e a l " world" (p. 6 1 ) . Though a c o r r e l a t i o n between v a r i a b l e s cannot imply c a u s a l i t y , the l a c k of a c o r r e l a t i o n can r u l e out c a u s a l i t y (Bordens and Abbott, 1 9 8 8 ) . C o r r e l a t i o n r e s e a r c h t y p i c a l l y uses a s t a t i s t i c a l procedure such as the computation of a Pearson r c o e f f i c i e n t t o determine the s t r e n g t h of r e l a t i o n s h i p between two v a r i a b l e s (Hopkins and G l a s s , 1978). Depending on the r e s e a r c h focus, c o r r e l a t i o n a l a n a l y s i s can simply examine the s t r e n g t h of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between two v a r i a b l e s , or a l t e r n a t e l y one v a r i a b l e can be l a b e l l e d an i n d e p e n d e n t / p r e d i c t o r v a r i a b l e , and the o ther a d e p e n d e n t / c r i t e r i o n v a r i a b l e . For convenience, the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a , as w e l l as the age v a r i a b l e , w i l l be c a l l e d the independant v a r i a b l e s , while the n u r s i n g academic success scores w i l l be c a l l e d the dependent v a r i a b l e s . C o r r e l a t i o n a l a n a l y s i s produces a c o e f f i c i e n t , r, which i s a measure of the l i n e a r r e l a t i o n s h i p between two v a r i a b l e s . The l a r g e r the magnitude of r, the g r e a t e r the degree, or s t r e n g t h , of the l i n e a r r e l a t i o n s h i p . One use of the c o r r e l a t i o n c o e f f i c i e n t i s the r can be determined. The value of r i s t h a t , when m u l t i p l i e d by 100, i t i n d i c a t e s the percentage of v a r i a n c e , or o v e r l a p p i n g v a r i a n c e , h e l d i n common by the two v a r i a b l e s (Thorndike and Hagen, 1961) . A c c o r d i n g t o Tabachnick and F i d e l l (1983) " r e s e a r c h e r s 42 are coming t o understand t h a t percent of v a r i a n c e i s one of the best i n d i c e s of the importance of r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n a v a r i e t y of c o n t e x t s " (p. 148). There f o r e , i n t h i s study the value of r 2 " can determine how much the t h r e s h o l d admission c t i t e r i a , and the age v a r i a b l e , account f o r the academic success s c o r e s . Conversely, r valu e s can a l s o determine how much of the academic success scores are accounted f o r by f a c t o r s other than the independent v a r i a b l e s . Furthermore, one can determine the degree t o which the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a have p r e d i c t i v e v a l i d i t y g r e a t e r than mere chance. Therefore, one c o u l d surmise t h e i r u s e f u l n e s s i n c o n t r i b u t i n g t o n u r s i n g students academic achievement. C o r r e l a t i o n s can a l s o be performed between s e t s of v a r i a b l e s , and as s t a t e d i n Chapter 1, c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n i s the s t a t i s t i c a l a n a l y s i s of c h o i c e between two s e t s of v a r i a b l e s . Tabachnick and F i d e l l (1983) s t a t e t h a t c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n i s best used as a d e s c r i p t i v e or s c r e e n i n g procedure. One advantage of c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n i s t h a t i t determines the maximum c o r r e l a t i o n between a l l the v a r i a b l e s , w h ile i n m u l t i p l e r e g r e s s i o n some v a r i a b l e s can suppress the 43 i n f l u e n c e of other s i g n i f i c a n t v a r i a b l e s . (Bordens and Abbott, 1988). Therefore, with c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n , the i n f l u e n c e of a l l the v a r i a b l e s i n r e l a t i o n t o each other i s determined. As a s c r e e n i n g procedure i n a r e s e a r c h s e t t i n g with a m u l t i t u d e of v a r i a b l e s , c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n determines which v a r i a b l e s make the s t r o n g e s t c o n t r i b u t i o n i n the a n a l y s i s and those v a r i a b l e s can be s c r u t i n i z e d i n f u t u r e r e s e a r c h . Though Tabachnick and F i d e l l (1983) deem c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n l i m i t e d i n i t s a p p l i c a b i l i t y t o r e s e a r c h , o ther authors deem i t to be the s t a t i s t i c a l a n a l y s i s of c h o i c e i n c e r t a i n s i t u a t i o n s (Levine, 1977; M a r a s c u l i