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Increasing persistence in Indonesian post-secondary distance education Belawati, Tian 1996

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INCREASING PERSISTENCE IN INDONESIAN POST-SECONDARY DISTANCE EDUCATION by TIAN BELAWATI Sarjana, Bogor A g r i c u l t u r a l Institute, 1984 M.Ed., Simon Fraser University, 1988 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Educational Studies) We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA December 1995 © Tian Belawati, 1995 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. Department of g ^ T I O W L STUPlE ^ The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date 0£Ge<n&£R. 1 ^ DE-6 (2/88) 11 A b s t r a c t This study concerns student persistence i n post-secondary distance education within the Indonesian context. The primary intent was to test the effectiveness of several interventions designed to increase student persistence at the Indonesian Open University (Universitas Terbuka--UT). Based on the c u l t u r a l , educational, i n s t i t u t i o n a l , and students' backgrounds, the study proposed several possible i n s t i t u t i o n a l interventions to increase UT's student persistence. The proposed interventions include: (1) provision of a t r a n s i t i o n stage for students to gradually learn, adapt to and adopt the unfamiliar independent learning system, and (2) enhancement of the academic system's openness to address students' c o n f l i c t s i n time and resources. The effectiveness of some t r a n s i t i o n stage interventions was tested through a f i e l d experiment involving 1102 newly enrolled students i n September 1993. The tested interventions were f i v e increasingly d e t a i l e d sets of written contacts containing information, reminders, encouragements, a brochure about independent learning strategies, and a l i s t of peers' names and addresses. Persistence was measured by the rates of s e l f - t e s t submission, the rates of examination attendance, and r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n rates i n the second semester immediately following the f i r s t semester. The r e s u l t s show that the interventions did not s i g n i f i c a n t l y increase student persistence. Variables such as number of courses and employment s t a t u s seem to i n f l u e n c e p e r s i s t e n c e s l i g h t l y more than the i n t e r v e n t i o n s . The r e s u l t s f u r t h e r show that students who submitted higher percentages of s e l f - t e s t s , wrote higher r a t e s of examinations, and were somewhat more l i k e l y to r e - r e g i s t e r i n t h e i r immediate second semester. P l a c i n g these r e s u l t s w i t h i n the context from which the i n t e r v e n t i o n s were deri v e d , i t seems that the i n t e r v e n t i o n s may have only been t i n k e r i n g at the margin of an already problematic d i s t a n c e education system i n Indonesia. Lack of p e r s i s t e n c e at UT may be r e l a t e d to aspects of the d i s t a n c e education model that were not adequately "adopted" such as feedback and c o u n s e l l i n g . The i n t e r v e n t i o n s may not have s u f f i c i e n t l y accommodated students' accustomed need f o r d i r e c t guidance. Based on the f i n d i n g s , eight recommendations w i t h regard to UT's r e g i s t r a t i o n / a d m i n i s t r a t i o n , t u i t i o n , i n s t r u c t i o n , evaluation/examination, and communication p o l i c i e s and systems were proposed. The recommendations address students' needs f o r i n s t i t u t i o n a l support systems and t h e i r c o n f l i c t s f o r time and resources. i v TABLE OF CONTENTS A b s t r a c t i i Table of Contents i v L i s t of Tables v i i i L i s t of F i g u r e s x Acknowledgements x i D e d i c a t i o n x i i Chapter one I n t r o d u c t i o n 1 Background To The Problem 1 Research Questions 12 Chapter Two L i t e r a t u r e Review 13 Concepts and Process of Dropout 14 Dropout i n high e r e d u c a t i o n 14 Dropout i n a d u l t e d u c a t i o n 18 Dropout i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n 21 Common Elements i n E x i s t i n g Models 30 D e f i n i t i o n and Measurement of Dropout.... 32 Reasons f o r and V a r i a b l e s R e l a t e d t o Dropout i n Distanc e E d u c a t i o n 35 I n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , and academic, and s o c i a l environment.... 36 R e l a t i o n s h i p between l e a r n i n g s t y l e and dropout 4 9 I n s t i t u t i o n a l v a r i a b l e s r e l a t e d t o dropout 51 Summary of f i n d i n g s of s t u d i e s about reasons f o r and v a r i a b l e s r e l a t e d t o dropout 53 E f f o r t s t o reduce dropout: E m p i r i c a l S t u d i e s 54 E f f o r t s to Reduce Dropout: Guided D i d a c t i c C o n v e r s a t i o n and T u t o r - C o u n s e l l o r 63 Summary 6 9 Chapter Three Contextual Background 74 The N a t i o n a l Context 74 Indonesia: demographic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , economics, p o l i t i c s 74 S o c i o - c u l t u r a l context 75 Edu c a t i o n 78 I m p l i c a t i o n s For Di s t a n c e E d u c a t i o n . . . . 81 V U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka's I n s t i t u t i o n a l Background 83 H i s t o r y and purpose of the establishment of U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka 83 Admission and r e g i s t r a t i o n system 85 I n s t r u c t i o n a l system 87 I n s t i t u t i o n a l f a c t o r s r e l a t e d to pe r s i s t e n c e 91 The Background of the Students 97 Demographic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s 97 Reasons, go a l , and s a t i s f a c t i o n 100 Student v a r i a b l e s r e l a t e d to dropout... 106 Summary 110 Chapter Four Conceptual Framework 113 Measuring P e r s i s t e n c e at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka 114 The Nature of Pe r s i s t e n c e at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka 12 5 So c i a l / w o r k / f a m i l y background, i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , and i n s t i t u t i o n a l system 127 I n i t i a l goal commitment 128 I n t e g r a t i o n process 128 Modi f i e d goal commitment 133 Persistence/non-persistence 134 Proposals For P o s s i b l e I n s t i t u t i o n a l I n t e r v e n t i o n s 135 Accommodating i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s / c o n d i t i o n s (A >I) 136 Accommodating s o c i a l / w o r k / f a m i l y circumstances (A-->F) 139 Summary of the p o s s i b l e i n t e r v e n t i o n s . . 140 The Design of In t e r v e n t i o n s To F a c i l i t a t e Students' T r a n s i t i o n Stage 141 Chapter F i v e Experimental Design And Methodology 146 Objec t i v e s 146 D e f i n i t i o n and Measurement of P e r s i s t e n c e 147 Sample s e l e c t i o n 151 D e s c r i p t i o n of Sample 156 Experimental Treatments 160 Data C o l l e c t i o n 168 Data A n a l y s i s 170 The Schedule of The Experiment and Data C o l l e c t i o n 172 Chapter S i x Findings of the Experiment 175 O v e r a l l P i c t u r e of P e r s i s t e n c e at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka 175 P r e d i c t o r s of Pe r s i s t e n c e and Grade Point Average 18 0 Treatment E f f e c t s on P e r s i s t e n c e 183 v i Treatment ef f e c t on s e l f - t e s t submission 183 Treatment e f f e c t on examination attendance 186 Treatment ef f e c t s on r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n . . . 188 Treatment Ef f e c t s on Grade Point Average. 193 Study Program and Persistence 196 Summary of Treatment Ef f e c t s on Persistence and GPA 198 Post-experimental Interview 201 Interpretations of Treatment 202 Goals, Reasons and Learning Experiences i n General 204 Students' Comments and Suggestions 208 Summary of the Interview Responses 209 Conclusion 210 Chapter Seven Discussion 212 Review 212 Discussion: Experimental Findings 214 Discussion: Larger Context 219 Treatments and student personal c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s 220 UT's Administration/registration system and persistence 224 Summary , 22 6 Limitations and Threats to the V a l i d i t y of the Study 227 Chapter Eight Conclusions, Recommendations, and Implications 230 Conclusions 230 Recommendations For The Operation of Universitas Terbuka 233 Registration/administration 234 Tu i t i o n 236 Instructional system 237 Evaluation system 238 Examination loads 239 Involvement with students 240 Recommendations For Further Research 242 Implications 244 Cultural and t r a d i t i o n a l context, and the educational model adaptation 24 5 Re-conceptualization of dropout 249 Bibliography 2 54 Appendix 1 Statement of Informed Consent 264 Appendix 2 Pattern of Registration of UT Students 267 Appendix 3 Example of Treatments (Letters) 269 Appendix 4 Example of the Independent Learning Strategies Brochure (Study Guide) 289 Appendix 5 Example of Letters for Dummy Respondents... 304 v i i Appendix 6 Form of C o n f i r m a t i o n L e t t e r from Dummy-Respondents 317 Appendix 7 Interview G u i d e l i n e s 320 Appendix 8 Notes of the Interview 3 24 Appendix 9 Frequency Table of I n d i v i d u a l Dependent and Independent V a r i a b l e s 342 v i i i LIST OF TABLES Table Page 1.1 U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka Completion Rates To 1992 Per Year of Students F i r s t R e g i s t r a t i o n 7 1.2 P a t t e r n s of R e - r e g i s t r a t i o n of Cohort 1984.1 U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka Student 8 1.3 U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka Students' R e - r e g i s t r a t i o n Rates i n the Immediate Second Semester per Student Cohort (1984.1-1991.1) 10 2.1 Summary of the Scope of S t u d i e s on Dropout 70 3.1 I n s t r u c t i o n a l and Support Systems of U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka, Open L e a r n i n g Agency, the B r i t i s h Open U n i v e r s i t y , the I n d i r a Gandhi N a t i o n a l Open U n i v e r s i t y , and Sukhothai Thammathirat 95 3.2 Student Demographic C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka, Open L e a r n i n g Agency, and the B r i t i s h Open U n i v e r s i t y 98 5.1 T o t a l and Study P o p u l a t i o n by Regional O f f i c e 152 5.2 T o t a l and Study P o p u l a t i o n by Study Program 153 5.3 Numbers of the Returned Treatment L e t t e r s 155 5.4 Means and Standard D e v i a t i o n s of Sample C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s 156 5.5 Student D i s t r i b u t i o n s by Age Group 157 5.6 Student D i s t r i b u t i o n s by Highest Previous E d u c a t i o n Before R e g i s t e r i n g at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka 159 5.7 Number of Peers S e l e c t e d per C r i t e r i o n 162 5.8 S e v e r a l T h e o r e t i c a l C o n s t r u c t s A p p l i c a b l e To The Experiment and T h e i r O p e r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n s (Where' A p p l i c a b l e ) 165 5.9 M a i l i n g Time to the Dummy Respondents ( i n days) 167 5.10 The Schedule of the Experiment and Data C o l l e c t i o n . . . 173 6.1 O v e r a l l P i c t u r e of Student p e r s i s t e n c e at UT 176 6.2 Pearson C o r r e l a t i o n Between P r e d i c t o r s V a r i a b l e s and Outcome V a r i a b l e s 181 i x 6.3 Percentages of S e l f - t e s t Submission by F i v e Treatment and One C o n t r o l Groups 184 6.4 The E f f e c t s of Treatment and E i g h t C o v a r i a t e s on S e l f - t e s t Submission at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka, Indonesia, 1993-1994, Semester 93.2-94.1 185 6.5 Percentages of Examination Attendance by F i v e Treatment and One C o n t r o l Group 187 6.6 The E f f e c t s of Treatment and E i g h t C o v a r i a t e s on Examination Attendance at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka, Indonesia, 1993-1994, Semester 93.2-94.1 188 6.7 Percentages of R e - r e g i s t r a t i o n by F i v e Treatment and One C o n t r o l Groups 190 6.8 The E f f e c t s of Treatment and E i g h t C o v a r i a t e s on Re-r e g i s t r a t i o n at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka, Indonesia, 1993-1994, Semester 93.2-94.1 191 6.9 Grade P o i n t Average by F i v e Treatment and C o n t r o l Groups 194 6.10 The E f f e c t s of Treatment and E i g h t C o v a r i a t e s on GPA 195 6.11 R e l a t i o n s h i p s Between P e r s i s t e n c e , GPA and Study Program 197 6.12 Summary of Treatment E f f e c t s on P e r s i s t e n c e and GPA at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka, Indonesia, 1993-1994, Semester 93.2-94.1 199 6.13 The C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of Students Interviewed Concerning Treatments i n the Experiment at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka, Indonesia 205 6.14 Changes i n Students' Sense of A f f i l i a t i o n , M o t i v a t i o n , S e l f - c o n f i d e n c e , and Independent Study A b i l i t y 207 X LIST OF FIGURES Figure Page 2.1 Tinto's model of dropout i n higher education 16 2.2 Boshier's congruence model 19 2.3 Kennedy and Powell's model of dropout i n distance education 23 2.4 Kember's model of dropout i n distance education 2 6 2.5 Sweet's path analysis on dropout i n distance education 43 4.1 Example of r e g i s t r a t i o n patterns of seven hypothetical students within s i x hypothetical semesters 120 4.2 Kember's dropout model adapted to the Universitas Terbuka (UT) 126 4.3 The integration process diagram. 129 4.4 Accommodation of in d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s / preferences diagram 137 4.5 Accommodation of social/work/family environment diagram 14 0 5.1 The monitoring schedule for persistence at Universitas Terbuka 14 8 8.1 A re-conceptualized Kember's model for Persistence i n distance education 246 x i ACKNOWLEDGMENT This work would not have been completed without the support and help of many people. I wish to thank my research s u p e r v i s o r --Dan P r a t t - -and the other members of my supe r v i s o r y committee --John C o l l i n s , Roger Boshier and Tony Bates-- f o r t h e i r suggestions, ideas, feedback, and c r i t i c i s m s during the course of pre p a r i n g t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n . I am e s p e c i a l l y g r a t e f u l to Dan P r a t t f o r h i s constant encouragement, to John C o l l i n s f o r the time and patience he devoted to help me an a l y z i n g the data of t h i s study, and to Tony Bates f o r h i s guidance i n f i n d i n g the focus of t h i s study. I would a l s o l i k e to acknowledge and thank the President, the Vice President f o r Student A f f a i r , the Heads of Regional O f f i c e s , and a l l s t a f f of the Indonesian Open U n i v e r s i t y ( U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka--UT) f o r t h e i r c o l l a b o r a t i o n s and supports during the conduct of the f i e l d -experiment i n Indonesia. Further, I would l i k e to thank the 16 UT students f o r t h e i r p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the i n t e r v i e w . Further, I wish to thank Jeannie Young, Pam Rogers, Ann-Marie Dussault, and T e t i Argo who were always there when I needed someone to l i s t e n to a l l my lengthy t i r i n g s t o r y of f r u s t r a t i o n and desperation. And s p e c i a l thanks to Inne Jonas, Jenny Salim and Wenny Tahir who always managed to f i n d me good d i s t r a c t i o n s from my study. F i n a l l y , no aspect of t h i s study could have been p o s s i b l e without the i n v a l u a b l e supports, encouragement, patience and understanding of the two most important persons i n my l i f e , my husband and my son, Titayanto and Raven P i e t e r . This work i s t h e i r s as much as mine. X l l I dedicate this dissertation to my late father, Jusuf Enoch, who believed that providing good education was the best inheritance any parents could ever give to their children. 1 Chapter One I n t r o d u c t i o n This study concerns student p e r s i s t e n c e i n Indonesian distance education. I n i t i a l l y , the focus of t h i s study was to reduce dropout r a t e s at the Indonesian Open U n i v e r s i t y ( U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka--UT). As the study progressed, i t became c l e a r that the concept of dropout was problematic. Thus, the concept of p e r s i s t e n c e , i t s measurements and e f f o r t s to increase p e r s i s t e n c e r a t e s became p a r a l l e l focuses. The c o n c e p t u a l i z a t i o n of student p e r s i s t e n c e i n dis t a n c e education i s d iscussed i n d e t a i l i n Chapter Four. Background to the Problem Lack of p e r s i s t e n c e has been a c e n t r a l concern i n a l l kinds of education. In any educational s e t t i n g , there i s always a p o s s i b i l i t y that students w i l l e i t h e r withdraw, suspend, or even drop t h e i r s t u d i e s a l t o g e t h e r . However, the concern about l a c k of p e r s i s t e n c e i n dis t a n c e education i s probably higher than i n conventional education f o r two reasons. F i r s t l y , d i s t a n c e education o f f e r s an a l t e r n a t i v e method of education designed to overcome economic, demographic, and time b a r r i e r s . The strengths of t h i s method are i t s openness, f l e x i b i l i t y , and c o s t - e f f e c t i v e n e s s . These c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s 2 give a wider opportunity to people who, due to v a r i o u s reasons r e l a t e d to those b a r r i e r s , cannot secure access to conventional f a c e - t o - f a c e education. U s u a l l y , because of t h e i r s t r u c t u r e , d istance education i n s t i t u t i o n s accept people who normally are not e l i g i b l e f o r admission to conventional face-to-face educational i n s t i t u t i o n s . This, i n t u r n , has a l s o l e d to the per c e p t i o n of distance education as a second choice i n many c o u n t r i e s . Therefore, somewhat higher r a t e s of student withdrawal, suspension, or dropout are expected, given t h i s unconventional p r o v i s i o n . But excessive r a t e s are alarming, and c a l l i n t o question the edu c a t i o n a l v i a b i l i t y of distance education i t s e l f . A second reason f o r concern i s that low p e r s i s t e n c e i n dist a n c e education has a severe impact on the op e r a t i o n of the i n s t i t u t i o n . A high r a t e of non-persistence decreases the c o s t - e f f e c t i v e n e s s of the i n s t i t u t i o n . Furthermore, a low pe r s i s t e n c e r a t e a l s o suggests a f a i l u r e to solve a l a r g e r s o c i a l i s s u e , the e q u a l i t y of educational p r o v i s i o n . Thus, when non-persistence r a t e s are high, p o l i c y i s questioned. Hence, p e r s i s t e n c e has been a subject which has given r i s e to a great deal of d i s c u s s i o n and argument w i t h i n distance education. I t has been a source of concern f o r members of open u n i v e r s i t i e s f o r many years (Woodley and P a r l e t t , 1983). Indeed, G a r r i s o n (1987a) claimed t h a t , as of the mid 1980's, there was no area of research i n dis t a n c e education that had r e c e i v e d more a t t e n t i o n than student p e r s i s t e n c e . 