o and L e v i n , 1983; and Pedhazur, 1982) . As s t a t e d i n Chapter 1, Thompson (1984) deems c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n as a p p r o p i a t e t o examine se t s of v a r i a b l e s which i n t e r r e l a t e such as i s found i n an e d u c a t i o n a l environment. Levine (1977) notes t h a t c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n and f a c t o r a n a l y s i s are r e l a t e d c o n c e p t u a l l y . The i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of c a n o n i c a l a n a l y s i s f o l l o w s the g u i d e l i n e s f o r i n t e r p r e t i n g f a c t o r a n a l y s i s (Levine, 1977; M a r a s c u l i o and L e v i n , 1983; Pedhazur, 1982; Tabachnick and F i d e l l , 1983; and Thompson 1984) . In f a c t , a c c o r d i n g t o a U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia r e s e a r c h c o n s u l t a n t (Walter B o l d t , p e r s o n a l communication, October, 1990) c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n i s i n e f f e c t a double p r i n c i p l e component a n a l y s i s . P r i n c i p l e component a n a l y s i s i s one of two forms of f a c t o r a n a l y s i s (Bordens and Abbott, 1988). F a c t o r a n a l y s i s allows one t o determine the u n d e r l y i n g s t r u c t u r e s or dimensions of c e r t a i n data (Bordens and Abbott, 1998). For example, g e n e r a l i n t e l l i g e n c e i s subsumed by v a r i o u s mental a b i l i t i e s , or f a c t o r s (Thorndike and Hagen, 1961), each of which e x p l a i n s , or accounts f o r , g e n e r a l i n t e l l i g e n c e i n terms of i t s percent of v a r i a n c e . Each f a c t o r i s determined by c e r t a i n v a r i a b l e s . The c o n t r i b u t i o n , or weighting, of i n d i v i d u a l v a r i a b l e s t o a f a c t o r i s determined by computing f a c t o r l o a d i n g s which i s a c o r r e l a t i o n between the v a r i a b l e and the f a c t o r . C a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n produces p a i r s of v a r i a t e s from the two s e t s of v a r i a b l e s , each p a i r r e p r e s e n t i n g one u n d e r l y i n g l i n k a g e , s t r u c t u r e , or dimension, between the two s e t s (Levine, 1977; M a r a s c u l i o and L e v i n , 1983; and Pedhazur, 1982). Only those p a i r s of v a r i a t e s which are s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t are i n t e r p r e t e d . The c o n t r i b u t i o n of i n d i v i d u a l v a r i a b l e s t o i t s v a r i a t e i s determined by c o r r e l a t i n g the i n d i v i d u a l v a r i a b l e t o the v a r i a t e . The r e s u l t a n t f i g u r e i s a k i n t o f a c t o r l o a d i n g i n f a c t o r a n a l y s i s and i s i n t e r p r e t e d the same way. Loadings under .30 are not i n t e r p r e t e d as these v a l u e s , when squared t o determine t h e i r p ercent of v a r i a n c e , c o n t r i b u t e 10% or l e s s t o e x p l a i n i n g the f a c t o r , which i s c o n v e n t i o n a l l y viewed as i n s i g n i f i c a n t (Marasculio and L e v i n , 1983; Pedhazur, 1982; Tabachnick and F i d e l l , 1983). Percent of v a r i a n c e can a l s o be c a l c u l a t e d f o r each dimension l i n k i n g the two s e t s o f data. T h e r e f o r e , 2. as with v a l u e s of r , one can determine how much one transformed set of v a r i a b l e s has o v e r l a p p i n g or shared v a r i a n c e . T herefore, w i t h i n the context of t h i s study, one can say t h a t the independent v a r i a b l e s i n f l u e n c e academic achievement i n terms of the percentage of o v e r l a p p i n g v a r i a n c e . One f i n a l i s s u e r e l e v a n t t o c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n has t o do with i n t e r p r e t i n g the r e s u l t s (Tabachnick and F i d e l l , 1983). I t ' s p o s s i b l e t h a t the transformed v a r i a b l e s may not r e a d i l y l e n d themselves t o i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i n the context of the untransformed v a r i a b l e s , t h e r e f o r e one computation worth doing i s t o t e s t f o r redundancy (Marasculio and L e v i n , 1983; Pedhazur, 1982; Tabachnick and F i d e l l , 1983). Redundancy t e l l s one p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y how much one v a r i a t e i n a p a i r i s connected t o the untransformed v a r i a b l e s of the other v a r i a t e i n the p a i r . A c o n v