3 D e s p i t e the v a r i a t i o n s i n d e f i n i t i o n s and measurements of p e r s i s t e n c e , s t u d i e s have shown t h a t p e r s i s t e n c e r a t e s i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n are v e r y low. Woodley and P a r l e t t (1983), f o r example, r e p o r t e d p e r s i s t e n c e r a t e s i n v a r i o u s d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n i n s t i t u t i o n s i n terms of "wastage r a t e s , which they d e f i n e d as the percentage of students who r e g i s t e r e d i n the course(s) but d i d not g a i n a course c r e d i t . They r e p o r t e d that the wastage r a t e at the B r i t i s h Open U n i v e r s i t y (BOU) i n 1982 was 32%. At Athabasca U n i v e r s i t y (Canada) i t was 71%; 42% i f i t was based on those who submitted the f i r s t assignment. At the N a t i o n a l U n i v e r s i t y E x t e n s i o n A s s o c i a t i o n (USA), the wastage r a t e was 40% i n terms of completing the degree, or 3 0% i f i t was based on those who completed a l l the w r i t t e n work. At the NKI School (Norway), i t was between 20-35% of students based on those who completed at l e a s t one of t h e i r courses but d i d not continue to f i n i s h the degree . At the F e r n u n i v e r s i t a e t (West Germany), i t was 47% u s i n g s i m i l a r measurements, a f t e r a f i r s t year of study, as measured i n 1980. More rec e n t data from B r i t i s h Columbia's Open Le a r n i n g Agency (OLA) shows t h a t 55% of t h e i r student p o p u l a t i o n i n 1989/90 withdrew or d i d not complete a l l course requirements (OLA, 1991). These f i g u r e s are much hi g h e r than dropout r a t e s i n f a c e - t o - f a c e e d u c a t i o n programs. 1 A l l terms f o r p e r s i s t e n c e are maintained c o n s i s t e n t . The p r e c i s e c o n c e p t i o n of p e r s i s t e n c e f o r t h i s study i s c l a r i f i e d i n Chapter Four. 2 The times of measurements f o r the wastage r a t e s of Athabasca U n i v e r s i t y , the N a t i o n a l U n i v e r s i t y E x t e n s i o n A s s o c i a t i o n , and the NKI School were not r e p o r t e d . 4 The n a t i o n a l dropout r a t e f o r a d u l t b a s i c e d u c a t i o n programs i n the U n i t e d S t a t e s f o r f i s c a l year 1973 was 37.3% (Osso, 1975 c i t e d i n I r i s h , 1978). I r i s h (1978) r e p o r t e d that dropout r a t e s i n a d u l t e d u c a t i o n programs tended to be even lower. She claimed t h a t o n l y 18% of the students who p a r t i c i p a t e d i n the N a t i o n a l Survey of U n i v e r s i t y A d u l t E d u c a t i o n Programs conducted i n 1965 subsequently dropped out. More re c e n t data from the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia (UBC), Canada shows t h a t the average dropout r a t e f o r students e n r o l l e d i n r e g u l a r f a c e - t o - f a c e degree programs from 1981/82 to 1988/89 was o n l y 6.5% based on students who d i d not r e c e i v e any c r e d i t s at a l l or withdrew sometime d u r i n g t h e i r degree programs and, t h e r e f o r e , d i d not complete a degree (UBC, 1992). Even g i v e n the d i f f e r e n c e i n time between the two s t u d i e s , i n d i c a t i o n s are t h a t p e r s i s t e n c e r a t e s i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n are c o n s i d e r a b l y lower than i n f a c e - t o - f a c e e d u c a t i o n . Furthermore, n e w l y - e n r o l l e d d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n students have been r e p o r t e d as those who are most s i g n i f i c a n t l y at r i s k of n o n - p e r s i s t e n c e (Roberts, 1984). Roberts found t h a t a h i g h a t t r i t i o n r a t e i n the i n i t i a l stages of study i s a p a t t e r n i n r e s e a r c h on p e r s i s t e n c e . Roberts c i t e d James and Wedemeyer (1959) whose study at the U n i v e r s i t y of Wisconsin found t h a t the withdrawal r a t e b e f o r e completion of a q u a r t e r of the program c o n s t i t u t e d as much as 93% of the e v e n t u a l t o t a l dropout r a t e d u r i n g the whole program. Roberts (1984) a l s o c i t e d Jones and Wylie (1970) whose study at the South West 5 London C o l l e g e r e p o r t e d a withdrawal r a t e d u r i n g the f i r s t q u a r t e r of t h a t program of 60%. Another c i t e d study by Mcintosh (1972) at the B r i t i s h Open U n i v e r s i t y r e v e a l e d t h a t the dropout r a t e i n the f i r s t year of study (based on 1970-1971 data) was r e p o r t e d as approximately 42% of the new enrollment, which was approximately 58.5% of the t o t a l number of students who withdrew from the program sometime d u r i n g the degree p r o c e s s . Roberts' (1984) own study i n 1980 at the C o l l e g e of Advanced Ed u c a t i o n i n New South Wales, A u s t r a l i a , found t h a t 93% of students who d i d not graduate had withdrawn d u r i n g the f i r s t two semesters of a f o u r semester program. Those s t u d i e s measured p e r s i s t e n c e i n d i f f e r e n t ways, but r e g a r d l e s s of whether p e r s i s t e n c e was d e f i n e d i n terms of wastage, a t t r i t i o n , withdrawal or non-completion, d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n s t u d i e s r e p o r t h i g h e r r a t e s than t r a d i t i o n a l f a c e -t o - f a c e e d u c a t i o n . Furthermore, the s t u d i e s s t r o n g l y i n d i c a t e that n o n - p e r s i s t e n t behaviors are more l i k e l y t o occur w i t h i n students' e a r l y o r begi n n i n g stages of study, r a t h e r than at l a t e r p o i n t s . T h i s l a c k of p e r s i s t e n c e i s a l s o the s i t u a t i o n at the Indonesian Open U n i v e r s i t y ( U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka-UT). U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka was e s t a b l i s h e d i n September, 1984 because of the r a p i d expansion of s e n i o r h i g h s c h o o l s and the low l a b o r a b s o r p t i o n c a p a c i t y of the Indonesian economy. As with other d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n i n s t i t u t i o n s , i t was a l s o founded to serve people who d i d not have the o p p o r t u n i t y t o a t t e n d c o n v e n t i o n a l f a c e - t o - f a c e h i g h e r e d u c a t i o n a l i n s t i t u t i o n s due 6 to l a c k of funding, time, or access. As such, i t s student c o n s t i t u e n c y i s s i m i l a r t o those of other d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n i n s t i t u t i o n s . N e v e r t h e l e s s , although UT ' s s t a t i s t i c s (1-9 9 l b , 1992) a l s o show t h a t n o n - p e r s i s t e n t b e h a v i o r s are more l i k e l y t o occur e a r l y i n a student's study, the degree of non-p e r s i s t e n c e at UT i s markedly h i g h e r than at o t h e r i n s t i t u t i o n s . Table 1.1 d e p i c t s UT students' completion r a t e s from the f i r s t g r a d u a t i o n i n 1989 to 1992. As the t a b l e shows, the average r a t e of degree completion of students whose f i r s t r e g i s t r a t i o n s were between 1984 and 1990 was o n l y 4.8%. T h i s means t h a t over 95% of students of these seven c o h o r t s (groups of students who r e g i s t e r i n the same academic years) e i t h e r withdrew or d i d not c o n t i n u o u s l y m a i n t a i n t h e i r s t u d i e s . T h i s completion r a t e i s much lower than, f o r example, the average degree completion r a t e at the B r i t i s h Open U n i v e r s i t y (BOU) of 48.8% (based on data from 1971 to 1981 i n t a k e s ) ; furthermore, i f the BOU r a t e was based on completion r a t e s w i t h i n 8 years of study, i t was 45.1% (The Open U n i v e r s i t y and the Department of. E d u c a t i o n and Science, 1991). U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka's completion r a t e i s a l s o lower than the average completion r a t e s at ot h e r A s i a n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n u n i v e r s i t i e s . For example, the completion r a t e o f the I n d i r a Gandhi N a t i o n a l Open U n i v e r s i t y ' s (IGNOU) diploma programs i n 1987 was 22% (Reddy, 1989) and the average degree completion r a t e of T h a i l a n d ' s Sukhothai Thammathirat Open U n i v e r s i t y 7 Table 1.1 U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka Completion Rates To 1992 Per Year of Students F i r s t R e g i s t r a t i o n Year of T o t a l Graduates by 1992 a Years F i r s t E n r o l l e e s e l a p s e d Re-g i s t r a t i o n Number Percentage 1984 b 54,035 3 , 065 5 . 7 8 1985 46,910 3 , 144 6 . 7 7 1986 20,051 1, 477 7.4 6 1987 8, 10 9 511 6.3 5 1988 9, 041 284 3 .1 4 1989 5, 739 156 3 . 0 3 1990 14,354 194 1 . 4 2 Average Completion Rate 4 . 8 a I n c l u d i n g graduates of the F a c u l t y of Education's programs which t h e o r e t i c a l l y can be f i n i s h e d w i t h i n as short as one year ( f o r te a c h e r students who a l r e a d y have Diploma Three or High School Teaching C e r t i f i c a t e ) . F i r s t graduation.was i n 1989 (STOU) based on i t s 1980-1985 i n t a k e was 17% ( S r i p r a s a r t et a l . , 1988) . S t a t i s t i c s show t h a t UT's students d i d not u s u a l l y undertake t h e i r study c o n t i n u o u s l y . Table 1.2 shows the p a t t e r n o f UT's f i r s t cohort ( i . e students whose f i r s t r e g i s t r a t i o n was i n the f i r s t semester of 1984) as to student r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n r a t e s a f t e r the f i r s t semester (the complete t a b l e of student r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n p a t t e r n s of subsequent cohorts i s pr e s e n t e d i n Appendix 2). The t a b l e shows t h a t 8 Table 1.2 P a t t e r n s of R e - r e g i s t r a t i o n of Cohort 1984.1 U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka Students Semester Student R e - r e g i s t r a t i o n Number Percentage 1984 1 54,035 a _ 1984 2 31,294 57 . 9 1985 1 28,185 52 . 2 1985 2 38,479 71 . 2 1986 1 8, 811 16 . 3 1986 2 11,669 21 . 6 1987 1 6 , 117 11 . 3 1987 2, 7,408 13 . 7 1987 3 b 10,784 20 . 0 1988 1 10,624 19 . 7 1988 2 9, 794 18 . 1 1989 1 7,603 14 . 1 1990 1 6, 765 12 . 5 1990 2 5, 842 10 • 8 1991 1 4, 688 8 . 7 1991 2 3, 988 7 . 4 a F i r s t r e g i s t r a t i o n k i n 1987, UT t r i e d t o a d m i n i s t e r three semesters (three examination times) but t h i s was not continued. most UT students d i d not m a i n t a i n t h e i r r e g i s t r a t i o n c o n t i n u o u s l y i n every semester. The percentage of r e -r e g i s t r a t i o n shows t h a t o n l y 57.9% of the 54,035 students r e -r e g i s t e r e d immediately i n the second semester (semester 9 1984.2). However, some students r e t u r n e d to the program i n l a t e r semesters (note t h a t 71% of these students r e - r e g i s t e r e d i n the second semester of 1985). The l a s t row, however, shows th a t o n l y 7.4% (3,988 students) among the o r i g i n a l 54,035 r e g i s t r a n t s were s t i l l i n the program by September 1991 (1991.2) . Adding these remaining students to those who had a l r e a d y graduated (3,065 students as shown i n Table 1.1) g i v e s a t o t a l of o n l y about 13% of students as a c t u a l or p o t e n t i a l graduates from the 1984.1 o r i g i n a l c ohort. In o t h e r words, about 87% of the e n r o l l e e s of t h i s cohort d i d not p e r s i s t i n t h e i r programs over the e i g h t year p e r i o d . T h i s example i l l u s t r a t e s t h a t student p e r s i s t e n c e r a t e s are low at UT. Indeed, Table 1.3 i l l u s t r a t e s t h a t a l l study c o h o r t s from 1984.1-1991.1 showed low r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n r a t e s i n the semesters immediately f o l l o w i n g the o r i g i n a l semester. These immediate r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n r a t e s range from as low as 9.1% to as h i g h as 81.2%. The e x c e p t i o n a l l y low r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n r a t e s i n 1986 to 1987 (9.11%-12.7%) were due to the changes i n UT's a d m i n i s t r a t i o n systems. P r i o r to 1986, students had to p i c k up t h e i r course m a t e r i a l s i n the appointed post o f f i c e s . But i n 1986, UT s t a r t e d t o send course m a t e r i a l s d i r e c t l y t o i n d i v i d u a l students' addresses. T h i s change caused c o n s i d e r a b l e c o n f u s i o n and r e s u l t e d i n delays of the course m a t e r i a l s t o students. Furthermore, i n 1987, UT t r i e d t o a d m i n i s t e r t h r e e examination times ( i . e . three semesters w i t h i n a year) but found t h i s unmanageable, and so changed back to the two-semester system. 10 Table 1.3 U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka Students' R e - r e g i s t r a t i o n Rates i n the Immediate Second Semester per Student Cohort (1984.1-1991.1) Cohort Enrollment R e - r e g i s t r a t i o n Percentage 1984 1 54,035 31, 294. 57 9 1985 1 46,910 38,105 81 2 1986 1 8 , 586 1, 011 11 8 1986 2 11,069 1, 006 9 1 1987 1 1, 174 149 12 7 1987 2 2 , 062 922 44 7 1987 3 4 , 273 2, 085 48 8 1988 1 3 , 550 1, 588 44 7 1988 2 5, 491 2, 006 36 5 1989 2 5, 739 2 , 777 48 4 1990 1 4 , 563 2, 597 56 9 1990 2 9 , 791 5,333 54 5 1991 1 3 , 903 2 , 241 57 .4 Average R e - r e g i s t r a t i o n r a t e s 46.3 Note: UT d i d not open i t s r e g i s t r a t i o n f o r new students i n semesters (cohort) 84.2, 85.2 and 89.1 . It i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note t h a t , with the e x c e p t i o n of the cohort whose f i r s t r e g i s t r a t i o n was i n Semester 1985.1, Table 1.3 shows t h a t the immediate r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n r a t e was l e s s than 60% (range from 9.1% to 57.4%). On average, about 46.3% of new e n r o l l e e s over t h i s p e r i o d continued t h e i r s t u d i e s i n t o a second semester without i n t e r r u p t i o n . T h i s means th a t , on average, the ot h e r 53.7% of new students d i d not r e - r e g i s t e r f o r a second semester r i g h t a f t e r t h e i r f i r s t one. In s h o r t , T a bles 1.2 and "1.3 i n d i c a t e t h a t student non-p e r s i s t e n c e r a t e s at UT are high. Furthermore, as shown by 11 students' r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n p a t t e r n (Table 1.2), t h e r e i s no s i n g l e p o i n t of measurement t h a t can g i v e the a b s o l u t e number of dropouts as i s the case i n t r a d i t i o n a l f a c e - t o - f a c e e d u c a t i o n . Students who were not a c t i v e l y r e g i s t e r e d at the measurement time (and t h e r e f o r e c o u l d have been l a b e l l e d as dropout students by most s t u d i e s ) may or may not have dropped t h e i r s t u d i e s . They might have merely been suspending them e x p e c t i n g to e v e n t u a l l y r e t u r n and r e - r e g i s t e r at a l a t e r stage. Indeed, some d i d . Therefore, i t seems t h a t m o n i t o r i n g students' p e r s i s t e n c e at d i f f e r e n t p o i n t s / s t a g e s of students' s t u d i e s i s more meaningful and more c o n s i s t e n t w i t h UT's system than simply measuring whether students have dropped out at a s i n g l e p o i n t i n time. Thus, a focus on p e r s i s t e n c e i s more congruent and r e l e v a n t w i t h UT's context than a focus on dropout. Studying t h i s phenomenon i s h i g h l y t o p i c a l ; the low p e r s i s t e n c e r a t e has s i g n i f i c a n t i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r UT and Indonesia. O r g a n i z a t i o n a l l y , low p e r s i s t e n c e can j e o p a r d i z e the e x i s t e n c e of UT; a drop i n the number of students means a drop i n t u i t i o n income. T h i s , i n turn, i n f l u e n c e s the i n s t i t u t i o n ' s a b i l i t y to extend and i n c r e a s e the q u a l i t y of i t s i n s t r u c t i o n a l technology and s e r v i c e s . F u r t h e r , low r a t e s of p e r s i s t e n c e may a l s o j e o p a r d i z e the image of the i n s t i t u t i o n , s i n c e they may g i v e the impression of an u n s a t i s f a c t o r y system. As mentioned, UT was designed and e s t a b l i s h e d i n l a r g e p a r t to serve people unable to a t t e n d c o n v e n t i o n a l i n s t i t u t i o n s . Therefore, a drop i n the number of 12 students a l s o means a drop i n a b s o r p t i o n of these t a r g e t p o p u l a t i o n s . T h i s i m p l i e s the f a i l u r e of government p o l i c i e s r e g a r d i n g e d u c a t i o n e q u i t y . F i n a l l y , and most i m p o r t a n t l y , low p e r s i s t e n c e r a t e s a l s o imply i n e f f i c i e n c y i n the use of n a t i o n a l r e s o u r c e s . Research Questions A gr e a t d e a l of r e s e a r c h r e g a r d i n g p e r s i s t e n c e i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n has been conducted. However, most s t u d i e s have been d e s c r i p t i v e ; few have d e a l t w i t h e f f o r t s (or i n t e r v e n t i o n s ) t o i n c r e a s e p e r s i s t e n c e r a t e s . Due to the s e v e r i t y and urgency of the problem of n o n - p e r s i s t e n c e at UT, t h i s study was designed t o i n c r e a s e knowledge about, and the e f f i c i e n c y of, measures t o enhance p e r s i s t e n c e . S p e c i f i c a l l y , t h i s study was c o n s t r u c t e d to answer the f o l l o w i n g q u e s t i o n s : 1. What i s the nature of the p e r s i s t e n c e phenomenon at UT?, and 2. What k i n d of i n s t i t u t i o n a l i n t e r v e n t i o n s can be a p p l i e d i n order t o i n c r e a s e student p e r s i s t e n c e r a t e s ? A c c o r d i n g l y , t h i s study was intended t o : 1. Develop a conceptual framework of p e r s i s t e n c e at UT; 2. Derive p o s s i b l e i n s t i t u t i o n a l i n t e r v e n t i o n s from the proposed framework; and 3. Test the e f f e c t i v e n e s s of some i n t e r v e n t i o n s , namely the t r a n s i t i o n stage i n t e r v e n t i o n s , designed t o i n c r e a s e p e r s i s t e n c e i n the e a r l y stages of study at UT. 13 Chapter Two L i t e r a t u r e Review In order to pursue the r e s e a r c h q u e s t i o n s , i t was necessary to propose a framework a d d r e s s i n g the phenomenon of a d u l t student p e r s i s t e n c e w i t h i n Indonesia, which was, i n t u r n , used to d e r i v e i n s t i t u t i o n a l i n t e r v e n t i o n s designed to i n c r e a s e student p e r s i s t e n c e r a t e s at UT. To do t h i s , i t was important to e x p l o r e the complexity of the p e r s i s t e n c e phenomenon through a review of e x i s t i n g t h e o r e t i c a l l i t e r a t u r e and e m p i r i c a l r e s e a r c h r e g a r d i n g p e r s i s t e n c e i n d i s t a n c e education, as w e l l as t h a t d e s c r i b i n g the c o n t e x t u a l background of Indonesia. Thus, t h i s l i t e r a t u r e review c o n s i s t s of two p a r t s : p r e v i o u s s t u d i e s of p e r s i s t e n c e (or dropout as i t i s termed by most s t u d i e s ) i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n and r e l a t e d f i e l d s (Chapter 2) and the c o n t e x t u a l background of Indonesia (Chapter 3). I t i s important to c l a r i f y t h a t , while the focus of t h i s study was student p e r s i s t e n c e , the language of the review uses the names and d e f i n i t i o n s of concepts as they are found i n the l i t e r a t u r e ; e.g., dropout was the term most commonly used by many r e s e a r c h e r s i n d i s c u s s i n g t h i s phenomenon. Furthermore, throughout t h i s chapter, readers w i l l f i n d d i f f e r e n t terms used even f o r dropout, e.g. completion/non-completion, a t t r i t i o n , withdrawal, f a i l u r e , wastage, p e r s i s t e n c e / n o n -p e r s i s t e n c e , and c o n t i n u a t i o n / d i s c o n t i n u a t i o n . Each r e f e r s to 14 the p a r t i c u l a r usage of a p a r t i c u l a r r e s e a r c h e r , and w i l l be d e f i n e d i n terms of t h a t r e s e a r c h . E v e n t u a l l y , i n Chapter Four the comprehensive measurement of p e r s i s t e n c e as used i n t h i s study w i l l be c l a r i f i e d . Concepts and Processes of Dropout S t u d i e s of dropout i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n have been mostly d e s c r i p t i v e and p r e d i c t i v e i n nature. Few s t u d i e s have developed t h e o r i e s and models concerning both dropout and p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n d i s t a n c e education. Although d e s c r i p t i v e s t u d i e s are important, they have not c o n t r i b u t e d much to the understanding of the phenomenon of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . Thus, t h i s review examines the concepts and models of dropout not o n l y i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n but a l s o i n r e l a t e d f i e l d s such as h i g h e r and a d u l t e d u c a t i o n . E x t e n s i v e review of dropout l i t e r a t u r e i n these f i e l d s l e a d s to a b e t t e r understanding of the phenomenon and t h e r e f o r e to a proposed framework f o r t h i s study. Dropout i n h i g h e r e d u c a t i o n . One of the attempts to e x p l a i n the process of dropout i n h i g h e r e d u c a t i o n was made by T i n t o (1975). He t r i e d t o formulate a t h e o r e t i c a l model t h a t e x p l a i n s the process of i n t e r a c t i o n between i n d i v i d u a l s and an i n s t i t u t i o n t h a t r e s u l t s i n i n d i v i d u a l s dropping out from i n s t i t u t i o n s of h i g h e r e d u c a t i o n . 