e n t i o n a l g u i d e l i n e i s t h a t a redundancy f i g u r e between .40 and .60 i n d i c a t e s a good connection, while f i g u r e s h i g h e r than .60 begins t o i n d i c a t e m u l t i c o l l i n e a r i t y as i t approaches 1.00, and t h a t f i g u r e s below .40 as they approach .00, i n d i c a t e a l e s s e r c o n n e c t i o n between the transformed v a r i a b l e s i n one v a r i a t e t o the untransformed v a r i a b l e s from the other v a r i a t e (Walter B o l d t , p e r s o n a l communication, August, 1990). T h i s study c a l c u l a t e d Pearson r c o e f f i c e n t s between the independent v a r a b l e s and the dependent v a r i a b l e s t o determine the s t r e n g t h of t h e i r 2 r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Once the r value was determined, r v a l u e s and an i n d i c e of p r e d i c t i v e v a l i d i t y were determined t o b e t t e r understand the c o n t r i b u t i o n of the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a and the age v a r i a b l e t o academic success. T h i s study a l s o c a l c u l a t e d c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n s between the set of independent v a r i a b l e s and the set of dependent v a r i a b l e s t o b e t t e r understand the s t r e n g t h and the nature of how those v a r i a b l e s i n t e r r e l a t e . A computer program was designed by the Douglas C o l l e g e computer programming c o n s u l t a n t t o e x t r a c t data on the v a r i a b l e s but without any student i d e n t i f i c a t i o n i n f o r m a t i o n . These data were t r a n s f e r r e d t o the U n i v e r s i t y of B.C. MTS system f o r a n a l y s i s . These data were o r g a n i z e d a c c o r d i n g t o the format i n FIGURE 1. 4 8 F IGURE 1 C A S E S V A R I A B L E S Y l , Y 2 , Y 3 , X I , X 2 , X 3 , SCHEMATIC DRAWING OF F I L E FOR CANONICAL A N A L Y S I S 49 Pearson r c o r r e l a t i o n s between the independent v a r i a b l e s and the dependent v a r i a b l e s were performed u s i n g the C o r r e l a t i o n program from the SPSS s t a t i s t i c a l package (SPSS INC.,1988). C a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n was performed u s i n g the BMDP6M s t a t i s t i c a l package (Dixon, Brown, Engleman, H i l l , and J e n n r i c h , 1988). P r i o r t o e i t h e r s t a t i s t i c a l procedure c e r t a i n i s s u e s had to be d e a l t with r e g a r d i n g the data. These i s s u e s were m i s s i n g data and o u t l i e r s . M i s s i n g Data P r i o r t o a n a l y s i s , the i s s u e of m i s s i n g data from both the independent and the dependent v a r i a b l e s e t s had t o be addressed (see TABLE 1). One method t o address t h i s i s s u e of m i s s i n g data i s t o s u b s t i t u t e the mean value of the group f o r the m i s s i n g data (Marscuilo and L e v i n , 1983 ; Tabachnick and F i d e l l , 1983). Zar (1984) suggests a g u i d e l i n e t h a t such s u b s t i t u t i o n s do not exceed (10%) of the data. For the f i r s t semester dependent v a r i a b l e s the s u b s t i t u t i o n of mean valu e s i s of minimal concern g i v e n the few m i s s i n g data. However, f o r the second semester dependent v a r i a b l e s , group two has (14%) m i s s i n g data while group t h r e e has (10%) m i s s i n g data. 50 TABLE 1 M i s s i n g Data Students Sept/88 March/89 Sept/89 n 49 50 47 Threshold C r i t e r i a Nelson-Denny 4 10 16 St a n d f o r d 0 2 3 Asademic Scores F i r s t semester 1 1 1 Second semester 4 7 5 51 For the independent v a r i a b l e s , group one has minimal l o s s of data i n the r e a d i n g t e s t s cores (8%) whereas group two was m i s s i n g (20%) and group t h r e e was m i s s i n g (34%). Math t e s t scores were complete i n group one and was minimal f o r group two (4%) and group t h r e e (6%). Furthermore, a l l the s u b j e c t s with m i s s i n g math t e s t s c o r e s were a l s o the p a r t of the group of s u b j e c t s e v e n t u a l l y d e l e t e d due to m i s s i n g r e a d i n g t e s t s c o r e s . M i s s i n g data from the dependent v a r i a b l e s was due t o f a i l u r e or withdrawal of the students, whereas m i s s i n g data f o r the independent v a r i a b l e s was due t o the students b e i n g exempted from any of the t h r e s h o l d admission t e s t s under i n v e s t i g a t i o n i n t h i s study. A d e c i s i o n was made to s u b s t i t u t e mean group v a l u e s f o r a l l m i s s i n g c r i t e r i o n v a r i a b l e s even though group two was over the recommended g u i d e l i n e of 10% (Zar, 1984) i n the second semester set of c r i t e r i o n v a r i a b l e s . T h i s d e c i s i o n was based on the premise t h a t Zar's (1984) g u i d e l i n e was not v i o l a t e d e x c e s s i v e l y and t h a t i t was p r e f e r a b l e t o make use of as many cases as p o s s i b l e . With the process of d e l e t i n g data due t o o u t l i e r s one of the group two s u b j e c t s with s u b s t i t u t e d group means i n the c r i t e r i o n s et was d e l e t e d . 