15 F i g u r e 2.1 i l l u s t r a t e s T i n t o ' s model. Students e n t e r an i n s t i t u t i o n of h i g h e r e d u c a t i o n w i t h a v a r i e t y of f a m i l y backgrounds, i n d i v i d u a l a t t r i b u t e s , and p r e - c o l l e g e s c h o o l i n g e x p e r i e n c e s . These i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s i n f l u e n c e the development of t h e i r g o a l s and i n s t i t u t i o n a l commitments. During a p r o t r a c t e d p e r i o d of i n t e r a c t i o n s between the i n d i v i d u a l and the academic and s o c i a l systems of the i n s t i t u t i o n known as an i n t e g r a t i o n process, a person's experiences c o n t i n u a l l y modify h i s / h e r g o a l s and i n s t i t u t i o n a l commitments i n ways which l e a d to p e r s i s t e n c e or dropout. Given p r i o r l e v e l s of g o a l and i n s t i t u t i o n a l commitments, i t i s the i n d i v i d u a l ' s normative and s t r u c t u r a l i n t e g r a t i o n i n t o the academic and s o c i a l systems of the i n s t i t u t i o n t h a t l e a d to new l e v e l s of commitment. Normative i n t e g r a t i o n r e f e r s to the i n d i v i d u a l ' s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h the norms of the s o c i a l and academic system i n the c o l l e g e ; whereas s t r u c t u r a l i n t e g r a t i o n r e l a t e s more d i r e c t l y to how w e l l an i n d i v i d u a l meets c e r t a i n e x p l i c i t standards of the c o l l e g e system. Other t h i n g s b e i n g equal, the h i g h e r the degree of both normative and s t r u c t u r a l i n t e g r a t i o n , the g r e a t e r w i l l be a student's commitment to the i n s t i t u t i o n and the g o a l of c o l l e g e completion. F i n a l l y , a c c o r d i n g to T i n t o , i t i s the i n t e r p l a y between the i n d i v i d u a l ' s dual commitments to the g o a l of c o l l e g e ns o o Q. CO O o Q De 0> E E E o o I c cu E CO 4= o O E E o O <S §3 o E 3 E "•S | c o - O o c 'E o tegra < t I I I I c o CO o 10 l_ o o> CO a> E v W >» CO u E a> TJ re o < .1. CD • a> nanc tual mei • •a nanc o Q. CO CD o • O rfo £ vel CD CD • CL Q • I -t-I I I I Q. in c c • O o >. o Gr t5 "5 TJ I Peer-' ; Intera Fac Intera E 4-1 V) >» CO re o o CO c E E E o o CD CO E Go mmi o O > cl o -rH 4J ns o T i <L) ^ CU tn •H Xi -H 4-) 0 CL 0 XS U O M-4 (U 0 m o 4-) CM 0) -H 17 completion and the i n s t i t u t i o n i t s e l f t h a t determine whether the p a r t i c i p a n t d ecides to drop out or p e r s i s t . 1 T i n t o ' s model d i s t i n g u i s h e s academic from s o c i a l i n t e g r a t i o n . Both were p e r c e i v e d as e q u a l l y important. F u r t h e r , i t i m p l i e s the p o s s i b i l i t y of e x t e r n a l ( i n s t i t u t i o n a l ) i n t e r v e n t i o n s i n t o a student's i n t e g r a t i o n p r o c e s s . In o t h e r words, the model p r o v i d e s space f o r the i n s t i t u t i o n t o help i t s students i n t h e i r i n t e g r a t i o n p r o c e s s . For example, d e v e l o p i n g a good communication network might help s t r e n g t h e n i n t e r a c t i o n s between students and students, as w e l l as between the i n s t i t u t i o n and students. These i n t e r a c t i o n s might, as suggested by the model, a s s i s t students with t h e i r s o c i a l and academic i n t e g r a t i o n . However, although t h i s model r e c o g n i z e s the importance of s o c i a l i n t e g r a t i o n , T i n t o s t r e s s e d o n l y peer-group i n t e r a c t i o n s and f a c u l t y i n t e r a c t i o n s with students. The model i s l i m i t e d as i t simply addresses the i n t e g r a t i o n of students to the on-campus environment. While peer-group and f a c u l t y i n t e r a c t i o n s may be e a s i l y conducted i n c o n v e n t i o n a l f a c e - t o - f a c e education, they are l i m i t e d i n d i s t a n c e education. Furthermore, because the model does not c o n s i d e r or e x p l a i n the i n f l u e n c e s of off-campus s o c i a l systems (such as family) or o t h e r off-campus commitments, i t must be adapted to apply to d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . In d i s t a n c e education, i t i s N o t i c e , the d u a l i t y of p o s s i b i l i t i e s r a i s e d . Dropout i s c o n t r a s t e d a g a i n s t p e r s i s t e n c e , which i s i m p l i c i t l y d e f i n e d as completion of c o u r s e ( s ) . 18 a g i v e n that students study independently at t h e i r own l o c a t i o n s and i n the context of p r i o r commitments. Dropout i n a d u l t education. B o s h i e r developed both an E d u c a t i o n P a r t i c i p a t i o n S c a l e (EPS) and a "Congruence" model of dropout. B o s h i e r ' s (1973) Congruence Model i s based on C a r l Rogers' " s e l f " t heory and was proposed to account f o r a d u l t e d u c a t i o n p a r t i c i p a t i o n and dropout. B o s h i e r b e l i e v e s that dropout i s i n some ways an e x t e n s i o n of n o n - p a r t i c i p a t i o n and t h a t v a r i a b l e s a s s o c i a t e d with one were a l s o a s s o c i a t e d with the o t h e r . A c c o r d i n g to him, " . . . both p a r t i c i p a t i o n and dropout stem from an i n t e r a c t i o n of i n t e r n a l p s y c h o l o g i c a l and e x t e r n a l environmental v a r i a b l e s " (Boshier, 1973, p. 256). His model (Figure 2.2) a s s e r t s that congruence both w i t h i n the p a r t i c i p a n t and between the p a r t i c i p a n t and the e d u c a t i o n a l environment are what determine p a r t i c i p a t i o n / n o n -p a r t i c i p a t i o n and d r o p o u t / p e r s i s t e n c e . The model begins by i d e n t i f y i n g motives f o r p a r t i c i p a t i o n , which he c a t e g o r i z e s as "growth" or " d e f i c i e n c y " - o r i e n t e d . Growth motivated people are d e f i n e d as those who are "expressing r a t h e r than coping" and the behavior of these people i s p r i m a r i l y acted out of "inner" (or i n t r i n s i c ) m o t i v a t i o n s . D e f i c i e n c y - m o t i v a t e d people, on the other hand, are c o n s i d e r e d to be i m p e l l e d by s o c i a l and environmental p r e s s u r e s , and use work and e d u c a t i o n a l a c t i v i t y "more f o r a c h i e v i n g g r a t i f i c a t i o n of lower b a s i c needs, of n e u r o t i c 19 D O Q. 0 01 Q LU O Z LU \ \ \ \ tn CO or LU a. S U B - E N V I R O N M E N T A L M E D I A T I N G V A R I A B L E S S O C I A L & P S Y C H O L O G I C A L M E D I A T I N G V A R I A B L E S O c £ 2 <D CD O) O C C C O O c cu o 0 o o 0 n -#-» w <u o CD 0 CO o o c (U CU CD C O C O CO + + + CD O *= § W D) CD C o o c CD CD O O c CD c CD d E ID O) O) o c c _ o o o o CD "O 3 CD O CD CD3 o o 0 0 0 CO CO CO + + + 0 o cz 0 3 2 " ? — o 0) TJ O 0) U a Q) O U co in QJ -H ,d CO O ffl c o 0 '43 0 o a. 6 8 CN QJ -rH 20 needs, as a means to an end ... or as a response t o c u l t u r a l e x p e c t a t i o n " (Maslow, 1967 c i t e d i n Boshier, 1973, p. 256). In t h i s model, the i n d i v i d u a l p a r t i c i p a n t i s c o n s i d e r e d to be ". . . a u n i f i e d system with two problems: m a i n t a i n i n g i n n e r harmony wit h h i m s e l f [sic] and wit h the environment" (p. 259). A c c o r d i n g t o Boshier, incongruences can develop w i t h i n the person and between the person and h i s / h e r o t h e r - t h a n - s e l f experiences when c o n f r o n t e d w i t h new s i t u a t i o n s . E i t h e r of these l e a d t o a n x i e t y , uneasiness, d i s c o m f o r t , o r u n r e s t . On the o t h e r hand, m a i n t a i n i n g or r e - e s t a b l i s h i n g harmony or congruence produces a sense of s a t i s f a c t i o n or f u l f i l l m e n t . B o s h i e r c l a i m s t h a t when growth-motivated people encounter new s i t u a t i o n s , they seek congruence i n t e r n a l l y ( s e l f / i d e a l ) and e x t e r n a l l y ( s e l f / o t h e r ) and thus develop s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h i n the e d u c a t i o n a l environment. On the other hand, d e f i c i e n c y - m o t i v a t e d people, when they experience i n t r a -s e l f ( s e l f / i d e a l ) incongruence, o f t e n i n t u r n experience s e l f / o t h e r incongruence and thus d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h the edu c a t i o n environment. His model p o s t u l a t e s t h a t p a r t i c i p a t i o n and dropout are f u n c t i o n s of the magnitude of the d i s c r e p a n c y between the p a r t i c i p a n t ' s s e l f concept and key aspects ( l a r g e l y people) w i t h i n the e d u c a t i o n a l environment. F u r t h e r , the model suggests t h a t i t i s these incongruences t h a t mainly i n f l u e n c e student p a r t i c i p a t i o n / n o n -p a r t i c i p a t i o n and d r o p o u t / p e r s i s t e n c e ; other s o c i a l , p s y c h o l o g i c a l , and i n s t i t u t i o n a l v a r i a b l e s t y p i c a l l y d i s c u s s e d i n dropout s t u d i e s appear l e s s i n f l u e n t i a l . Thus, a c c o r d i n g 21 to t h i s model, i f a p a r t i c i p a n t m a nifests i n t r a - s e l f and s e l f / o t h e r congruence, s o c i a l v a r i a b l e s such as age, m a r i t a l s t a t u s , e d u c a t i o n a l q u a l i f i c a t i o n , p l a c e of r e s i d e n c e , p r e v i o u s p a r t i c i p a t i o n , or r e l i g i o n , w i l l be l e s s l i k e l y to t r i g g e r dropout. L i k e T i n t o ' s model which p o s i t s the p o s s i b i l i t y of i n s t i t u t i o n a l supports ( i n t e r v e n t i o n s ) to i n f l u e n c e the l e a r n e r s ' i n t e g r a t i o n process, the Congruence Model seems to suggest t h a t i t i s the i n s t i t u t i o n ' s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t o enhance congruence. N e v e r t h e l e s s , s i n c e the Congruence model was a l s o developed i n the context of c o n v e n t i o n a l ( f a c e - t o - f a c e ) a d u l t programs, i t seems t h a t i t was p r i m a r i l y concerned w i t h the "people" ( s e l f / o t h e r students and s e l f / l e c t u r e r incongruence) aspect of the academic environment, which i s l e s s r e l e v a n t to the d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n academic environment. Thus, some a d a p t a t i o n of the model i s needed i f t h i s model i s to be u s e f u l i n s t u d y i n g p e r s i s t e n c e i n the f i e l d of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . Dropout i n d i s t a n c e education. An e a r l y attempt to understand the phenomenon of dropout i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n was made by Kennedy and Powell (1976). Based on c o n s i d e r a b l e e m p i r i c a l r e s e a r c h , they a s s e r t e d t h a t the phenomenon had to be i n v e s t i g a t e d from two g e n e r a l a s p e c t s : the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of students (e.g., t h e i r m o t i v a t i o n s , ages, etc.) and t h e i r circumstances (e.g., f i n a n c i a l s i t u a t i o n s ) . A c c o r d i n g to them, a student's p r o f i l e i s composed l a r g e l y of e i t h e r : 22 (1) c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , which are constant (e.g., p r e v i o u s e d u c a t i o n a l background) or s u b j e c t to slow change ( i . e . , m o t i v a t i o n , stage of a d u l t development, e d u c a t i o n a l background, p e r s o n a l i t y , a p t i t u d e , and e d u c a t i o n a l s e l f -c o n cept); o r (2) circumstances, which are s u b j e c t t o r a p i d , indeed almost o v e r n i g h t , change ( i . e . , o c cupation, r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h f a m i l y and peer group, h e a l t h , f i n a n c e , and support from i n s t i t u t i o n ) . T h e i r model (Figure 2.3) i s based on the cases of fo u r students as d e s c r i b e d by the c o u n s e l l o r s . They b e l i e v e d t h a t , although there was room f o r some poor and mistaken judgement by c o u n s e l l o r s , the l e v e l of v a l i d i t y of the data (the information) was f a r h i g h e r than i f the i n f o r m a t i o n had been o b t a i n e d from the students themselves. F i g u r e 2.3 d e p i c t s a two-dimensional model of the " l e a r n e r s at r i s k " s i t u a t i o n s . The model i m p l i e s that . . . while a l l students are fa c e d w i t h the task of performing a b a l a n c i n g a ct wit h opposing p r e s s u r e s and demands on t h e i r time and energy, some students ( i . e . those w i t h weaker c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ) are more v u l n e r a b l e than o t h e r s . (Kennedy and Powell, 1976, p. 70) A c c o r d i n g t o the model, the s t r o n g e r the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of students, the more u n l i k e l y i s an i n c r e a s e i n p r e s s u r e to upset t h e i r e q u i l i b r i u m . In oth e r words, . . . the movement of [a] student from a p o s i t i o n of r e l a t i v e s e c u r i t y i n h i s s t u d i e s w i t h the Open U n i v e r s i t y t o an 'at r i s k ' s i t u a t i o n i s l i k e l y to be Strong Chi Weak sect uracteristics iritv of Strong Circumstances s t DROP-OUT AT RISK Wea j dy Circumstances c Characteristics Figure 2.3. Kennedy & Powell's model of dropout i n distance education. 24 h o r i z o n t a l and from r i g h t t o l e f t on the diagram as c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ( v e r t i c a l movement) tend t o be f a i r l y constant, (p. 70) T h i s model, although s i m p l e r than T i n t o ' s and B o s h i e r ' s , appears t o g i v e equal weight to both i n n e r p s y c h o l o g i c a l v a r i a b l e s ( c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ) and oth e r e x t e r n a l v a r i a b l e s ( c i r c u m s t a n c e s ) . For example, the model suggests t h a t weaker students (those who are most at r i s k of dropping out) can be helped by s t r e n g t h e n i n g the circumstances (e.g., by p r o v i d i n g them wi t h support from the i n s t i t u t i o n ) . F u r t h e r , the model a l s o suggests t h a t i f a student had s t r o n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , weak circumstances w i l l not put him/her i n the p o s i t i o n of being at r i s k t o drop out. T h i s model i s r e l a t i v e l y weak i n terms of i t s v a l i d i t y and g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y . Although Kennedy and Powell b e l i e v e d t h a t c o u n s e l l o r s ' judgements were b e t t e r than student responses i n d e p i c t i n g students' c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , they never t e s t e d t h i s b e l i e f . Since they o n l y used f o u r cases, they c o u l d have, f o r example, c r o s s checked the v a l i d i t y of the c o u n s e l l o r s ' judgements by i n t e r v i e w i n g the co r r e s p o n d i n g students. F u r t h e r , because the model was based on o n l y f o u r cases, i t s g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y t o other p o p u l a t i o n s s t i l l needs to be t e s t e d . Moreover, the model u n c r i t i c a l l y adopted a p e j o r a t i v e d i s c o u r s e u s i n g the terms s t r o n g and weak f o r c a t e g o r i z a t i o n of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and circumstances. Another attempt to understand dropout i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n was made by Kember (198 9). U n l i k e Kennedy and 25 Powell, who based t h e i r model on e m p i r i c a l data, Kember developed a model based on e x i s t i n g models i n the l i t e r a t u r e . As d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r , T i n t o ' s model of dropout s t r e s s e s the s o c i a l systems of the peer-group i n t e r a c t i o n and f a c u l t y i n t e r a c t i o n . While these i n t e r a c t i o n s may be e a s i l y conducted and are a b i g p a r t of c o n v e n t i o n a l f a c e - t o - f a c e education, they are l i m i t e d i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n where students independently l e a r n at t h e i r own paces i n d i f f e r e n t l o c a t i o n s . Kember (1989) m o d i f i e s T i n t o 1 s model and proposes a model of dropout f o r d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n which c o n s i d e r s t h i s d i f f e r e n c e (Figure 2.4). Kember's model i s a l s o based on the s i x elements of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n l i s t e d by Keegan (1980). These s i x elements are: (1) the s e p a r a t i o n of teacher and l e a r n e r ; (2) the i n f l u e n c e of an e d u c a t i o n a l o r g a n i z a t i o n ; (3) the use of t e c h n i c a l media, u s u a l l y p r i n t ; (4) the p r o v i s i o n of two-way communication; (5) the p o s s i b i l i t y ' o f o c c a s i o n a l meetings; and (6) the p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n an i n d u s t r i a l i z e d form of education, which i s the use of mass-pre-produced l e a r n i n g m a t e r i a l s as the t e a c h i n g - l e a r n i n g media. The main d i f f e r e n c e between Kember's and T i n t o ' s model i s i n the i n c l u s i o n of work background and work environment. Kember c o n s i d e r s t h i s c r u c i a l because most students of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n are a d u l t s who u s u a l l y are employees. Therefore, i t i s not o n l y t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l a t t r i b u t e s , f a m i l y backgrounds, and e d u c a t i o n a l experiences t h a t are important; t h e i r work circumstances must a l s o be taken i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n . 