52 The amount of m i s s i n g r e a d i n g t e s t s c o r e s i n group two and group t h r e e was c o n s i d e r e d too l a r g e f o r s u b s t i t u t i o n of group mean valu e s and t h e r e f o r e these cases were d e l e t e d . S u b s t i t u t i o n s of group mean v a l u e s f o r these scores were made i n group one. At the end of t h i s p r o c e s s the number of cases l e f t was 120. O u t l i e r s The next i s s u e addressed was t h a t of o u t l i e r s . The SPSS Frequ e n c i e s (SPSS INC., 1988) s t a t i s t i c a l program was used t o generate frequency t a b l e s f o r each v a r i a b l e . A l l valu e s g r e a t e r than +/-3.00 were excluded (Tabachnick and F i d e l l , 1983). T h i s process brought the number of cases t o be analyzed t o 113. Summary T h i s chapter d e s c r i b e d the r a t i o n a l e f o r the a p p l i c a t i o n of b i v a r i a t e and c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n a n a l y s es i n t h i s study. T h i s chapter a l s o d e s c r i b e d the s e l e c t i o n of s u b j e c t s from whom data was obtained, the measurement p r o p e r t i e s of the v a r i a b l e s under examination, with a s p e c i a l emphasis on the r e l i a b i l t i y and v a l i d i t y of the academic success scores, and how t h i s study d e a l t with the i s s u e s of m i s s i n g data and o u t l i e r s . CHAPTER IV Results and Analysis This chapter presents the r e s u l t s of the b i v a r i a t e correlations between the independent and the dependent variables, i n terms of Pearson r c o e f f i c i e n t s . Values for r are provided, as are indices of p r e d i c t i v e v a l i d i t y (Issac and Michael, 1971) . Following t h i s , the r e s u l t s of the canonical c o r r e l a t i o n a l analysis on the same variables are presented. See TABLE 2 for the results of the correlations between the independent variables and the dependent variables. The strongest correlations were between the Stanford Diagnostic Mathematics Test sub-scores: sub-test 3 (.5297); sub-test 1 (.5143); and sub-test 2 (.4848), and PHARM 1. The next highest correlations for the Stanford Diagnostic Mathematics Test sub-scores: sub-test 3 (.4332); sub-test 2 (.3066); and sub-test 1 (.2807) were with Theory 2. The Nelson-Denny Reading Test correlated highest (.4103) with THEORY 1. Its next highest c o r r e l a t i o n i s with THEORY 2 (.3260). The reading scores were correlated more strongly with the 54 TABLE 2 B i v a r i a t e Pearson r Correlation Nelson S t a n d f o r d Age Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 THEORY 1 .4103 .2405 PHARM. 1 .2637 .5143 PNI 1 .2900 .1876 * * * * * THEORY 2 .3260 .2807 PHARM. 2 .2950 .1923 * * * * * PNI 2 .2550 .2082 * * * * .1552 .3127 .1865 *** * * *** .4848 .5297 -.1541 .1985 .2824 -.1566 *** * * *** .3066 .4332 .1158 .2332 .3178 .1748 * * * * * * * .2275 .2627 -.0710 * * * * * * p_<.05 ** p_<.01 *** p_<.001 I f no (*) , than p_>.05 55 non-pharmacy courses scores than were the math sub-scor e s , except f o r the su b - t e s t 3 math score and THEORY 2 (.4332), and the su b - t e s t 3 math score and PNI 2 (.2627). PNI 1 and PNI 2 g e n e r a l l y demonstrated the lowest c o r r e l a t i o n s with the r e a d i n g and the math t e s t s s c o r e s . A l l c o r r e l a t i o n s were s i g n i f i c a n t at the E><.05 l e v e l or b e t t e r with the e x c e p t i o n of t h r e e of the c o r r e l a t i o n s between age and academic success s c o r e s . The remaining c o r r e l a t i o n s t h a t were s i g n i f i c a n t f o r the age v a r i a b l e were the weakest c o r r e l a t i o n s of a l l the p r e d i c t o r s : THEORY 1 (.1865); PHARM 2 (.1748); and PNI 1 (-.1566) . Of the 27 s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t c o r r e l a t i o n s only s i x c o r r e l a t i o n s demonstrated o v e r l a p p i n g v a r i a n c e g r e a t e r than 10% (see TABLE 3) . The h i g h e s t shared v a r i a n c e s were with PHARM 1 and S t a n f o r d Math s u b - t e s t 3 (28%), S t a n f o r d Math s u b - t e s t 1 (26%), and S t a n f o r d Math su b - t e s t 2 (23%). Next h i g h e s t was between Theory 2 and the S t a n f o r d Math s u b - t e s t 3 (19%), f o l l o w e d by the Nelson-Denny Reading Test and Theory 1 (17%) and Theory 2 (11%) . 