27 As d e p i c t e d i n F i g u r e 2.4, g o a l commitments can be e i t h e r i n t r i n s i c o r e x t r i n s i c . I n t r i n s i c m o t i v a t i o n i s understood as the i n t e r e s t students have i n the s u b j e c t matter f o r i t s own sake, while e x t r i n s i c m o t i v a t i o n i s concerned w i t h the students' commitment to o b t a i n i n g a q u a l i f i c a t i o n . These m o t i v a t i o n s are s i m i l a r to T i n t o ' s d e f i n i t i o n of g o a l and i n s t i t u t i o n a l commitments. T h i s model a l s o i n c l u d e s components which measure the i n t e g r a t i o n of students i n t o the academic way of l i f e , and the e f f e c t s of the academic i n t r u s i o n i n t o the student's f a m i l y , work, and s o c i a l l i f e . Thus, t h i s model p r o v i d e s an e x t e n s i o n of T i n t o ' s academic and s o c i a l i n t e g r a t i o n to i n c l u d e work i n t e g r a t i o n . T h i s l o n g i t u d i n a l model p r o v i d e s a way to i n t e r p r e t the e f f e c t of a course and i n s t i t u t i o n a l support s e r v i c e s f o r the student, and the degree to which study i s compatible w i t h the student's l i f e s t y l e . I t a l s o r e c o g n i z e s the p o t e n t i a l impact of i n t e r v e n t i o n s by the i n s t i t u t i o n and events i n the student's l i f e , r a t h e r than merely r e l a t e the n o n - p e r s i s t e n c e behavior to a set of a p p a r e n t l y pre-determined v a r i a b l e s . In Kember's model, the academic environment i n c l u d e s a l l f a c e t s of the o f f e r i n g of the d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n course of study by the i n s t i t u t i o n . Included are the study packages mailed to the student, i n t e r a c t i o n v i a assignments, any t u t o r i a l a s s i s t a n c e p r o v i d e d , and any other i n t e r a c t i o n s between student and i n s t i t u t i o n of e i t h e r an academic or a d m i n i s t r a t i v e nature. 28 T h i s model, l i k e T i n t o 1 s , does not emphasize the impact of i n n e r p s y c h o l o g i c a l v a r i a b l e s (such as s e l f - e s t e e m and p e r c e p t i o n of s e l f / o t h e r congruence/incongruence suggested by B o s h i e r ' s Congruence model) on the behavior of dropout. Rather, the s t r e s s i s put on the a b i l i t y of students to i n t e g r a t e the academic environment i n t o t h e i r o t h e r commitments. In a way, t h i s model i s a k i n to Kennedy and Powell's, which suggests there i s an o p p o r t u n i t y f o r p r e v e n t i n g students from g e t t i n g i n t o the "at r i s k " p o s i t i o n by s t r e n g t h e n i n g t h e i r (academic) circumstances. Kember's model has r e c e n t l y been a p p l i e d as the framework f o r p r e d i c t i n g student progress i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n programs i n Hong Kong (Kember, L a i , Murphy, Siaw and Yuen, 19 94). In t h i s study, a p r e v i o u s l y developed D i s t a n c e E d u c a t i o n Student Progress (DESP) instrument was employed to measure student demographic v a r i a b l e s , as w e l l as two areas of Kember's model, s o c i a l and academic i n t e g r a t i o n . S o c i a l i n t e g r a t i o n i n the DESP i s measured i n terms of p o s i t i v e and n e g a t i v e s o c i a l v a r i a b l e s . The p o s i t i v e ones, known as emotional encouragement i n c l u d e enrollment encouragement, study encouragement, and f a m i l y support. The negative ones, known as e x t e r n a l a t t r i b u t i o n v a r i a b l e s i n c l u d e i n s u f f i c i e n t time, events h i n d e r i n g study, d i s t r a c t i o n s and the t h r e a t of p o t e n t i a l dropout. Academic i n t e g r a t i o n i s measured on a s i m i l a r s c a l e , where p o s i t i v e "academic accommodation" v a r i a b l e s i n c l u d e a deep approach to studying, i n t r i n s i c m o t i v a t i o n , p o s i t i v e impression of the course, 29 p o s i t i v e telephone c o u n s e l i n g and steady r e a d i n g h a b i t s . "Academic i n c o m p a t i b i l i t y " v a r i a b l e s , i n t u r n , c o n s i s t of a s u r f a c e approach to studying, e x t r i n s i c m o t i v a t i o n , n e g a t i v e impression of the course, l a c k of E n g l i s h a b i l i t y and t h r e a t of dropout. In the study, outcome v a r i a b l e s are GPA as a measure of academic achievement and " f a i l r a t i o " ( p r o p o r t i o n of modules/courses f a i l e d out of the number of modules attempted) as a measure of student dropout. On each statement r e p r e s e n t i n g s o c i a l and academic i n t e g r a t i o n , students i n the Hong Kong study were asked to respond u s i n g a f i v e - p o i n t L i k e r t s c a l e from D e f i n i t e l y Agree to D e f i n i t e l y D isagree. Based on a survey of 555 students e n r o l l e d i n a range of courses i n a r t s , s c i e n c e and b u s i n e s s o f f e r e d by the Open Le a r n i n g I n s t i t u t e of Hong Kong (OLIHK) and i n two upgrading courses f o r t e a c h e r s and c o u n s e l o r s , the r e s e a r c h e r s concluded t h a t s o c i a l and academic i n t e g r a t i o n (as r e f o r m u l a t e d f o r the context of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n i n Hong Kong) a c t e d as i n t e r v e n i n g v a r i a b l e s , which i n t u r n were l i n k e d t o the outcome measures. They b e l i e v e d , as suggested by Kember's model, t h a t e n t r y c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s [demographic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ] should be seen as i n f l u e n c e s upon the s o c i a l and academic i n t e g r a t i o n v a r i a b l e s r a t h e r than d i r e c t p r e d i c t o r s of student progress and p e r s i s t e n c e , (p. 298) Thus, demographic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , as p o s t u l a t e d by the mo'del, were l i k e l y t o i n f l u e n c e the ease w i t h which students 30 were ab l e to achieve s o c i a l and academic i n t e g r a t i o n . Those i n f a v o r a b l e s i t u a t i o n s ( c a t e g o r i z e d as s t r o n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s by Kennedy and Powell) might f i n d i t r e l a t i v e l y easy to i n t e g r a t e p a r t - t i m e study i n t o t h e i r schedule of work, f a m i l y and s o c i a l commitments. T h i s would help those students accommodate the academic demands of t h e i r course. On the other hand, those i n a n e g a t i v e s i t u a t i o n , who r e c e i v e d l e s s support or e x p e r i e n c e d g r e a t e r d i f f i c u l t i e s i n home, f a m i l y and s o c i a l environments (weak c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ) were l i k e l y to have d i f f i c u l t y a d a pting to the demands and conventions of academic requirements and were at g r e a t e r r i s k of dropping out. In the Hong Kong study, the r e s e a r c h e r s concluded that because s o c i a l and academic i n t e g r a t i o n were i n t e r v e n i n g v a r i a b l e s , students c o u l d s h i f t from being i n weak s i t u a t i o n s to b e i ng i n p o s i t i v e ones wi t h the i n s t i t u t i o n ' s a s s i s t a n c e . Such a s s i s t a n c e would i n c l u d e making students aware of time requirements and the nature of academic demands b e f o r e a course began. And once the course had s t a r t e d , the i n t e g r a t i o n process c o u l d be f a c i l i t a t e d by enhancing both c o l l e c t i v e a f f i l i a t i o n (a sense of belonging) and normative congruence (a sense of f a m i l i a r i t y with system's v a l u e s ) . Common elements i n e x i s t i n g models. A l l models, r e g a r d l e s s of t h e i r d i f f e r e n c e s , c o n c e p t u a l i z e dropout as a phenomenon which can be understood through an a n a l y s i s of the i n t e r a c t i o n between i n d i v i d u a l p a r t i c i p a n t s and t h e i r 31 environments. T i n t o (1975) and B o s h i e r (1973) s t r e s s the involvement of the i n d i v i d u a l w i t h the academic environment, while Kennedy and Powell (1976), as w e l l as Kember (1989), a l s o emphasize the importance of the f a m i l y and work environments. D e s p i t e the d i f f e r e n c e s i n terms used, a l l the models argue t h a t the more compatible the p a r t i c i p a n t ' s p e r s o n a l s i t u a t i o n ( i n c l u d i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , s e l f - e s t e e m , and background circumstances) are w i t h the academic circumstances, the h i g h e r the l i k e l i h o o d of p e r s i s t e n c e . Most i m p o r t a n t l y , a l l models imply t h a t the student i n t e g r a t i o n p rocess can be i n f l u e n c e d and f a c i l i t a t e d by i n s t i t u t i o n a l i n t e r v e n t i o n s . W i t h i n the context of d i s t a n c e education, i n which non-academic circumstances p l a y and or have a p r o b a b l y h i g h e r r o l e / i n f l u e n c e on students' s t u d y i n g processes than i n t r a d i t i o n a l f a c e - t o - f a c e education, i t i s important to understand the complexity of the phenomenon beyond students' academic (on campus) circumstances. Although a l l models imply the e x i s t e n c e of these off-campus aspects, o n l y Kember.'s model e x p l i c i t l y address them. By i n c l u d i n g the s o c i a l / w o r k environment, Kember r e q u i r e s t h a t i t be p a r t of one's a n a l y s i s . T h e r e f o r e , Kember's model i s considered- to be most s u i t a b l e f o r understanding the p e r s i s t e n c e phenomenon i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n and was used as the b a s i s f o r understanding the nature of p e r s i s t e n c e w i t h i n UT's context. 32 D e f i n i t i o n and Measurement of Dropout Two formulas f o r measuring dropout t h a t have been w i d e l y used are the T o t a l Enrollment Formula (TEF) and the N a t i o n a l U n i v e r s i t y E x t e n s i o n (NUEA) formula (Coldeway and Spencer, 1980). The TEF d e f i n e s dropout as the percentage of course completers out of the t o t a l enrollment, while the NUEA formula d e f i n e s i t as the percentage of course completers out of the t o t a l enrollment who s t a r t the course ( i . e . , i t excludes the n o n - s t a r t e r s ) . A p p l y i n g e i t h e r of these two formulas t o c a l c u l a t e dropout r a t e s i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n i s p r o b l e m a t i c . These two d e f i n i t i o n s measure dropout at the end of the l e a r n i n g / s t u d y p e r i o d , such as at the end of the semester/term o r the end of the program. Thus wi t h these formulas, students are c a t e g o r i z e d i n t o two groups: those who complete and those who do not (Wong, 1987). D i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n students do not u s u a l l y i n i t i a l l y d e c l a r e e i t h e r t h e i r u l t i m a t e g o a l s or the p e r i o d over which they i n t e n d t o spread t h e i r study. Thus, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to decide whether non-completion means merely an i n t e r r u p t i o n or a stoppage of study (Holmberg, 1977). Indeed, some students may take courses without the i n t e n t i o n of g e t t i n g c r e d i t s . As a r e s u l t , d i s t a n c e educators u s u a l l y d e f i n e and measure dropout i n v a r i o u s other ways. Woodley and P a r l e t t (1983), f o r example, proposed f o u r measures of performance which are: (1) non-completion of f i n a l r e g i s t r a t i o n (the 33 percentage of new e n r o l l e e s who do not complete the f i n a l r e g i s t r a t i o n ) ; (2) withdrawal r a t e (the percentage of students who r e g i s t e r but do not s i t f o r the end-of-year examination); (3) f a i l u r e r a t e (the percentage of students who s i t f o r the end-of-year examination but do not g a i n a course c r e d i t due to f a i l u r e ) ; and (4) o v e r a l l wastage r a t e (the percentage of students who r e g i s t e r but do not g a i n a course c r e d i t f o r reasons i n c l u d i n g withdrawal and f a i l u r e ) . Roberts (1984) proposes three o t h e r approaches t o measuring dropout i n d i s t a n c e education. A c c o r d i n g t o Roberts, t o make student dropout measurement easy t o maintain and u s e f u l f o r purposes of comparison, the term dropout has to apply t o th r e e c l a s s e s of students. These are: (1) those who inform the i n s t i t u t i o n t h a t they no l o n g e r wish t o con t i n u e ; (2) those who are prevented from c o n t i n u i n g by the i n s t i t u t i o n because of f a i l u r e t o s a t i s f y r e g u l a t i o n s , such as not meeting academic standards; and (3) those who disappear and f a i l to respond t o a l l forms of f o l l o w up procedures i n s t i g a t e d by the i n s t i t u t i o n . A c c o r d i n g to Roberts, students who request and are granted leave by the i n s t i t u t i o n t o d i s c o n t i n u e t h e i r s t u d i e s f o r a g i v e n p e r i o d of time are not dropouts and should be excluded from the d e f i n i t i o n . Wong (1987) b e l i e v e s that simply c a t e g o r i z i n g students as e i t h e r completers or dropouts i s not s u f f i c i e n t f o r the purpose of r e s e a r c h : S u r e l y , someone who completes more than 80 per c e n t of the course should f a l l i n t o a d i f f e r e n t c a t e g o r y 34 from someone who completes t en per c e n t . (Wong, 1987, p. 5) The r e f o r e , he argues t h a t a more dynamic and p r e c i s e measure of completion i s needed, one that c o u l d show completion r a t e at each p o i n t of the course f o r each student. Wong i s i n t e r e s t e d not o n l y i n completion, but i n student performance. A c c o r d i n g t o him, completion r a t e , grades, and d e v i a t i o n s (time\taken by students t o submit the assignments) a l l d e s c r i b e student performance; together w i t h turnaround (time taken t o r e t u r n marked assignment t o s t u d e n t s ) , they p r o v i d e a comprehensive and p r e c i s e p r o f i l e of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n program outcomes. Based on h i s study of 773 correspondence students e n r o l l e d at The Chinese U n i v e r s i t y of Hong Kong f o r the 1984 Summer Se s s i o n , Wong found that with each element of outcome (completion, d e v i a t i o n , grades and turnaround), i t was p o s s i b l e t o measure student performance throughout the course. As such, h i s study p r o v i d e d an instrument t o look at what was happening at v a r i o u s stages of the d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n courses, so t h a t n e c e s s a r y a c t i o n s ( i n t e r v e n t i o n s ) c o u l d be taken to prevent students from dropping out. Compared t o the TEF and NUEA formulas, the l a t t e r d e f i n i t i o n s and measurements (Woodley and P a r l e t t , 1983; Roberts, 1984; Wong, 1987) seem t o be more s u i t a b l e f o r the d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n context. D i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n has the dimension of "openness," t h a t i s i t seeks to l i f t the demographic, economic and time b a r r i e r s i n h e r e n t i n 3 5 conventional f a c e - t o - f a c e education. As dropout i s a measurement r e l a t e d to a s p e c i f i c " l e a r n i n g process" w i t h i n a p a r t i c u l a r time frame, by conception, dropout seems to be c o n t r a d i c t o r y to the dimension of openness intended by some distance e d u c a t i o n a l programs. In the context of l i f e - l o n g l e a r n i n g , students at any poin t should be able to continue t h e i r l e a r n i n g process. Therefore, as long as students l i v e , there w i l l always be a p o s s i b i l i t y of c o n t i n u a t i o n . Thus, the concept of dropout as used and measured i n much of the l i t e r a t u r e i s problematic f o r the context of t h i s study. However, some k i n d of measurements s t i l l need to be defined and conducted. Due to the uniqueness of d i s t a n c e education, perhaps a more u s e f u l focus than measuring "dropout" i s a focus on "per s i s t e n c e . " For the purpose of preventing students from " t o t a l l y dropping out," student performance throughout a course can be monitored and addressed. E a r l y r e c o g n i t i o n of p o t e n t i a l n o n - p e r s i s t e r s (such as students who do not s i t the examinations or who have low grades) can be h e l p f u l i n warning the i n s t i t u t i o n to i n i t i a t e a c t i o n s to encourage the students to p e r s i s t and continue. Reasons f o r and V a r i a b l e s Related to Dropout i n Distance Education To provide t h i s k i n d of e a r l y warning to the i n s t i t u t i o n about students whose p e r s i s t e n c e i s i n doubt, i t i s h e l p f u l to 36 review the broad and d e t a i l e d r e s e a r c h devoted to e x p l o r i n g reasons f o r and v a r i a b l e s r e l a t e d to dropout s p e c i f i c a l l y i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . Such a review may r e v e a l m u l t i p l e v a r i a b l e s ( f a c t o r s ) that are r e l a t e d to students' d e c i s i o n s about dropping out, and may a l s o show whether any of those v a r i a b l e s are consonant w i t h those suggested by the p r e v i o u s l y d i s c u s s e d models concerning dropout. The review of t h i s phenomenon i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n s t a r t s w i t h s t u d i e s t h a t e x p l o r e the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between student p e r s i s t e n c e / d r o p o u t and v a r i a b l e s r e l a t e d to student background c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , m o t i v a t i o n a l / p s y c h o l o g i c a l , and academic and non-academic f a c t o r s ( B a r t e l s , 1982; Woodley and P a r l e t t , 1983; Gatz, 1985; Sweet, 1986; T a y l o r et a l . , 1986); Wong, 1987; M a r d i a n i , 1988; and W i h a r d i t , 1988). Next, i t focuses on the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between dropout and l e a r n i n g s t y l e (Thompson, 1984 and Knox, 1987). The review c l o s e s by d i s c u s s i n g Paul's 1990 study, which c o n c e n t r a t e s on a n a l y s i s of i n s t i t u t i o n a l f a c t o r s t h a t c o n t r i b u t e to l a c k of p e r s i s t e n c e i n programs (Paul, 1990). I n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , and academic and s o c i a l environments. Based on q u e s t i o n n a i r e s completed by withdrawn students at the end of academic years, B a r t e l s (1982) analyzed the dropout problems at the D i s t a n c e U n i v e r s i t y Department of F e r n u n i v e r s i t a e t , Germany. The a n a l y s i s was s p e c i f i c a l l y based on q u e s t i o n n a i r e s completed by f u l l - t i m e and p a r t - t i m e students whose aim was to get a degree. Dropout students were 37 d e f i n e d as those who had g i v e n up t h e i r s t u d i e s at the D i s t a n c e U n i v e r s i t y a l t o g e t h e r p l u s those who had changed t h e i r course of s t u d i e s from t h a t f o r which they i n i t i a l l y r e g i s t e r e d . The r e s u l t s of analyses showed that dropout was s i g n i f i c a n t l y r e l a t e d to s c h o o l e d u c a t i o n b e f o r e e n t e r i n g the D i s t a n c e U n i v e r s i t y , as w e l l as to gender and age. B a r t e l s found t h a t students of Mathematics, f o r example, who d i d not have a formal entrance q u a l i f i c a t i o n d i s c o n t i n u e d t h e i r s t u d i e s q u i c k l y . He a l s o found that women students u s u a l l y d i s c o n t i n u e d t h e i r s t u d i e s more f r e q u e n t l y than male students. F i n a l l y , he found that the o l d e r the p a r t - t i m e students, the lower the dropout r a t e . H i s a n a l y s i s of f a c t o r s a f f e c t i n g dropout r e s u l t e d i n the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of