56 TABLE 3 Percentages of Ove r l a p p i n g V a r i a n c e Between Independent  and Dependent V a r i a b l e s NELSON-DEN. MATH SUB-TEST 1 2 3 THEORY 1 17 6 2 10 PHARM 1 7 26 23 28 PNI 1 8 4 4 8 THEORY 2 11 9 9 19 PHARM 2 9 4 5 10 PNI 2 7 4 5 7 57 TABLE 4 g i v e s one m e a s u r e o f p r e d i c t i v e v a l i d i d t y o f t h e i n d e p e n d e n t v a r i a b l e s . B a s e d on t h e wo r k o f I s s a c a n d M i c h a e l ( 1 9 7 1 ) , TABLE 4 i n d i c a t e s t h e p e r c e n t a g e o f a p p l i c a n t s who w e r e c o r r e c t l y a l l o w e d , o r n o t a l l o w e d , i n t o t h e n u r s i n g p r o g r a m i n e x c e s s o f c h a n c e . C h a n c e a l o n e w o u l d h a v e c o r r e c t l y p l a c e d 50% o f t h e a p p l i c a n t s , t h e r e f o r e t h e i m p o r t a n c e o f a t e s t o r s t a n d a r d i n t e r m s o f s c r e e n i n g f o r a d m i s s i o n p u r p o s e s i s t h a t i t i s more a c c u r a t e t h a n mere c h a n c e . F o l l o w i n g t h e s e a n a l y s e s a c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n was p e r f o r m e d b e t w e e n t h e i n d e p e n d e n t a n d t h e d e p e n d e n t v a r i a b l e s , w i t h t h e BMDP6M s t a t i s t i c a l p a c k a g e ( D i x o n , B r o w n , E n g l e m a n , H i l l , a n d J e n n r i c h , 1 9 8 8 ) . The maximum v a l u e f o r s k e w n e s s i s + / - 1 .07 f o r t h e PHARM 2 g r o u p o f v a r i a b l e s w h i c h i s l e s s t h a n t h e c o n v e n t i o n a l l y a c c e p t e d c u t - o f f v a l u e o f + / - 1 . 5 (N. K i s h a r , p e r s o n a l c o m m u n i c a t i o n , A u g u s t 24 , 1 9 9 0 ) . The BMDP6M o u t p u t f o r t h e t e s t s f o r m u l t i c o l l i n e a r i t y c o m p u t e d no v a l u e a p p r o a c h i n g ( . 9 9 ) , t h e r e f o r e m u l t i c o l l i n e a r i t y i s n o t p r e s e n t ( T a b a c h n i c k a n d F i d e l l , 1 9 8 3 ) . 58 TABLE 4 Percentage of A p p l i c a n t s C o r r e c t l y P l a c e d i n Excess of Chance Nelson Standford Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Age Theory 1 13 8 5 10 PHARM 1 8 17 17 19 PNI 1 10 6 6 10 Theory 2 11 10 10 15 PHARM 2 10 6 8 10 PNI 2 8 The f i r s t c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n was (.67) (45% of v a r i a n c e ) , the second was (.47) (22% of v a r i a n c e ) . With a l l f o u r c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n s i n c l u d e d , ^C^OO) =105 . 53, p_<.0000. With the f i r s t c a n o n i c a l v a r i a t e p a i r removedJG.2" (20) =41.63, p_<.0031. Subsequent values were not s i g n i f i c a n t . T h e r e f o r e t h e r e are two s i g n i f i c a n t dimensions between the two s e t s of v a r i a b l e s . Before c o n t i n u i n g with the analyses a s c a t t e r p l o t was generated between the two s i g n i f i c a n t p a i r s of c a n o n i c a l v a r i a t e s to demonstrate l i n e a r i t y . L i n e a r i t y was demonstrated between the f i r s t p a i r of c a n o n i c a l v a r i a t e s and was a l s o demonstrated between the second p a i r of c a n o n i c a l v a r i a t e s . TABLE 5 shows the analyses of the c a n o n i c a l v a r i a t e s . Shown are the c o r r e l a t i o n s between the v a r i a b l e s and the c a n o n i c a l v a r i a t e s , p r o p o r t i o n of o v e r l a p p i n g v a r i a n c e , redundancies, and the c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n . With a c u t - o f f c o r r e l a t i o n of (.3) f o r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n (Pedhazur, 1973; Tabachnick and F i d e l l , 1983) , the v a r i a b l e s t h a t are r e l e v a n t to the f i r s t c a n o n i c a l v a r i a t e i n the independent set are, i n order of magnitude, the S t a n f o r d D i a g n o s t i c Mathematics 60 TABLE 5 C o r r e l a t i o n s B e t w e e n V a r i a b l e s a n d C a n o n i c a l V a r i a t e s ,  P r o p o r t i o n o f V a r i a n c e , R e d u n d a n c i e s , a n d t h e C a n o n i c a l  C o r r e l a t i o n 1 s t V a r i a t e 2 n d V a r i a t e N e l . - D e n . . 382 . 686 T e s t 1 . 7 6 5 - . 118 T e s t 2 . 753 - . 2 7 0 T e s t 3 . 828 . 123 Age - . 1 8 2 . 757 V a r i a n c e . 40 . 23 T o t a l = . 6 3 R e d u n d a n c y . 18 . 05 T o t a l = . 2 3 T h e o r y 1 . 5 1 5 . 781 PHARM 1 . 971 - . 0 2 7 PN I 1 . 477 . 089 T h e o r y 2 . 688 . 4 99 PHARM 2 .514 . 564 PN I 2 . 480 . 156 V a r i a n c e . 40 .20 T o t a l = . 6 0 R e d u n d a n c y . 18 . 04 T o t a l = . 2 2 C a n o n i c a l C o r . . 67 . 46 Test s c o r e s : s u b - t e s t 3 (.828)/ s u b - t e s t 1 (.765)/ and su b - t e s t 2 (.753), f o l l o w e d by the Nelson-Denny Reading Test score (.382). The dependent v a r i a b l e s , i n order of magnitude, are: PHARM 1 (-.971)/ THEORY 2 (.688) / THEORY 1/ PHARM 2 (.514)/ PNI 2 (.480)/ and PNI 1 (.477). Taken as a p a i r , the f i r s t c a n o n i c a l v a r i a t e s i n d i c a t e t h a t achievement i n a combination of the S t a n f o r d D i a g n o s t i c Mathematics Test sub-scores, p l u s the Nelson-Denny Test, as transformed by c a n o n i c a l a n a l y s i s , corresponds to g r e a t e r achievement i n a l l the n u r s i n g courses, as transformed by c a n o n i c a l a n a l y s i s . In the second p a i r of v a r i a t e s the independent v a r i a b l e s , i n order of magnitude are: age (.757)/ and the Nelson-Denny Reading Test (.382). The dependent v a r i a b l e s i n order of magnitude are: THEORY 1 (.781)/ PHARM 2 (.564)/ and THEORY 2 (.499). Taken as a p a i r , the second c a n o n i c a l v a r i a t e s i n d i c a t e t h a t a combination of being o l d e r and having a hi g h e r score on the Nelson-Denny Reading Test, as transformed by c a n o n i c a l a n a l y s i s , correspond t o b e t t e r academic performance i n a combination of THEORY 1, PHARM 2, and THEORY 2, as transformed by c a n o n i c a l a n a l y s i s . 62 Summary The f i n d i n g s of t h i s study i n d i c a t e t h a t the St a n f o r d Mathematics s u b - t e s t s showed the s t r o n g e s t c o r r e l a t i o n with the academic success s c o r e s , as they produced the f o u r h i g h e s t c o r r e l a t i o n s of the independent v a r i a b l e s . The S t a n f o r d Math s u b - t e s t 3 c o n s i s t e n t l y demonstated a hi g h e r c o r r e l a t i o n than the other two sub-t e s t s with a l l the dependent v a r i a b l e s . With the ex c e p t i o n of Theory 1 and PNI 1, the S t a n f o r d Mathematics su b - t e s t 3 demonstrated a s t r o n g e r c o r r e l a t i o n w i t h the dependent v a r i a b l e s than d i d the Nelson-Denny Reading Te s t . However, the d i f f e r e n c e s between the c o r r e l a t i o n s of the Nelson-Denny Reading Test and the S t a n f o r d Math s u b - t e s t 3, t o PNI 1, PNI 2, and PHARM 2, was q u i t e s m a l l . Age as a c o r r e l a t e of the dependent v a r i a b l e s demonstrated the weakest a s s o c i a t i o n of a l l , with on l y t h r e e c o r r e l a t i o n s r e a c h i n g s t a t i s t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e . Age a l s o demonstrated the only n e g a t i v e c o r r e l a t i o n , between i t and PHARM 1. The c o r r e s p o n d i n g c a l c u l a t i o n of p r e d i c t i v e v a l i d i t y demonstrated p r o p o r t i o n a t e r e l a t i o n s h i p s between the independent v a r i a b l e s and the dependent v a r i a b l e s . For example, the S t a n f o r d Mathematics s u b - t e s t was 17% b e t t e r than chance at a c c u r a t e l y s c r e e n i n g i n d i v i d u a l s e i t h e r i n t o , or out of, PHARM 1 which t r a n s l a t e s i n t o s i x t y -seven out of one hundred c o r r e c t placements, when chance would have c o r r e c t l y p l a c e d f i f t y out of one hundred i n d i v i d u a l s (Issac and M ichael, 1971) . S i x of the twenty-seven c o r r e l a t i o n s were more than 10% b e t t e r than chance at a c c u r a t e l y s e l e c t i n g students i n regards to the i n d i v i d u a l academcic course s c o r e s . The c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n determined t h a t t h e i r were two s i g n i f i c a n t l i n k a g e s between the transformed s e t s of v a r i a b l e s . The f i r s t p a i r of v a r i a t e s demonstrate the dominance of the S t a n f o r d Math s u b - t e s t s as c o r r e l a t e s of academic success