s e v e r a l d i s t i n c t i v e f a c t o r s : work load, d e a d l i n e s , support s e r v i c e s , and student's p e r s o n a l incompetencies. The e f f e c t of those f a c t o r s on students' dropout was a r a t h e r i n t e g r a t e d one: The t r i p l e s t r e s s caused by v o c a t i o n a l commitment, f a m i l y and study proved to be too g r e a t and, moreover, unexpected. Often, too, the p r i n t e d study m a t e r i a l c o u l d not be mastered w i t h i n the p e r i o d s set by the u n i v e r s i t y . In a d d i t i o n , the f a c t t h a t a student has to study i n i s o l a t i o n a l s o p l a y s an e s s e n t i a l p a r t i n dropping-out ( B a r t e l s , 1982, p. 8) . Woodley and P a r l e t t (1983) i n v e s t i g a t e d the reasons why students drop out from d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n i n the B r i t i s h Open U n i v e r s i t y . Based on i n f o r m a t i o n which had been c o l l e c t e d 38 d u r i n g more than ten years of study, they found t h a t dropout was a s s o c i a t e d w i t h v a r i o u s f a c t o r s such as: (1) course f a c t o r s (design, workload, l e v e l of d i f f i c u l t y , e x p e c t a t i o n of the content, broadcast, t u i t i o n , and other f a c t o r s such as l a t e m a i l i n g s , ambiguous assessment q u e s t i o n s , frequent e r r a t a i n course m a t e r i a l s , and f a u l t y home experiment k i t s ) ; (2) study environment f a c t o r s (personal/domestic, work, f i n a n c i a l support, l a c k of encouragement by spouse or employer, l o s s of q u i e t p l a c e to s t u d y ) ; (3) m o t i v a t i o n a l f a c t o r s (goal achieved, g o a l changed, g o a l met b e t t e r elsewhere, l a c k of impetus--student needs r e s t or time w i t h f a m i l y a f t e r s e v e r a l years of open u n i v e r s i t y study, poor grades, never wanted c r e d i t ) ; and (4) o t h e r f a c t o r s ( f e a r of exams, heavy workload caused by e n r o l l i n g f o r too many courses, a d m i n i s t r a t i v e e r r o r s , a c c i d e n t s such as r e g i s t e r i n g f o r the wrong course, t u r n i n g up on the wrong day f o r the exam, e f f e c t s of r e c e i v i n g a d e c i s i o n on e n t i t l e m e n t to c r e d i t exemptions). They a l s o i n v e s t i g a t e d whether c e r t a i n types of students were more l i k e l y t o drop out than o t h e r s . U n l i k e B a r t e l s , they found t h a t men were more l i k e l y than women to drop out (33% vs. 2 7%). Among new students, the curve was approximately U-shaped wi t h the young ( l e s s than 2 9 years old) and the o l d (over 50 years old) more l i k e l y t o drop-out. With regard to p r e v i o u s e d u c a t i o n a l q u a l i f i c a t i o n s , the lower a person's p r e v i o u s e d u c a t i o n a l q u a l i f i c a t i o n s , the more l i k e l y he or she was to drop out. They a l s o found a h i g h wastage r a t e among those i n manual occupations, the r e t i r e d and 39 unemployed, and those i n i n s t i t u t i o n s such as p r i s o n s and h o s p i t a l s . Based on those f i n d i n g s , they concluded t h a t dropout i s r e l a t e d t o such v a r i a b l e s as sex, occupation, e d u c a t i o n a l q u a l i f i c a t i o n s , and c h o i c e of course. They c o n t i n u e d to say t h a t i n t r y i n g t o understand why some students p e r s i s t w h i le o t h e r s drop out, one must acknowledge the complex i n t e r p l a y of c e r t a i n 'push' and ' p u l l ' f a c t o r s . Push f a c t o r s encourage students to continue, while p u l l f a c t o r s l e a d t o withdrawal. The push f a c t o r s a r e : wants degree t o get promotion, l i k e s t o f i n i s h something s t a r t e d , v e r y i n t e r e s t e d i n the s u b j e c t matter, spouse was v e r y encouraging, allowed time o f f f o r summer s c h o o l . The push f a c t o r s were: wants to spend more time w i t h f a m i l y , course was v e r y d i f f i c u l t , f e e s were high, doesn't l i k e course t u t o r , p a r t time degree course a v a i l a b l e nearby. Dropout occurs when the p u l l f a c t o r s outweigh the push f a c t o r s . F i n a l l y , they suggest that f o r r e s e a r c h to help i n r e d u c i n g dropout, experimental r e s e a r c h on s t r a t e g i e s to reduce student dropout c o u l d be more v i g o r o u s l y t r i e d on c e r t a i n courses and i n c e r t a i n r e g i o n s . Gatz (1985) b e l i e v e s that the examination of reasons f o r student dropout have been h e a v i l y focused on r e a c t i o n a l , comparative and i n f e r e n t i a l methods. He argues t h a t r e a c t i o n a l s t u d i e s are flawed because, due to the n e g a t i v e co n n o t a t i o n s of dropout, students had a tendency to g i v e o u t s i d e reasons as causes, r a t h e r than a s s e s s i n g themselves. A l s o , he c l a i m s t h a t i t i s , at the l e a s t , d i f f i c u l t f o r 40 students to t r a n s l a t e the complexity of reasons they i d e n t i f y as causes f o r dropout. Of the three types of methods, Gatz f i n d s i n f e r e n t i a l methods, which p r o v i d e d e s c r i p t i v e ( q u a l i t a t i v e ) i n f o r m a t i o n , are the most a p p r o p r i a t e f o r an understanding of dropout. Using i n f e r e n t i a l methods, Gatz i n t e r v i e w e d 45 correspondence study students at Indiana U n i v e r s i t y over the telephone. Each i n t e r v i e w took, on the average, 45 minutes. Based on these i n t e r v i e w s , he found t h a t f a c t o r s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h completion and a t t r i t i o n were composed of f i v e major dimensions: (1) s i g n i f i c a n c e and r e l a t i v e advantage of course to the student's g o a l ; (2) a p p r o p r i a t e n e s s of the independent l e a r n i n g method; (3) f e a s i b i l i t y i n time; (4) i n t e g r a t i o n with i n t e r e s t s and background of the students; and (5) accommodation of the student's l e a r n i n g s t y l e . I t i s h e l p f u l t o d e t a i l each of these dimensions. The f i r s t dimension i n c l u d e s c l a r i t y about the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the course to student's i n t e r e s t , urgency of the course and s t r e n g t h of the importance of the course to the achievement of the g o a l . The second dimension i s r e l a t e d t o the a p p r o p r i a t e n e s s of an independent method f o r the student's p e r s o n a l study needs ( i n c l u d i n g academic achievement, guidance, and d i s c u s s i o n needs), and how these needs were f a c i l i t a t e d by the study environment and the nature of the course. The t h i r d dimension, i s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the student's a t t i t u d e and the w i l l i n g n e s s to devote time to study. T h i s i s a l s o r e l a t e d t o the f a c t t h at students have ot h e r 41 r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s t h a t l i m i t t h e i r time f o r s t u d i e s . The f o u r t h dimension concerns the i n t e r p l a y between p e r s o n a l i n i t i a l i n t e r e s t s (reasons f o r entry) and the a v a i l a b i l i t y of study r e s o u r c e s (study m a t e r i a l s or content of the course and e x p e r t s ) . And f i n a l l y , the f i f t h dimension r e f e r s t o the accommodation of the student's l e a r n i n g s t y l e v i a l e a r n i n g supports and i n s t r u c t i o n a l d e s i g n of the course. A year l a t e r , Sweet (1986) t e s t e d the a p p l i c a t i o n of T i n t o ' s dropout model i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . H i s data were c o l l e c t e d from 356 students who e n r o l l e d i n courses under the B r i t i s h Columbia's Open L e a r n i n g I n s t i t u t e d u r i n g September and November, 1982. Due to the nature of d i s t a n c e education, he m o d i f i e d some measurements of the v a r i a b l e s i n c l u d e d i n the model. For example, to measure academic i n t e g r a t i o n , he found i t necessary to i n c l u d e a measure of student involvement with, and r e a c t i o n to the package of l e a r n i n g m a t e r i a l s students r e c e i v e d through the m a i l s i n a d d i t i o n t o the student grade p o i n t average and students' p e r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r course performance. Using d i s c r i m i n a n t a n a l y s i s , Sweet showed t h a t the v a r i a b l e s i n T i n t o ' s model were able to p r e d i c t p e r s i s t e n c e and t o c o r r e c t l y c l a s s i f y completers (40%) and non-completers (60%), d e s p i t e the f a c t t h a t key elements i n T i n t o ' s model had to be m o d i f i e d to s u i t the d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n s i t u a t i o n . The r e s u l t showed t h a t , f o r the most p a r t , r e l a t i o n s h i p s among model v a r i a b l e s were c o n s i s t e n t with T i n t o ' s t h e o r e t i c a l e x p e c t a t i o n s . Goal s a t i s f a c t i o n and i n s t i t u t i o n a l commitment 42 (measured by the i n t e n t i o n t o r e - e n r o l i n an OLT course w i t h i n a year) were found t o have d i r e c t e f f e c t s on p e r s i s t e n c e , and, as a n t i c i p a t e d f o r d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n students, g o a l s a t i s f a c t i o n (as an a t t i t u d e o r i e n t a t i o n ) e x e r t e d the s t r o n g e s t i n f l u e n c e . Sweet a l s o found t h a t academic and s o c i a l i n t e g r a t i o n v a r i a b l e s had d i r e c t e f f e c t s on go a l s a t i s f a c t i o n and i n s t i t u t i o n a l commitment, r e s p e c t i v e l y . The complete r e s u l t s of Sweet's study are d e p i c t e d i n F i g u r e 2.5. However, Sweet's f i n d i n g s must be i n t e r p r e t e d c a u t i o u s l y . I d e a l l y , data f o r a process study l i k e t h i s s hould be gathered both when the students e n t e r the program and throughout the semester. That way, both students' e x p e c t a t i o n s and p e r c e p t i o n s c o u l d be measured independently from t h e i r achievements. However, i n t h i s study, a l l but the demographic v a r i a b l e s were c o l l e c t e d a f t e r the semester ended. Therefore, the d i r e c t r e l a t i o n s h i p between grade e x p e c t a t i o n and p e r c e i v e d academic performance may be m i s l e a d i n g because e v e r y t h i n g students' f e l t at the p o i n t when the data were c o l l e c t e d must have had been i n f l u e n c e d by t h e i r e x p e r i e n c e s . Furthermore, as seen i n F i g u r e 2.5, o n l y 19% of the v a r i a n c e i n course p e r s i s t e n c e b e h a v i o r c o u l d be e x p l a i n e d by the v a r i a b l e s i n the model. A l s o u s i n g T i n t o ' s model, T a y l o r et a l . (1986) conducted a c r o s s - c u l t u r a l m u l t i - i n s t i t u t i o n a l study on student p e r s i s t e n c e i n d i s t a n c e education. T h e i r study was based on T i n t o ' s model and Rekkedal's f i n d i n g s i n NKI-Skolen Norway (d i s c u s s e d i n a l a t e r s e c t i o n ) which suggested t h a t dropout 44 r a t e s c o u l d be reduced by lowering the turnaround time. The turn-around time i n t h i s study was d e f i n e d as the time from the moment the student mailed i n the homework assignment f o r a study u n i t u n t i l i t was r e c e i v e d by the student w i t h the t u t o r ' s c o r r e c t i o n s and comments (Rekkedal, 1983a; Rekkedal, 1983b). S p e c i f i c a l l y , T a y l o r et a l . used t h i s turn-around time as a v a r i a b l e i n examining the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between p e r s i s t e n c e u n t i l the end of each study u n i t ("unit l e v e l " ) and f a c t o r s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h s o c i a l and academic i n t e g r a t i o n , as w e l l as the i n f l u e n c e of age and gender on p e r s i s t e n c e . S o c i a l and academic i n t e g r a t i o n were measured by the turnaround time, feedback i n t e r v a l and the number of a d d i t i o n a l c o n t a c t s between student and i n s t i t u t i o n beyond those demanded by the submission of assignments. The turn-around time i n t h i s study was d e f i n e d as the e l a p s e d time ( i n days) from m a i l i n g an assignment to r e c e i v i n g the commented on and/or c o r r e c t e d assignment, whereas the feedback i n t e r v a l was d e f i n e d as "... the e l a p s e d time ( i n days) between the r e c e i p t of feedback on c o n s e c u t i v e w r i t t e n assignments" (Taylor et a l . , 1986, p. 77). P e r s i s t e n c e was measured i n terms of whether a student completed a l l the r e q u i r e d assignments f o r the s e l e c t e d u n i t of study. T h i s approach was chosen because of the d i f f i c u l t y of g e t t i n g s i m i l a r courses or programs i n the f i v e i n s t i t u t i o n s sampled (Allama Iqbal Open U n i v e r s i t y of Pa k i s t a n , D a r l i n g Downs I n s t i t u t e of Advanced E d u c a t i o n of Queensland (DDIAE), OLI of B r i t i s h Columbia, Tasmanian State 45 I n s t i t u t e of Technology of Tasmania, and U n i v e r s i t y of the South P a c i f i c ) . T h i s study found there are no c o n s i s t e n t r e l a t i o n s h i p s between turn-around time, feedback i n t e r v a l , and a d d i t i o n a l c o n t a c t s and p e r s i s t e n c e among i n s t i t u t i o n s . Only DDIAE's r e s u l t s seemed to be c o n s i s t e n t w i t h Rekkedal's c o n c l u s i o n that low turnaround time was l i k e l y t o i n c r e a s e p e r s i s t e n c e . The DDIAE was a l s o congruent with T i n t o ' s model, which would tend to support the n o t i o n t h a t r e g u l a r feedback was l i k e l y t o enhance p e r s i s t e n c e . With r e g a r d to a d d i t i o n a l c o n t a c t s , the r e s e a r c h e r s found t h a t o n l y the Allama Iqbal Open U n i v e r s i t y (AIOU) and DDIAE supported T i n t o ' s p e r s p e c t i v e t h a t the more c o n t a c t s between students and i n s t i t u t i o n , the more l i k e l y students were to p e r s i s t . However, data on these a d d i t i o n a l c o n t a c t s were not a v a i l a b l e from the OLI and the U n i v e r s i t y of the South P a c i f i c (USP). T a y l o r et a l . p o i n t e d out, however, that t h i s r e s u l t needed to be i n t e r p r e t e d c a u t i o u s l y , because students who d i d not complete requirements might drop out s u f f i c i e n t l y e a r l y i n the semester to l i m i t c o n t a c t s w i t h the i n s t i t u t i o n when compared wit h those students who remained a c t i v e throughout the t o t a l p e r i o d of the course. The f i n d i n g s of T a y l o r et a l . show t h a t i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o g e n e r a l i z e f i n d i n g s d e r i v e d from one context to another. T h i s l a c k of g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y of much of the r e s e a r c h i n d i s t a n c e education, t h e r e f o r e , makes r e p l i c a t i o n s t u d i e s necessary and important. 46 U s i n g a comparative method, Wong (1987) t r i e d t o i d e n t i f y r e l a t i o n s h i p s between completion and a v a r i e t y of f a c t o r s i n 14 separate s t u d i e s . He found that completion was r e l a t e d t o what he termed "student demographic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s " (age, sex, e d u c a t i o n l e v e l , o c c u p a t i o n a l s t a t u s ) , and "outcome v a r i a b l e s " (completion of pre-course assignment, completion of f i r s t assignment, number of assignment submitted, turnaround time, d e v i a t i o n time of f i r s t assignment submission, and d u r a t i o n of the c o u r s e ) . Although Wong c r i t i c i z e d these s t u d i e s because they used in c o m p a t i b l e o r incomparable measurements of completion r a t e , he supported T a y l o r et a l . who suggested t h a t the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the f a c t o r s and dropout v a r i e d a c r o s s i n s t i t u t i o n s . In o t h e r words, f a c t o r s s i g n i f i c a n t l y r e l a t e d t o dropout i n one study were not n e c e s s a r i l y found t o be s i g n i f i c a n t l y a s s o c i a t e d w i t h dropout i n other s t u d i e s . One study addressed Indonesia's s i t u a t i o n d i r e c t l y . M a rdiani (1988) examined the extent to which student support s e r v i c e s were used by students, and how important the r o l e ( s ) p l a y e d by those s e r v i c e s were i n p r e v e n t i n g student a t t r i t i o n at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka (UT), the Indonesia Open U n i v e r s i t y . F i r s t , she i d e n t i f i e d 450 a c t i v e and no n - a c t i v e students. A c t i v e students were d e f i n e d as those who r e g i s t e r e d d u r i n g the time of data c o l l e c t i o n (December 1986), whereas non-a c t i v e students were those who r e g i s t e r e d i n the f i r s t semester of UT (September 1984) but d i d not r e g i s t e r f o r any subsequent y e a r s . She asked (through q u e s t i o n n a i r e s ) these 47 a c t i v e and n o n - a c t i v e students to i n d i c a t e t h e i r use of, and the importance of student support s e r v i c e s . Non-active students were asked about why they withdrew. Based on the frequency d i s t r i b u t i o n of responses, she found t h a t student withdrawal was not p r i m a r i l y due to the l a c k of student s e r v i c e s . Her f i n d i n g s showed t h a t the major causes f o r student withdrawal were l a c k of m o t i v a t i o n and l a c k of time to study. T h i s was understandable s i n c e about 80% of the sample (and of UT students) were f u l l - t i m e employees i n the work p l a c e . She a l s o found out t h a t , among the student s e r v i c e s a v a i l a b l e ( f a c e - t o - f a c e t u t o r i a l s , t u t o r i a l s by phone, t u t o r i a l s by m a i l , a d v i s i n g s e r v i c e s , study groups, student guidance, and i n f o r m a t i o n s e r v i c e s ) , f a c e - t o - f a c e t u t o r i a l s and i n f o r m a t i o n s e r v i c e s were the ones most used by students. F u r t h e r , students a l s o r a t e d f a c e - t o - f a c e t u t o r i a l s and i n f o r m a t i o n s e r v i c e s as the most important support s e r v i c e s f o r g a i n i n g knowledge, f o r improving t h e i r grades, f o r m o t i v a t i n g them to l e a r n , and f o r p r e v e n t i n g them from withdrawal. The s e r v i c e s l i s t e d as the most needed by students were i n f o r m a t i o n s e r v i c e s , l i b r a r y s e r v i c e s , f a c e - t o -face t u t o r i a l s , study groups, a d v i s i n g s e r v i c e s , supplementary m a t e r i a l s , student guidance, and c o u n s e l l i n g s e r v i c e s . These f i n d i n g s , however, are not s u r p r i s i n g . T h i s i s because the o t h e r support s e r v i c e s l i s t e d i n the q u e s t i o n n a i r e were more d i f f i c u l t or l e s s p r e f e r a b l e to use. Telephone t u t o r i a l s were not o f f i c i a l l y o f f e r e d by UT, even though the v e r y few students who had telephones might c o n t a c t UT through 48 t h i s medium. M a i l , although a c c e s s i b l e t o almost a l l students, was not much used by students. W i h a r d i t (1988) a l s o conducted a study at UT. He i n v e s t i g a t e d c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s t h a t d i f f e r e n t i a t e d between non-r e g i s t e r e d (non-active r e g i s t e r e d students) and c o n t i n u i n g students of UT. Based on responses from 800 students (400 non- a c t i v e and 400 c o n t i n u i n g s t u d e n t s ) , he found t h a t non-r e g i s t e r e d and c o n t i n u i n g students were s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t on c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s such as sex, age, m a r i t a l s t a t u s , working areas (types of employer: p r i v a t e or government i n s t i t u t i o n s ) , frequency of r e g i o n a l c e n t e r v i s i t , frequency of sending l e t t e r s t o UT, frequency of t e l e p h o n i n g UT, and the l o c a t i o n of the r e g i o n a l c e n t e r to which the student belonged. The nature of r e l a t i o n s h i p s between r e g i s t r a t i o n and these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s were d e s c r i b e d as f o l l o w s : (1) male students had a h i g h e r r a t e of c o n t i n u i n g r e g i s t r a t i o n than d i d female students, (2) students younger than age 31 tended to have h i g h e r r a t e s of n o n - r e g i s t r a t i o n than those who were o l d e r , (3) students who worked f o r the government or as teachers had the lowest r a t e s of n o n - r e g i s t r a t i o n , (4) students who d i s c o n t i n u e d t h e i r s t u d i e s were those who were l e s s l i k e l y t o communicate wi t h UT ( e i t h e r i n person, by m a i l , or by tel e p h o n e ) , and (6) the l a r g e s t p r o p o r t i o n of non-c o n t i n u i n g students were l o c a t e d i n J a k a r t a . T h i s l a s t v a r i a b l e (student l o c a t i o n ) , however, should be i n t e r p r e t e d c a u t i o u s l y , s i n c e the l a r g e s t p r o p o r t i o n of t o t a l UT students i s l o c a t e d i n J a k a r t a . Therefore, i t should be expected t h a t 49 J a k a r t a would a l s o have the h i g h e s t number of no n - c o n t i n u i n g students i n t h i s study. W i h a r d i t a l s o found t h a t there were s i g n i f i c a n t r e l a t i o n s h i p s between l a t e responses to q u e s t i o n s asked by students ( s i m i l a r t o Wong's "turnaround"), d i f f i c u l t y i n g e t t i n g i n f o r m a t i o n , and low scores, and the l e n g t h of non-r e g i s t r a t i o n p e r i o d (the p e r i o d when students become non-a c t i v e ) . T h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p between d i f f i c u l t y i n g e t t i n g i n f o r m a t i o n and the l e n g t h of n o n - r e g i s t r a t i o n was congruent with M a r d i a n i ' s f i n d i n g s . As d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r , M a r d i a n i found t h a t i n f o r m a t i o n s e r v i c e s were one of the support s e r v i c e s r a t e d most important t o prevent withdrawal. R e l a t i o n s h i p between l e a r n i n g s t y l e and dropout. In a r a t h e r s i m p l i s t i c r e n d e r i n g of the ques t i o n , Thompson (1984) s t u d i e d the p o s s i b l e r e l a t i o n s h i p between dropout i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n and students' l e a r n i n g s t y l e , by f o c u s i n g on students' p r e d i s p o s i t i o n to f i e l d - d e p e n d e n t and f i e l d -independent c o g n i t i v e s t y l e s . Thompson c i t e d Messick's (1986) d e f i n i t i o n of field-dependence versus f i e l d - i n d e p e n d e n c e as an a n a l y t i c a l v ersus a g l o b a l approach to l e a r n i n g . In t h i s study, f i e l d - d e p e n d e n t persons r e f e r r e d t o those who tended t o employ e x t e r n a l r e f e r e n t s t o d e f i n e needs and standards, and who had d i f f i c u l t y i n m a i n t a i n i n g t h e i r own d i r e c t i o n . Field-independence, on the c o n t r a r y , r e f e r r e d t o persons who were l e s s i n f l u e n c e d by a u t h o r i t y f i g u r e s and e x t e r n a l standards. Thompson found that f i e l d - i n d e p e n d e n t 50 persons learned more than field-dependent persons under c o n d i t i o n s of i n t r i n s i c m o t i vation. He suggested that f i e l d -independent persons tended to be more independent and autonomous, whereas field-dependent persons tended to have a grea t e r need f o r the p r o v i s i o n of s t r u c t u r e and reinforcement. Field-dependence was a s s o c i a t e d w i t h a preference f o r being wi t h other people, while field-independence was a s s o c i a t e d w i t h a more impersonal o r i e n t a t i o n . S t a y i n g w i t h t h i s s i n g l e - v a r i a b l e e x p l a n a t i o n , Thompson suggested that field-independent people appear to be more s u i t e d than field-dependent people f o r correspondence study. In other words, field-independent people are more l i k e l y to both s u r v i v e and succeed i n distance education than f i e l d -dependent people. Knox (1987) t e s t e d t h i s p r o p o s i t i o n . He i n v e s t i g a t e d whether field-dependent persons were l e s s s u i t e d than f i e l d -independent persons to correspondence study. S p e c i f i c a l l y , he wanted to see: (1) i f students who r e g i s t e r f o r correspondence study were c h a r a c t e r i z e d more by a c o g n i t i v e s t y l e of f i e l d -independence than were normative groups; (2) i f , among those students who r e g i s t e r f o r correspondence study, f i e l d -dependent students were more l i k e l y than field-independent students to withdraw from t h e i r courses; and (3) i f f i e l d -dependent students evaluated t h e i r correspondence study experience l e s s p o s i t i v e l y than d i d field-independent students. 51 Based on the r e s e a r c h conducted at the U n i v e r s i t y of Manitoba, Knox concluded t h a t p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n correspondence study was a s s o c i a t e d w i t h f i e l d - i n d e p e n d e n c e . T h i s i m p l i e s that f i e l d - d e p e n d e n t persons are l e s s i n c l i n e d than f i e l d -independent persons to r e g i s t e r f o r correspondence study. However, he f u r t h e r concluded t h a t among those who r e g i s t e r e d , there i s no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e between the more f i e l d -independent students and the more f i e l d - d e p e n d e n t students i n p e r s i s t e n c e and e v a l u a t i o n of t h e i r correspondence study. The l a s t two c o n c l u s i o n s are based on the r e s u l t s which showed that t h e r e was no d i f f e r e n c e i n : (1) the extent to which students f e l t tempted to withdraw f rom the course, and (2) the scores f o r the e v a l u a t i o n statements most c l o s e l y r e l a t e d w i t h the correspondence method. T h i s c o n c l u s i o n , however, should be i n t e r p r e t e d c a u t i o u s l y . T h i s i s because the s u b j e c t s of t h i s study were c l e a r l y skewed i n the d i r e c t i o n of f i e l d - i n d e p e n d e n c e , so that even the s u b j e c t s c h a r a c t e r i z e d as f i e l d - d e p e n d e n t persons i n t h i s study were more f i e l d - i n d e p e n d e n t than the normative groups. Thus, the f i e l d - d e p e n d e n t group i n t h i s study was not r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of f i e l d - d e p e n d e n t persons i n g e n e r a l . Therefore, i t i s understandable t h a t there was no d i f f e r e n c e i n a t t i t u d e between the two groups of t h i s study. I n s t i t u t i o n a l v a r i a b l e s r e l a t e d t o dropout. The f i n a l p a r t of t h i s study of v a r i a b l e s s p e c i f i c t o d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n concerns i n s t i t u t i o n a l v a r i a b l e s . In the f i r s t r e l e v a n t study 52 of these v a r i a b l e s , Paul (1990) examined why many students of the N a t i o n a l Correspondence C o l l e g e (NCC) of Zambia d i d not complete t h e i r s t u d i e s . He i n t e r v i e w e d the a d m i n i s t r a t o r s , l e c t u r e r s , and s u p e r v i s o r s of the NCC, and ana l y z e d students' r e c o r d c a r d s . Based on these, he concluded t h a t t h e r e are two main f a c t o r s which have caused the "demotivation" of students. The f i r s t f a c t o r i s r e l a t e d to the " i r r e g u l a r i t y " d e l i v e r y (or "dispatch") of study m a t e r i a l s . In many cases, students do not get study m a t e r i a l s i n sequence. In one of h i s s t u d i e s , f o r example, he noted that students were sent l a t e r l e s s o n s b e f o r e i n i t i a l ones, due to the n o n - a v a i l a b i l i t y of the f i r s t ones. The second f a c t o r has to do wit h the a b i l i t y of the i n s t i t u t i o n s t a f f . He concluded that many members of the s t a f f were not t r a i n e d f o r t h e i r j o b s . For example, i n 1986, a mass c a n c e l l a t i o n of re c o r d s about i n a c t i v e students was c a r r i e d out and new numbers were a l l o c a t e d ; there was c o n s i d e r a b l e c o n f u s i o n . Many students were not informed of t h e i r new numbers so t h a t when they d e c i d e d t o continue t h e i r s t u d i e s , they r e - r e g i s t e r e d w i t h t h e i r o l d numbers. T h i s c r e a t e d problems i n r e c o r d i n g t h e i r f i l e s . Paul, t h e r e f o r e , drew a r e l a t i o n s h i p between student d e m o t i v a t i o n and i r r e g u l a r i t y i n the a d m i n i s t r a t i o n of the NCC. These i r r e g u l a r i t i e s were due , he b e l i e v e d , mainly t o the economic d e c l i n e of the country which had a d v e r s e l y a f f e c t e d the smooth running of the c o l l e g e . N e v e r t h e l e s s , Paul's study i s ve r y i n t e r e s t i n g i n l i g h t of T i n t o ' s and 53 Kember's models concerning the importance of academic i n t e g r a t i o n . T h i s study showed that i n t e r r u p t i o n i n the academic and a d m i n i s t r a t i v e environments c o u l d decrease students' m o t i v a t i o n . The study i s , u n f o r t u n a t e l y , l i m i t e d i n t h a t i t i s based on the r e s e a r c h e r ' s judgement r a t h e r than the students' p o i n t s of view. Summary of f i n d i n g s of s t u d i e s about reasons f o r and v a r i a b l e s r e l a t e d to dropout. C o l l e c t i v e l y , these s t u d i e s r e v e a l t h a t dropout i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n as w e l l as i n c o n v e n t i o n a l e d u c a t i o n i s a phenomenon r e l a t e d to both student c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and t h e i r academic and s o c i a l environments. Student c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s i n c l u d e demographic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and o t h e r i n n e r - p s y c h o l o g i c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s such as l e a r n i n g s t y l e s and m o t i v a t i o n . Environmentally, dropout i s a s s o c i a t e d with both the a c a d e m i c / i n s t i t u t i o n a l context and o t h e r e x t e r n a l circumstances. A l l the s t u d i e s i n d i c a t e t h a t these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , f a c t o r s and v a r i a b l e s are i n v a r i a b l y a s s o c i a t e d and ( i n c o n s i s t e n t l y ) i n t e r a c t w i t h each other; t o g e t h e r they i n f l u e n c e the experience of l e a r n i n g and the students' d e c i s i o n to p e r s i s t or to drop out. None of the s t u d i e s suggests a s i n g l e v a r i a b l e t h a t c o n s i s t e n t l y e x p l a i n s dropout or p e r s i s t e n t behavior. In other words, there appears to be no s i n g l e reason f o r student dropout, and no s i n g l e measure which can d r a m a t i c a l l y reduce dropout at a s t r o k e (Kember, 1990) . 54 Furthermore, i t i s apparent that the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between dropout and i n f l u e n t i a l v a r i a b l e s are context bound. V a r i a b l e s t h a t were s i g n i f i c a n t l y a s s o c i a t e d w i t h dropout i n one i n s t i t u t i o n (or sample) were not n e c e s s a r i l y a s s o c i a t e d with i t i n o t h e r s (Tayl o r et a l . , 1986; Wong, 1987). Even when the same v a r i a b l e s were found to be s i g n i f i c a n t l y r e l a t e d to dropout i n d i f f e r e n t i n s t i t u t i o n s , the s i g n i f i c a n c e was not n e c e s s a r i l y the same; one v a r i a b l e that was p o s i t i v e l y a s s o c i a t e d w i t h dropout i n one i n s t i t u t i o n c o u l d be n e g a t i v e l y r e l a t e d to dropout i n another i n s t i t u t i o n . For example, B a r t e l s ' study i n F e r n u n i v e r s i t a e t (Germany) found t h a t female d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n students were more l i k e l y t o d i s c o n t i n u e than male students (1982), while Woodley and P a r l e t t ' s i n the B r i t i s h Open U n i v e r s i t y study (1983) found the r e v e r s e . Such c o n t r a d i c t o r y f i n d i n g s , combined with non-standard d e f i n i t i o n s and r e s e a r c h methods f u r t h e r u n d e r l i n e the n e c e s s i t y of r e g a r d i n g each study of d r o p o u t / p e r s i s t e n c e as h i g h l y context bound. E f f o r t s t o reduce dropout: E m p i r i c a l S t u d i e s D e s p i t e the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the problem, few e m p i r i c a l s t u d i e s have d i r e c t l y d e a l t w i t h e f f o r t s to reduce dropout r a t e s . Most s t u d i e s , as reviewed above, have been d e s c r i p t i v e and do not i n v o l v e i n t e r v e n t i o n s . One of the e m p i r i c a l s t u d i e s devoted to r e d u c i n g dropout was conducted i n Athabasca U n i v e r s i t y , A l b e r t a . In i t s 55 p r o j e c t , Research and E v a l u a t i o n of Distance Education f o r the Adult Learner (REDEAL), a team of researchers explored the e f f e c t s of a p e r s o n a l i z e d system of i n s t r u c t i o n (PSI), the use of computer generated schedules, and a b e h a v i o r a l s e l f - c o n t r o l package on student completion (Spencer, 1980a; Spencer, 1980b). P e r s o n a l i z e d System of I n s t r u c t i o n (PSI), as o r i g i n a l l y o u t l i n e d by K e l l e r (1968 c i t e d i n Spencer, 1980a), contains four b a s i c components: 1. Reliance on the w r i t t e n word f o r i n s t r u c t i o n a l purposes. 2. S e l f - p a c i n g ; students work at a r a t e commensurate w i t h t h e i r own a b i l i t i e s and other demands on t h e i r time. 3. Mastery; progress through a course i s contingent on performing at a s p e c i f i e d c r i t e r i o n [ l e v e l ] . 4. The use of t u t o r s to help students progress through a course and provide immediate feedback on t h e i r performance (p. 2). According to Spencer, previous s t u d i e s showed that PSI was e f f e c t i v e i n producing higher student achievement and course r a t i n g s i n conventional (face-to-face) education. However, the f a c t s showed that many distance courses e i t h e r do not combine the elements of PSI i n a systematic manner or leave out e s s e n t i a l f eatures (e.g., frequent assessment, immediate feedback, c l e a r o b j e c t i v e s , match between o b j e c t i v e s and assessment, and systematic i n t e g r a t i o n of the t u t o r i n g function) (Coldeway, 1982).' Based on t h i s , Spencer's study compared one v e r s i o n of the course (PSI-P), to a v e r s i o n of the course which was found to be i n s t r u c t i o n a l l y weak (PSI-C), 56 a r e v i s e d v e r s i o n of the course which had an improved i n s t r u c t i o n a l d e s i g n (PSI-IB), and a v e r s i o n of the course which was e x a c t l y the same as the PSI-P v e r s i o n except feedback t o the student was delayed (PSI-M). The study showed t h a t the o r i g i n a l p e r s o n a l i z e d system of i n s t r u c t i o n (PSI-P) v e r s i o n r e s u l t e d i n three times as many completions as i n the course w i t h s t r u c t u r a l l y weaker p e r s o n a l i z e d system (PSI-C) v e r s i o n , over twice as many completions as i n the course w i t h strengthened p e r s o n a l i z e d system (PSI-IB) v e r s i o n , and twice as many completions as i n the course w i t h delayed feedback (PSI-M) v e r s i o n . Based on these r e s u l t s , the author analyzed the reasons f o r P S I 1 s s u p e r i o r i t y and concluded i t was because the PSI model had an i n s t r u c t i o n a l as w e l l as management system f o r d e a l i n g w i t h students. S p e c i f i c a l l y , the r e s u l t s suggested t h a t the i n s t r u c t i o n a l d e s i g n of a course c o u l d i n t e g r a t e course components w i t h an e f f e c t i v e delivery/management system. In the case o f t h i s study, one key element was the use of telephones f o r d e l i v e r i n g feedback t o the students. Spencer (1980b) a l s o r e p o r t e d the i n v e s t i g a t i o n of the e f f e c t s of computer generated schedules on the performance of Athabasca U n i v e r s i t y l e a r n e r s . T h i s study was conducted d u r i n g the academic year of 1978-1979 on students e n r o l l e d f o r an I n t r o d u c t o r y I n t e r p e r s o n a l Communication course and Management course. Learners e n r o l l i n g i n these courses were co n t a c t e d by phone and asked i f they would l i k e a study schedule generated f o r them. The study schedules were 57 generated u s i n g a unique computer program s p e c i f i c a l l y designed f o r those courses. B a s i c a l l y , the schedules s p e c i f i e d dates by which assignments and exams should have been completed based upon an e s t i m a t i o n of the percentage of time the l e a r n e r s would r e q u i r e to complete each assignment and exam. Since l e a r n e r s c o u l d e n r o l l any time d u r i n g the year and some l e a r n e r s wished t o complete the course i n l e s s than the s p e c i f i e d time a l l o t t e d ( i . e . s i x - twelve months), the program was designed t o take these v a r i a b l e s i n t o account. Learners who d i d not request the schedules proceeded i n t h e i r s t u d i e s without a i d of s p e c i f i e d dates by which to complete assignments and exams. The r e s u l t s show that most l e a r n e r s , when g i v e n an o p t i o n between r e c e i v i n g a study schedule o r not, chose t o r e c e i v e a study schedule. T h i s was i n t e r p r e t e d to i n d i c a t e t h a t many of the l e a r n e r s f e l t some need f o r a s s i s t a n c e i n p l a n n i n g t h e i r course a c t i v i t i e s . However, the r e s u l t s a l s o showed that the computer generated schedules d i d not appear t o p r o v i d e l e a r n e r s w i t h the a s s i s t a n c e they seemed to need, as o n l y a small percentage of l e a r n e r s a c t u a l l y used the schedules. Furthermore, the l e a r n e r s i n d i c a t e d t o t h e i r t u t o r s a d i s l i k e f o r the schedules. Regarding completion r a t e s , l e a r n e r s who r e c e i v e d the schedules had an e q u i v a l e n t or lower completion r a t e than those who d i d not. However, i t was d i f f i c u l t t o generate g e n e r a l i z a b l e c o n c l u s i o n s about the e f f e c t i v e n e s s of the study schedules i n p o s i t i v e l y i n f l u e n c i n g completion r a t e s . T h i s was because o n l y a few l e a r n e r s a c t u a l l y f o l l o w e d 58 the schedules. A l l that c o u l d be concluded was t h a t sending l e a r n e r s a study schedule d i d not appear to be an e f f e c t i v e means of i n c r e a s i n g completion