with s u b - t e s t 3 having the g r e a t e s t weight. The age v a r i a b l e i s not weighted s t r o n g l y enough t o make a s i g n i f i c a n t c o n t r i b u t i o n to f i r s t c a n o n i c a l v a r i a t e . These r e s u l t s are c o n s i s t e n t with the r e s u l t s of the b i v a r i a t e c o r r e l a t i o n s . The second p a i r of v a r i a t e s demonstrate t h a t the Nelson-Denny Reading Test i s a c o r r e l a t e of academic success i n c o n j u n c t i o n with the age v a r i a b l e . These r e s u l t s i n d i c a t e t h a t the age v a r i a b l e i s of g r e a t e r s i g n i f i c a n c e than the b i v a r i a t e c o r r e l a t i o n s i n d i c a t e . The redundancy f i g u r e s i n d i c a t e t h a t f o r the f i r s t p a i r of c a n o n i c a l v a r i a t e s t h e r e i s a modest c o n n e c t i o n between the transformed independent v a r i a b l e s and the untransformed dependent v a r i a b l e s . The redundancy f i g u r e f o r the second p a i r of v a r i a t e s i n d i c a t e s a weak con n e c t i o n between the transformed independent v a r i a b l e s and the untransformed dependent v a r i a b l e s . T h e r e f o r e , i t i s more l i k e l y t h a t f i r s t p a i r of v a r i a t e s b e t t e r r e p r e s e n t s the i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s between the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a and the academic achievement v a r i a b l e s . 65 CHAPTER V D i s c u s s i o n T h i s chapter d i s c u s s e s the r e s u l t s of t h i s study, and makes recommendations f o r f u t u r e r e s e a r c h . As s t a t e d i n Chapter 1, t h i s study makes use of a p o p u l a t i o n of convenience t o make an i n i t i a l assessment about the i n f l u e n c e of the Douglas C o l l e g e General N u r s i n g Program's t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a on academic success. The one a v a i l a b l e demographic v a r i a b l e , age, was added f o r examination based on the l i t e r a t u r e ' s v a l i d a t i o n of age as a p o t e n t i a l c o r r e l a t e of academic success i n c o l l e g e n u r s i n g programs. The r e f o r e , because of the l i m i t a t i o n s of t h i s study, a l l the r e s u l t s must be viewed t e n t a t i v e l y i n t h i s e x p l o r a t o r y , d e s c r i p t i v e study. The t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a , as r e p r e s e n t e d by two of the t h r e e c r i t e r i a , do c o r r e l a t e with academic success as r e p r e s e n t e d by s i x n u r s i n g academic scores from the f i r s t and second semester of the n u r s i n g program. Given the nature of the s k i l l areas e v a l u a t e d by the t h r e h o l d a d m i s s i o n • c r i t e r i a , r e a d i n g comprehension and math, i t was l o g i c a l t o assume the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a would demonstrate some p o s i t i v e c o r r e l a t i o n with the academic success s c o r e s . The r e s u l t s i n d i c a t e t h a t the S t a n d f o r d Math s u b - t e s t 3 i s the b e s t o v e r a l l c o r r e l a t e , c o n s i s t e n t l y dominating the two other s u b - t e s t s , and with only two e x c e p t i o n s , dominating the Nelson-Denny Reading Test. I t i s of i n t e r e s t t o note t h a t of those two e x c e p t i o n s , i n only one i n s t a n c e was the Nelson-Denny Reading Test c l e a r l y a more s t r o n g e r c o r r e l a t e of academic achievement, and i n t h a t i n s t a n c e the S t a n f o r d Math s u b - t e s t 3 was the second s t r o n g e s t c o r r e l a t e . Therefore, g i v e n the r e s u l t s of t h i s study one p o s s i b l e i m p l i c a t i o n i s t h a t o n l y the S t a n f o r d Math s u b - t e s t 3 need be a d m i n i s t e r e d t o p r o s p e c t i v e students, though more follo w - u p r e s e a r c h needs t o be done b e f o r e such a c t i o n c o u l d be taken. The p r e d i c t i v e v a l i d i t y percentages i n d i c a t e t h a t the t h r e h o l d admission c r i t e r i a , o v e r a l l , do not g r e a t l y impact on students p o t e n t i a l to succeed a c a d e m i c a l l y . The h i g h e s t p r e d i c t i v e v a l i d i d t y i s f o r the S t a n f o r d Math s u b - t e s t 3, which i s 19% b e t t e r at s c r e e n i n g students f o r the PHARM 1 course than i s s c r e e n i n g by chance. In order t o i n c r e a