r a t e s . These f i n d i n g s c o n f i r m the suggestions t h a t i n s t i t u t i o n a l i n t e r v e n t i o n s c o u l d i n c r e a s e completion r a t e s . These a l s o support the f i n d i n g s of other s t u d i e s (Woodley and P a r l e t t , 1983; Gatz, 1985 and Paul, 1990) r e g a r d i n g the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between completion/dropout and v a r i a b l e s r e l a t e d t o course (design), m o t i v a t i o n a l , and time f a c t o r s . Furthermore, i t i s p o s s i b l e t h a t students' d i s l i k e f o r , and non-use of, the computer generated schedules may i n d i c a t e t h a t the s c h o o l -based schedules were incongruent with students' o t h e r commitments. Such a s u g g e s t i o n would seem to be i n d i c a t e d by the importance which o t h e r models suggested about the c o m p a t i b i l i t y or congruence between students' academic and s o c i a l circumstances and student completion. NKI-Skolen i n Norway (a p r i v a t e , n o n - p r o f i t f o u n d a t i o n o f f e r i n g courses mainly w i t h i n t e c h n i c a l and v o c a t i o n a l f i e l d s ) , i s another i n s t i t u t i o n which has conducted, i n a l l , f i v e experimental s t u d i e s i n the e f f o r t t o i n c r e a s e p e r s i s t e n c e (Rekkedal, 1983a). The NKI d i s t a n c e t e a c h i n g department i s the second l a r g e s t d i s t a n c e t e a c h i n g i n s t i t u t e i n Norway, and e n r o l s approximately 10,000 students a n n u a l l y . The two primary g o a l s of NKI's the experimental s t u d i e s were f i r s t , t o reduce the number of students d i s c o n t i n u i n g t h e i r s t u d i e s and, second, to m a i n t a i n p e r s i s t e n c e among a c t i v e s tudents. The s t u d i e s were conducted a f t e r the 59 i n s t i t u t e had observed a h i g h r a t e of student d i s c o n t i n u a t i o n . D i s c o n t i n u e d students i n c l u d e d a l l i n d i v i d u a l s who had ceased s u b m i t t i n g assignments without completing the number of study-u n i t s f o r which they o r i g i n a l l y e n r o l l e d . A p r e v i o u s survey had found t h a t 76.6% of the NKI students d i s c o n t i n u e d t h e i r s t u d i e s about two and a h a l f years a f t e r e n rollment. The f i r s t study of the f i v e measured the e f f e c t of p o s t c a r d s and l e t t e r s to encourage submission of assignments. A sequence of one p o s t c a r d and two l e t t e r s were sent to i n a c t i v e students over three months, at one month i n t e r v a l s . The sequence was s t a r t e d a u t o m a t i c a l l y when a student f a i l e d to submit assignments f o r one whole c a l e n d a r month, and stopped when the student resumed s t u d i e s or made o t h e r c o n t a c t s w i t h the s c h o o l ' s a d m i n i s t r a t i o n or c o u n s e l l o r s . Both experimental and c o n t r o l groups c o n s i s t e d of 24 0 students. Data were analyzed by c h i - s q u a r e . Large and h i g h l y s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s between the groups were found a f t e r t hree months, e.g. d u r i n g the t h i r d month, 46% of the experimental group had submitted l e s s o n s or made oth e r c o n t a c t s , compared to o n l y 31% of the c o n t r o l group. The second study i n v o l v e d three experimental groups and one c o n t r o l group. Each experimental group r e c e i v e d one of the f o l l o w i n g : (1) a course i n study techniques that was sent to i n d i v i d u a l students immediately a f t e r r e c e i v i n g an enrollment form; the study m a t e r i a l was posted one week l a t e r . Reminding 60 l e t t e r s t o submit the assignments were sent upon enrollment and 14, 28, and 42 days aft e r w a r d s . (2) the course i n study techniques and the study m a t e r i a l were sent immediately a f t e r enrollment. The same system of reminding l e t t e r s was used. (3) study m a t e r i a l s were sent immediately a f t e r enrollment, but the students r e c e i v e d no course i n study techniques. The same system of reminding l e t t e r s was a p p l i e d . The l e t t e r s were typed on an automatic t y p e w r i t e r , p e r s o n a l l y addressed and signed by hand by the student's p e r s o n a l c o u n s e l l o r . The f i n a l l e t t e r (on the 42nd day) was not posted i f the student had s t a r t e d on h i s / h e r o r d i n a r y s t u d i e s . About one and a h a l f months a f t e r enrollment, the students i n a l l groups were g i v e n the treatment d e s c r i b e d i n the f i r s t experiment i f they had become i n a c t i v e . Rekkedal r e p o r t e d that students who r e c e i v e d the f o l l o w -up l e t t e r s s t a r t e d t h e i r s t u d i e s e a r l i e r than those who d i d not r e c e i v e the l e t t e r s . A l l experimental groups showed b e t t e r r e s u l t s than d i d the c o n t r o l group (although the exact f i g u r e s were not r e p o r t e d ) . With r e s p e c t to d i s c o n t i n u a t i o n r a t e s , the data supported the c o n c l u s i o n t h a t the course i n study techniques and follow-up l e t t e r s t o g e t h e r might have helped to decrease the d i s c o n t i n u a t i o n r a t e . The t h i r d study was based on the problem of long t u r n -around time, which i s the lapse of time from the p o i n t when the student sent i n an answer and then r e c e i v e d i t back with the t u t o r ' s comments on i t . One hundred and twenty seven 61 students who e n r o l l e d i n a 4-unit course i n a r i t h m e t i c were randomly a s s i g n e d i n t o experimental and c o n t r o l groups. The treatment f o r the experimental group was t h a t the turn-around time was reduced by 3 days i n r e l a t i o n t o the c o n t r o l group. The r e s u l t showed t h a t the percentage of completions i n the two groups were 91 and 69 r e s p e c t i v e l y . The d i f f e r e n c e was found t o be h i g h l y s i g n i f i c a n t s t a t i s t i c a l l y . In summary, q u i c k e r h a n d l i n g of the students' assignments seemed to r e s u l t i n h i g h e r completion r a t e s , which were c o n s i d e r e d t o be the most important c r i t e r i o n v a r i a b l e . The f o u r t h study concerned pre-produced t u t o r ' s comments. Most correspondence t u t o r s had found t h a t w r i t t e n comments needed t o be r e l a t i v e l y l o n g i n order t o be e d u c a t i o n a l l y e f f i c i e n t , and t h a t more or l e s s the same f a c t u a l content was o f t e n w r i t t e n t o many students. Thus, i t was deemed reasonable t o examine the e f f e c t s of i n t r o d u c i n g pre-produced common m a t e r i a l s c o v e r i n g g e n e r a l academic and study problems, i n a d d i t i o n t o the t u t o r ' s p e r s o n a l w r i t t e n comments to i n d i v i d u a l s tudents. The aim was to i n c r e a s e the t u t o r ' s a b i l i t y t o i n d i v i d u a l i z e t e a c h i n g w i t h i n the r e a l i s t i c c o n s t r a i n t s of time and money. P a r a l l e l experiments were c a r r i e d out at NKI and NKS (another correspondence i n s t i t u t e ) i n Norway. Even though there were no g e n e r a l r e s u l t s from the two i n s t i t u t i o n s because of the d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e i r courses, content, and the t u t o r ' s r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , the r e s e a r c h e r s found t h a t one of the two experiments showed a s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t i n c r e a s e i n completion r a t e (from 61 to 80%) i n a 62 f o u r - u n i t course. Students i n both experimental groups a l s o expressed v e r y f a v o r a b l e a t t i t u d e s towards the a d d i t i o n a l pre-produced comments. The f i f t h study concerned the use of p e r s o n a l t u t o r -c o u n s e l l o r s . T h i s experiment t r i e d t o i n t e g r a t e e d u c a t i o n a l and a d m i n i s t r a t i v e arrangements which had seemed t o h e l p d i s t a n c e students complete courses. In t h i s experiment, r e s e a r c h e r s t r i e d t o p e r s o n a l i z e the t e a c h i n g by i n t r o d u c i n g one person who i n t e g r a t e d the r o l e s of t u t o r ( i n d i f f e r e n t s u b j e c t s ) , student a d v i s o r and minor a d m i n i s t r a t o r , as per the standard d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n system. Thus, the f u n c t i o n s n o r m a l l y c a r r i e d out by d i f f e r e n t persons i n a " s p e c i a l i z e d and i n d u s t r i a l i z e d " system of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n were combined to p e r s o n a l i z e and i n d i v i d u a l i z e i n s t r u c t i o n . The r e s u l t s , taken 8 months a f t e r enrollment, showed t h a t 27% of the experimental group and o n l y 16% of the c o n t r o l group completed t h e i r s t u d i e s , a h i g h l y s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e . One year a f t e r e nrollment, these f i g u r e s had gone to 37% and 22% r e s p e c t i v e l y . The experimental students a l s o expressed s i g n i f i c a n t l y more f a v o r a b l e a t t i t u d e s toward h e l p and support r e c e i v e d from the t u t o r . NKI's f i n d i n g s , congruent w i t h those of Athabasca U n i v e r s i t y as r e p o r t e d by Spencer (1980), c o n f i r m the i n f l u e n c e s of i n s t i t u t i o n a l i n t e r v e n t i o n s on students' i n t e g r a t i o n p r o c e s s e s . That i s , a p p r o p r i a t e study supports (such as the p r o v i s i o n of study technique guidance, reminders, feedback and p e r s o n a l t u t o r - c o u n s e l l o r s ) appear t o f a c i l i t a t e 63 students' i n t e g r a t i o n process and encourage p e r s i s t e n c e . In r e g a r d t o turnaround, the f i n d i n g of t h i s study a l s o support Wong's f i n d i n g (1987) which showed t h a t turnaround c o u l d be used as a p r e d i c t o r of completion. Based on these s t u d i e s , i t i s apparent t h a t , although dropout i s a v e r y complex phenomenon, i t i s not too complex f o r i n t e r v e n t i o n (Kember, 1990) . S t u d i e s r e p o r t e d by Spencer (1980a, 1980b) and Rekkedal (1983a, 1983b), as w e l l as elements i m p l i e d by T i n t o ' s and Kember's models of dropout, show t h a t i n s t i t u t i o n a l i n t e r v e n t i o n s (such as the p r o v i s i o n of feedback, encouragement, t u t o r comments, and t u t o r -c o u n s e l l o r s ) may help reduce dropout r a t e s i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . However, as shown by T a y l o r ' s study, these i n t e r v e n t i o n designs have to take i n t o account the i n t e r p l a y of m u l t i p l e i n f l u e n c e s , i f they are to be s u c c e s s f u l (Kember, 1990) . E f f o r t s to Reduce Dropout: Guided D i d a c t i c C o n v e r s a t i o n and T u t o r - C o u n s e l l o r . D i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n i s a mode of e d u c a t i o n t h a t i n c l u d e s . . . v a r i o u s forms of study at a l l l e v e l s which are not under the continuous, immediate s u p e r v i s i o n of t u t o r s present w i t h t h e i r students i n l e c t u r e rooms or on the same premises, but which, n e v e r t h e l e s s , b e n e f i t from the p l a n n i n g , guidance and t u i t i o n of a t u t o r i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n (Holmberg, 1986, p. 2). 64 Di s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n comprises one-way communication ( p r e s e n t a t i o n of content) by means of p r i n t e d , broadcast or recorded p r e s e n t a t i o n s of l e a r n i n g m a t e r i a l s , and two-way communication between students and the s u p p o r t i n g i n s t i t u t i o n ( r e g a r d i n g both academic and a d m i n i s t r a t i v e m a t t e r s ) . Most two-way communication occurs i n w r i t i n g , o r by telephone or v i a o t h e r media, and o n l y s e c o n d a r i l y and s u p p l e m e n t a r i l y occurs f a c e - t o - f a c e . I n t e r a c t i o n or communication between students and the s u p p o r t i n g i n s t i t u t i o n , as w e l l as wit h peer l e a r n e r s i s v e r y important i n the student l e a r n i n g p r o c e s s . Even though d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n i s designed f o r s e l f - s t u d y , the students are by no means to be l e f t alone. Holmberg (1983) e l e c t e d t o t e s t a form of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n based on communication which c o u l d take the form of face t o face c o n v e r s a t i o n . He contended t h a t even when such r e a l c o n v e r s a t i o n c o u l d not take p l a c e , i t was the s p i r i t and atmosphere of c o n v e r s a t i o n that should - and l a r g e l y d i d -c h a r a c t e r i z e e d u c a t i o n a l endeavors. He a l s o b e l i e v e d t h a t r e a l l e a r n i n g was p r i m a r i l y an i n d i v i d u a l a c t i v i t y , a t t a i n e d o n l y through an i n t e r n a l i z i n g p rocess. T h i s i s , i n h i s view, a background th e o r y on which d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n should be based. In Holmberg's view, i n d i v i d u a l l e a r n i n g can be supported and f a c i l i t a t e d v i a what he c a l l s a "guided d i d a c t i c c o n v e r s a t i o n . " T h i s i s a k i n d of two-way c o n v e r s a t i o n which occurs through w r i t t e n and telephone i n t e r a c t i o n between the students and the s u p p o r t i n g i n s t i t u t i o n . 65 Both the p r e s e n t a t i o n of l e a r n i n g m a t e r i a l i n a p r i n t e d or otherwise pre-produced format and the two-way communication brought about by assignments (and other i n t e r a c t i o n s ) serve the purposes of d i d a c t i c c o n v e r s a t i o n . The l a t t e r method of communication r e p r e s e n t s the r e a l communication, while the former (course d e s i g n or l e a r n i n g m a t e r i a l p r e s e n t a t i o n ) r e p r e s e n t s the k i n d of si m u l a t e d communication t h a t paves the way f o r p r o f i t a b l e i n t e r a c t i o n with the study m a t e r i a l s . The c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of guided d i d a c t i c c o n v e r s a t i o n are: (1) e a s i l y a c c e s s i b l e p r e s e n t a t i o n s of study matter; c l e a r , somewhat c o l l o q u i a l language, e a s i l y readable w r i t i n g ; moderate d e n s i t y of i n f o r m a t i o n ; (2) e x p l i c i t a d v i c e and suggestions to the student as t o what to do and what t o avoid, what t o pay p a r t i c u l a r a t t e n t i o n to and c o n s i d e r , w i t h reasons p r o v i d e d ; (3) i n v i t a t i o n s t o an exchange of views, t o q u e s t i o n s , to judgements of what i s to be accepted and what i s to be r e j e c t e d ; (4) attempts t o i n v o l v e the student e m o t i o n a l l y so t h a t he or she takes a p e r s o n a l i n t e r e s t i n the s u b j e c t and i t s problems; (5) p e r s o n a l s t y l e i n c l u d i n g the use of the p e r s o n a l and p o s s e s s i v e pronouns; and (6) demarcation of changes of themes through e x p l i c i t statements, t y p o g r a p h i c a l means or, i n recorded, spoken communication, through a change of speakers, e.g. male f o l l o w e d by female, o r through pauses. 66 The assumption i s that i f a d i s t a n c e study course c o n s i s t e n t l y r e p r e s e n t s a communication process resembling the c h a r a c t e r of a c o n v e r s a t i o n , then the students w i l l be more motivated and more s u c c e s s f u l than i f the course has an impersonal textbook c h a r a c t e r (Holmberg, 1983). A m o d i f i c a t i o n of Holmberg's guided d i d a c t i c c o n v e r s a t i o n concept was suggested by Roberts (1984), based on P e t e r s ' (1983) argument about d i s t a n c e education. P e t e r s (1983) b e l i e v e s t h a t d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n i s a n a t u r a l development of the i n d u s t r i a l e r a and, t h e r e f o r e , d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n needs t o be e x p l a i n e d and analyzed u s i n g economic and i n d u s t r i a l t h e o r i e s . He sees s i m i l a r i t i e s between the development of a r a p i d changeover from i n d i v i d u a l l a b o r to manufacture t o mass pr o d u c t i o n , a development from t o o l s to mechanization t o automation (Roberts, 1984). Roberts b e l i e v e s that P e t e r s ' concept of i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n i s necessary f o r the f u t u r e maintenance of cost e f f i c i e n c y i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n but, at the same time, the c o n t r i b u t i o n of Holmberg's concept of guided d i d a c t i c c o n v e r s a t i o n must be i n c o r p o r a t e d i n t o any e f f e c t i v e approach. In accordance w i t h t h i s , h i s sugg e s t i o n was to develop guided d i d a c t i c c o n v e r s a t i o n by forwarding a p p r o p r i a t e l e t t e r s t o students at the be g i n n i n g of a program (as a welcoming l e t t e r ) , at the s t a r t of each semester (as an encouragement l e t t e r ) , and at the end of each semester (as a c o n g r a t u l a t i o n l e t t e r f o r the good r e s u l t s ) . Roberts a l s o s t r e s s e d the importance of h e l p i n g students g a i n / i n c r e a s e s e l f - c o n f i d e n c e , 67 cope w i t h the freedom of open l e a r n i n g , and improve study-h a b i t s . These suggestions are much l i k e the i d e a behind the NKI 1s experiments reviewed e a r l i e r . F u r t h e r , Roberts argues t h a t there are more than e d u c a t i o n a l outcomes to these s t r u c t u r e s . He notes t h a t c o s t -e f f e c t i v e n e s s i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n i s k e e n l y r e l a t e d t o the e f f e c t i v e n e s s and success of i t s d e l i v e r y system. In s t r u c t u r e , i t has ...the need f o r l a r g e numbers of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n students to be e n r o l l e d i n a s m a l l number of s u b j e c t s where h i g h l y e f f i c i e n t i n d u s t r i a l i z e d p r o c e s s e s [can be m a i n t a i n e d ] . . . U n f o r t u n a t e l y , such mass p r o d u c t i o n techniques are not enough on t h e i r own, s i n c e enormous numbers of students would drop out because of the l a c k of student support systems. Student support systems are expensive, though, and q u i c k l y reduce the c o s t - e f f e c t i v e n e s s of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . (Roberts, 1984, p. 63) Therefore, i t i s necessary to f i n d , somewhere along the l i n e , a balance between the c o s t - s a v i n g i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and the c o s t - r a i s i n g approaches of more e l a b o r a t e student support systems (Roberts, 1984). Another attempt to f i n d answers f o r r e d u c i n g dropout i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n was made by Sewart (1984). He, l i k e Holmberg, was a l s o concerned with the i n t e r a c t i o n and communication between students and the i n s t i t u t i o n o r system. He argues t h a t a package of pre-produced m a t e r i a l s cannot perform a l l the f u n c t i o n s of a c o n v e n t i o n a l t e a c h e r . He p o i n t s out t h a t d i s t a n c e students l a c k immediate feedback and peer i n t e r a c t i o n as a benchmark a g a i n s t which t o measure t h e i r 68 own performance. Students, Sewart b e l i e v e