s e the p r e d i c t i v e v a l i d i t y of the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a , one c o u l d r a i s e the pass mark, be more 67 s e l e c t i v e by choosing those with h i g h e r marks, or do both (Issac and M i c h a e l , 1971). However, one c o u l d a l s o expect to get a h i g h e r c o r r e l a t i o n by r e p e a t i n g t h i s study with more s u b j e c t s (Hopkins and G l a s s , 1978) which would be reasonable to do g i v e n the l i m i t a t i o n s of t h i s study. One i m p l i c a t i o n of t h i s study i s t h a t other v a r i a b l e s should be c o n s i d e r e d when a d d r e s s i n g concerns over academic achievement. Given the modest t o low c o r r e l a t i o n s and o v e r l a p p i n g v a r i a n c e of the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a with the academic success v a r i a b l e s , t h e r e must be other v a r i a b l e s t h a t more s t r o n g l y c o r r e l a t e with academic achievement. The c a n o n i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n a l a n a l y s i s i n d i c a t e s i n the f i r s t p a i r of v a r i a t e s t h a t the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a have a more profound r e l a t i o n s h i p t o academic success than the Pearson r c o e f f i c i e n t s suggest, w i t h an o v e r l a p p i n g v a r i a n c e of 45%. The S t a n f o r d Math sub-scores weights a t t a c h e d t o t h e i r c o n t r i b u t i o n s are g u i t e h i g h . The c o n t r i b u t i o n of the Nelson-Denny Reading Test i s modest. As t o the second c a n o n i c a l v a r i a t e , the redundancy f i g u r e s i n d i c a t e t h a t i t i s not f r u i t f u l t o i n t e r p r e t 68 the r e s u l t s i n terms of the untransformed v a r i a b l e s . However, the age v a r i a b l e , because i t does f i g u r e p rominently i n the second c a n o n i c a l v a r i a t e , and because of i t s n e g a t i v e s c o r r e l a t i o n with PNI 1, does warrant f u t u r e examination as to i t s i n f l u e n c e on academic success and on a t t r i t i o n . T h i s study demonstrated t h a t the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a do i n f l u e n c e academic achievement i n the Douglas C o l l e g e General Nursing program. The s t r o n g e s t i n f l u e n c e i s the S t a n f o r d Math s u b - t e s t 3. The i n f l u e n c e of the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a i s at best modest though f u t u r e r e s e a r c h i s r e q u i r e d b e f o r e any a c t i o n should be taken based on the r e s u l t s of t h i s study. The age v a r i a b l e , though the weakest c o r r e l a t e of academic success, warrants f u r t h e r examinaation. Recommendations 1. That the Douglas C o l l e g e n u r s i n g f a c u l t y adopt a r e s e a r c h model to guide the c o l l e c t i o n of data p e r t i n e n t to a t t r i t i o n s t u d i e s . 2. That the Douglas C o l l e g e n u r s i n g f a c u l t y commence the s y s t e m a t i c c o l l e c t i o n of data p e r t i n e n t t o a t t r i t i o n s t u d i e s . 69 3. That the Douglas C o l l e g e n u r s i n g department develop a computerized data c o l l e c t i o n system p e r t i n e n t to a t t r i t i o n s t u d i e s . 4. That the Douglas C o l l e g e n u r s i n g department commence an i n s t i t u t i o n - w i d e d i a l o g u e on a d d r e s s i n g concerns over a t t r i t i o n , with s p e c i a l emphasis d i r e c t e d t o student s e r v i c e s and the r e g i s t r a r ' s o f f i c e . 5. That the E n g l i s h comprehension t e s t be s c o r e d i n such a way as to l e n d i t s e l f t o s t a t i s t i c a l a n a l y s i s . 6. That the t h r e s h o l d admission c r i t e r i a , h o p e f u l l y i n c l u d i n g the E n g l i s h composition t e s t , be r e -examined with a l a r g e r p o o l of students, and w i t h students who have pr o g r e s s e d through the n u r s i n g program. 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Appendix A Measures of C e n t r a l Tendency 81 Range Std. Mean Median Mode Dev. Nelson-Den Math Sub-test 1 Math Sub-test 2 Math Sub-test 3 Age THEORY 1 PHARM 1 PNI 1 THEORY 2 PHARM 2 PNI 2 24-68 10 20-53 4 34-48 3 20-33 3 19-51 8 65-96 6 67-96 6 67-96 6 67-94 5 69-97 6 75-95 5 40 30 44 28 29 81 87 84 81 85 85 36 31 45 29 27 81 88 84 81 85 86 34 29 48 29 21 81 89 84 81 92 85 

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