s , have an i n f i n i t e v a r i e t y of i n d i v i d u a l needs which are not w h o l l y r e l a t e d to the s u b j e c t t h a t i s being s t u d i e d . These needs are of an e d u c a t i o n a l k i n d , even of an academic kin d , but they are not s t r i c t l y r e l a t e d to a s u b j e c t : The s u b j e c t matter would embrace the s t r i c t l y academic content of the course and a d v i c e / s u p p o r t would embrace g e n e r a l study problems a r i s i n g from the i n d i v i d u a l circumstances of the student or the system of t e a c h i n g p e c u l i a r to the i n s t i t u t i o n . . . the s u b j e c t matter i s i n f o r m a t i o n or knowledge and the a d v i c e / s u p p o r t covers the way i n which the student as an i n d i v i d u a l f i t s t h i s new knowledge i n t o h i s own p e c u l i a r p r e - e x i s t i n g framework and i n t o h i s everyday l i f e s t y l e (Sewart, 1984, p. 10) As such, Sewart argues f o r a s t r u c t u r e d support system, along the l i n e s of NKI's t u t o r - c o u n s e l l o r s (Rekkedal, 1983), to help address a l l of the students' needs (Sewart, 1982) . He argues th a t , g i v e n these t u t o r - c o u n s e l l o r s , d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n i s not r e a l l y a d i s c r e t e t e a c h i n g methodology, i n t h a t i t o f f e r s a s e r v i c e t o students at l e a s t as r i c h and as i n d i v i d u a l i z e d as c o n v e n t i o n a l e d u c a t i o n . A c c o r d i n g to Sewart, u n l i k e r e g u l a r t u t o r s who are u s u a l l y r e s p o n s i b l e f o r o n l y a p a r t i c u l a r s u b j e c t matter, these t u t o r - c o u n s e l l o r s should be r e s p o n s i b l e f o r a l l t u i t i o n and c o u n s e l l i n g of the students i n t h e i r f o u n d a t i o n year. They should be a v a i l a b l e on a r e g u l a r b a s i s f o r f a c e - t o - f a c e , correspondence and telephone c o n t a c t . In a d d i t i o n to t h i s , a t u t o r - c o u n s e l l o r should a l s o be r e s p o n s i b l e f o r marking and commenting on assignments. These t u t o r - c o u n s e l l o r s c o u l d then 69 continue to a d v i s e the same students throughout the s t u d e n t s 1 e d u c a t i o n a l c a r e e r s , although, a f t e r the f i r s t year, the r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s f o r t u i t i o n would pass to s p e c i a l i s t f a c u l t y . In t h i s arrangement, the o r i g i n a l t u t o r - c o u n s e l l o r s would p r o v i d e e d u c a t i o n a l support across d i s c i p l i n e s and a c r o s s f a c u l t i e s , and remain constant f o r the student from i n i t i a l r e g i s t r a t i o n u n t i l g r a d u a t i o n . Sewart b e l i e v e s t h a t t h i s i n d i v i d u a l and long s t a n d i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p breaks down the i s o l a t i o n of the students, by p r o v i d i n g sympathetic help i n p l a n n i n g a b e n e f i c i a l student work p a t t e r n w i t h i n a h i g h l y complex system. A l l of these t h e o r i e s taken together suggest t h a t , although d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d by the p h y s i c a l absence of t e a c h e r s d u r i n g study time, the f u n c t i o n s of t e a c h e r s s t i l l need to be accommodated. Those f u n c t i o n s , such as g i v i n g encouragement, feedback, and comments, are v e r y important i n l e a r n i n g . T herefore, i t i s important f o r the i n s t i t u t i o n t o communicate wi t h i t s students through i n t e r m e d i a r y agents or other means to address the m u l t i p l e needs of both the student and the i n s t i t u t i o n . Summary Table 2.1 summarizes the scope of the s t u d i e s reviewed i n t h i s chapter. The t a b l e shows t h a t the phenomenon of dropout has been w i d e l y reviewed and s t u d i e d i n v a r i o u s c o u n t r i e s around the world. 70 Table 2.1 Summary of the Scope of S t u d i e s on Dropout Researcher I n s t i t u t i o n Country S t u d i e s o f Models and Concepts o f Dropout: T i n t o (1975) B o s h i e r (1973) Kennedy & Powell (1976) Kember (1989) S t u d i e s o f Reasons B a r t e l s (1982) Woodley & P a r l e t t (1983) Gatz (1985) Sweet (1986) T a y l o r , et a l . (1986) Wong (1987) Knox (1987) Mar d i a n i (1988) Wih a r d i t (1988) Paul (1990) S t u d i e s o f E f f o r t s Spencer (1980a, 1980b) Rekkedal (1983a, 1983b) Holmberg (1986) Roberts (1984) Sewart (1984) W e l l i n g t o n High School Evening I n s t i t u t e , the Department of U n i v e r s i t y E x t e n s i o n of V i c t o r i a U n i v e r s i t y , and the W e l l i n g t o n Workers' E d u c a t i o n a l A s s o c i a t i o n Open L e a r n i n g I n s t i t u t e of Hongkong F e r n u n i v e r s i t a e t B r i t i s h Open U n i v e r s i t y Indiana U n i v e r s i t y Open L e a r n i n g I n s t i t u t e Allama Iqbal Open U n i v e r s i t y D a r l i n g Down I n s t i t u t e of Advanced E d u c a t i o n Open L e a r n i n g I n s t i t u t e Tasmanian S t a t e Ins-t i t u t e of Technology U n i v e r s i t y of the South P a c i f i c Chinese U n i v e r s i t y of Hongkong U n i v e r s i t y of Manitoba U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka N a t i o n a l Correspondence C o l l e g e (NCC) Athabasca U n i v e r s i t y NKI-Skolen F e r n u n i v e r s i t a e t C h a r l e s S t u r t U n i v e r s i t y B r i t i s h Open U n i v e r s i t y New Zealand Hongkong Germany U n i t e d Kingdom U n i t e d S t a t e s B.C., Canada P a k i s t a n Queensland B.C., Canada Tasmania South P a c i f i c Hongkong Canada Indonesia Indonesia Zambia A l b e r t a , Canada Norway Germany R i v e r i n a U n i t e d Kingdom 71 The.dropout models reviewed i n i t i a l l y , r e g a r d l e s s of t h e i r d i f f e r e n c e s , c o n c e p t u a l i z e d dropout as a phenomenon which c o u l d be understood through an a n a l y s i s of the i n t e r a c t i o n between i n d i v i d u a l p a r t i c i p a n t s and t h e i r environment. T i n t o (1975) and B o s h i e r (1973) s t r e s s the i n t e r a c t i o n s of the i n d i v i d u a l w i t h the academic environment, while Kennedy and Powell (1976) as w e l l as Kember (1989) a l s o emphasize the importance of the f a m i l y and work environments. Des p i t e the d i f f e r e n c e s i n terms used, a l l the models argue that the more compatible the p a r t i c i p a n t ' s p e r s o n a l s i t u a t i o n with the academic circumstances, the h i g h e r the l i k e l i h o o d of p e r s i s t e n c e . In l i n e w i t h the models, the reviewed e m p i r i c a l s t u d i e s show t h a t student c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which seem to i n f l u e n c e p e r s i s t e n c e i n c l u d e demographic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and o t h e r i n n e r - p s y c h o l o g i c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s such as l e a r n i n g s t y l e s and m o t i v a t i o n . A l l the s t u d i e s show that these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are a s s o c i a t e d and i n t e r a c t w i t h each other, and w i t h both academic and non-academic environments. None of the s t u d i e s suggests a s i n g l e v a r i a b l e t h a t c o n s i s t e n t l y e x p l a i n s dropout. With r e g a r d to the d e f i n i t i o n and measurement of dropout, the l i t e r a t u r e r e v e a l s that the p e r s i s t e n c e phenomenon has been mostly viewed, d e f i n e d and measured i n terms of dropout. As d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r , a p p l y i n g t h i s view (dropout) to d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n i s p r o b l e m a t i c . Woodley and P a r l e t t ' s (1983), Roberts' (1984) and Wong's (1987) approaches of measuring 72 student p e r s i s t e n c e i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n r a t h e r than dropout seem to be more s u i t a b l e compared to the o t h e r s ( i . e . TEF and NUEA approaches). Wong, i n p a r t i c u l a r , proposes a continuous approach through measurements of students' performances or outcomes sought by the d i s t a n c e educators such as grades, submission of assignments, and course completion. Even though these approaches seem to be reasonable and manageable, some ada p t a t i o n s s t i l l need to be a p p l i e d across d i f f e r e n t purposes and i n s t i t u t i o n s . F o r t u n a t e l y , s t u d i e s a l s o show t h a t , d e s p i t e i t s complexity, i t would seem dropout c o u l d be somewhat prevented and reduced by a combination of i n s t i t u t i o n a l i n t e r v e n t i o n s . Such i n t e r v e n t i o n s i n c l u d e the accommodation of f a c e - t o - f a c e t e a c h i n g f u n c t i o n s such as g i v i n g encouragement, feedback, and comments. The p r o v i s i o n of these f u n c t i o n s c o u l d be a i d e d by employing Holmberg's concept of guided d i d a c t i c c o n v e r s a t i o n , t u t o r - c o u n s e l l o r s , telephone t u t o r i n g , or l e t t e r s . Furthermore, the f i n d i n g s of T a y l o r et a l . show t h a t g e n e r a l i z a t i o n of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n r e s e a r c h f i n d i n g s i s p r o b l e m a t i c . Therefore, any method of i n t e r v e n t i o n s f o r a p a r t i c u l a r d i s t a n c e l e a r n i n g environment should be designed based on i n f o r m a t i o n d e r i v e d from the context of the d i s t a n c e l e a r n i n g program i n q u e s t i o n ; the review of the l i t e r a t u r e c l e a r l y shows t h a t i n v e s t i g a t i o n s , models, and t h e o r i e s do not seem to be g e n e r a l i z a b l e a c r o s s d i f f e r e n t i n s t i t u t i o n s and programs. 73 A c c o r d i n g l y , i n o r d e r to a l l o w the reader to understand the c o n t e x t u a l nature of the p e r s i s t e n c e phenomenon at UT, the next c h a p t e r reviews the l i t e r a t u r e d e t a i l i n g the c o n t e x t u a l background of Indonesia (and UT) i n which the study was conducted. 74 Chapter Three Contextual Background The N a t i o n a l Context Indonesia: demographic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , economics, and p o l i t i c s . Indonesia i s the l a r g e s t a r c h i p e l a g o i n the world, s t r e t c h i n g more than 3,500 m i l e s , and c o n s i s t i n g of over 14,000 i s l a n d s (Asian Development Bank, 1986). I t i s the f i f t h most populous country i n the world (179 m i l l i o n ) , w i t h a r e l a t i v e l y h i g h p o p u l a t i o n growth r a t e of almost two per cent per year. Demographically, Indonesia has e x t e n s i v e age d i s t r i b u t i o n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s w i t h each age group s i g n i f i c a n t l y l a r g e r than that born b e f o r e i t (Hugo et a l . , 1987). In 1991, h a l f of the p o p u l a t i o n was under 20 years of age and 85 percent of the people s t i l l l i v e d i n the r u r a l areas. The spread of the p o p u l a t i o n throughout the country i s v e r y unbalanced w i t h over 60 percent of the people l i v i n g on the densely p o p u l a t e d i s l a n d s of Java, B a l i , and Madura (Na t i o n a l Development Information O f f i c e , 1992). Economically, the country depends v e r y much on o i l revenue, although the a g r i c u l t u r a l and manufacturing s e c t o r s are becoming i n c r e a s i n g l y important. Major c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the economy i n c l u d e low l a b o r a b s o r p t i o n r a t e s and low r a t e s of income per c a p i t a (about US $590.00 per annum). In the mid 75 1980's, the unemployment r a t e was about 4 2 per cent among the l e s s educated i n the r u r a l areas, and 22 per cent among the educated i n the urban areas (Asian Development Bank, 1986). These unemployed people tended to be those persons who, because of t h e i r i l l i t e r a c y , c o u l d not be absorbed by the p u b l i c or p r i v a t e s e c t o r . D e s p i t e t h i s , d u r i n g the l a s t 20 years, the Indonesian economy has grown at an average of 7 per cent per year (Asian Development Bank, 1986). Indonesia i s p r o b a b l y the most e t h n i c a l l y and c u l t u r a l l y heterogeneous of the world's l a r g e s t n a t i o n s (Hugo et a l . , 1987). Given the d i v e r s i t y and i n t e r - r e g i o n a l h e t e r o g e n e i t y , MacAndrews (1986) argued t h a t what holds Indonesia t o g e t h e r b e s i d e s g e o g r a p h i c a l c o n t i g u i t y i s the strong, h i g h l y c e n t r a l i z e d government. P o l i c y making i s e s s e n t i a l l y a "top down" process i n which the c e n t r a l government p l a y s a prominent r o l e . The p o l i t i c a l h i e r a r c h y i s based i n J a k a r t a , and the 27 p r o v i n c e s are not autonomous; t h e r e f o r e , the government management i s h i g h l y b u r e a u c r a t i c . S o c i o - c u l t u r a l context. Indonesian s o c i e t y i s a mosaic of e t h n i c and r e g i o n a l c u l t u r e s (Hugo et a l . , 1987; H i l l , 1989). Because of t h i s , i t would be m i s l e a d i n g to a s s e r t that there i s a s o c i a l t r a d i t i o n r e p r e s e n t i n g the e n t i r e spectrum of Indonesian s o c i e t y . Rather, there i s a mainstream c u l t u r e which amalgamates c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of e t h n i c , r e l i g i o u s , and r e g i o n a l v a l u e s that are a p p l i c a b l e to any s o c i a l or g e o g r a p h i c a l area i n Indonesia. 76 Des p i t e e f f o r t s to d e c e n t r a l i z e government t o the p r o v i n c e s , J a k a r t a i s s t i l l c o n s i d e r e d c e n t r a l f o r p h y s i c a l and s o c i a l c r i t e r i a of n a t i o n a l achievements ( H i l l , 1989). Thus, the mainstream v a l u e s of J a k a r t a are l i k e l y t o become the v a l u e s accepted throughout the country. Over the l a s t two decades, i n c r e a s e d access t o e d u c a t i o n i n g e n e r a l has opened up more o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r v e r t i c a l and h o r i z o n t a l movement of i n d i v i d u a l s w i t h i n the s o c i e t y ( r e g a r d l e s s of cause). T h i s o p p o r t u n i t y has c r e a t e d an atmosphere i n which mainstream v a l u e s are more w i d e l y accepted. Thus, to g e t h e r w i t h the d e c l i n e i n the importance of r o y a l t i t l e s (Indonesia p r o c l a i m e d i t s independence i n 1945 as a r e p u b l i c but l o c a l r a j a h s and s u l t a n s are s t i l l r e c o g n i z e d ) , academic achievements have become an important v e h i c l e f o r a t t a i n i n g s o c i a l s t a t u s . Recent demographic trends have shown an i n c r e a s e i n the number of f a m i l i e s and a d e c l i n e i n the number of members of a n u c l e a r f a m i l y (Hugo et a l . , 1987). These trends, however, do not n e c e s s a r i l y mean a d i r e c t d e c l i n e i n the va l u e o f extended f a m i l y o r i n the importance of the extended f a m i l y i n the d e c i s i o n making process of an i n d i v i d u a l o r a (nuclear) f a m i l y w i t h i n t h a t extended f a m i l y . In many cases, extended f a m i l y p l a y s a v e r y s i g n i f i c a n t r o l e i n an Indonesian i n d i v i d u a l ' s l i f e , e s p e c i a l l y i n making d e c i s i o n s which w i l l a f f e c t the s t a t u s of the extended f a m i l y . While i n d i v i d u a l s are more l i k e l y be l e f t alone i n d e c i d i n g where they would l i k e t o l i v e , o t h e r d e c i s i o n s , such as whom they w i l l marry, what 77 r e l i g i o n they w i l l f o l l o w , what school they w i l l a t t e n d and what s u b j e c t they w i l l study, are l i k e l y t o be s t r o n g l y i n f l u e n c e d by o t h e r s i n t h e i r f a m i l y . "Keleluasaan i n d i v i d u " ( i n d i v i d u a l space) i n making a d e c i s i o n has to be e x p l a i n e d by r e f e r r i n g to the two most formative f o r c e s i n the s o c i e t y : the government and the k i n s h i p a s s o c i a t i o n . The b u r e a u c r a t i c government systems r e q u i r e i n d i v i d u a l s to b l i n d l y obey r e g u l a t i o n s to a v o i d d i r e c t c o n t a c t ( i . e . c o n f r o n t a t i o n ) w i t h the e n f o r c i n g agents. Fur t h e r , w hile government c o n t r o l s many aspects of i n d i v i d u a l s ' l i v e s and might p r e c o n d i t i o n i n d i v i d u a l s to a v o i d d e c i s i o n making, there may a l s o be cases when i n d i v i d u a l s simply h e s i t a t e to make d e c i s i o n s because they do not want, or cannot not a f f o r d to, o f f e n d the r e f e r e n c e f i g u r e s (e.g. employer, teacher, etc.) who are s o c i a l l y expected to have the wisdom to decide f o r them. On the o t h e r hand, Hugo et a l . a l s o c l a i m t h a t , w i t h i n e t h n i c groups, Indonesians have k i n s h i p and r e g i o n a l or l o c a l grouping l o y a l t i e s , and f r e q u e n t l y t h e i r b e h a v i o r i s i n f l u e n c e d by group norms f o r m a l i z e d i n a body of customary ("adat") law (Hugo et a l . , 1987). Furthermore, Maude (1979) and Nairn (1976) suggested t h a t , although the e x p l i c i t or apparent r a t i o n a l e of a d e c i s i o n might be economic, i t a l s o might be more s t r o n g l y i n f l u e n c e d by i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d customs. Another v a l u e s t i l l s t r o n g l y f e l t i n Indonesian s o c i e t y , r e g a r d l e s s of the accepted complementary r o l e s of women and 78 men, i s t h a t men are s t i l l expected to be more educated than women (Locher-Scholten and Niehof, 1987). They are expected to pursue h i g h e r education, and become the bread (or r a t h e r r i c e ) winners i n the f a m i l i e s . Perhaps the most c o n c i s e d e s c r i p t i o n of Indonesian s o c i o -c u l t u r a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s i s found i n the work of Dunbar (1991). He l i s t e d s i x key f a c t o r s i n f l u e n c i n g d e c i s i o n making, r e l a t i o n to a u t h o r i t y , and a t t i t u d e toward c o n f r o n t a t i o n . Indonesian s o c i e t y , he e x p l a i n e d , i n c l u d e d : 1. the e x i s t e n c e of e l a b o r a t e , formal s o c i a l h i e r a r c h i e s ; 2. [an o v e r a l l p a t t e r n of] i n d i v i d u a l b e h a v i o r which was determined by r e l a t i v e s t a t u s i n s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n s , which f o r most means submission to an a u t h o r i t y f i g u r e , and approval seeking; 3. u n c o n d i t i o n a l deference to the a u t h o r i t y f i g u r e i n matters of t a s t e , judgement, knowledge, and o p i n i o n ; 4. a s t r o n g sense of communality or group i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , and the shunning of i n d i v i d u a l i s m ; 5. s o c i a l b e havior d e l i n e a t e d by numerous i m p l i c i t r u l e s which e s t a b l i s h ' c o r r e c t ' b e h a v i o r and a t t i t u d e s ; 6. an o v e r r i d i n g requirement f o r s o c i a l harmony and the avoidance of c o n f r o n t a t i o n (p. 167). E d u c a t i o n . One of the primary ways these s o c i o - c u l t u r a l norms are r e i n f o r c e d i s , of course, through the e d u c a t i o n a l system. At the c u r r e n t time, s i x years of primary e d u c a t i o n i s compulsory f o r every c h i l d aged 7-12 y e a r s . Secondary e d u c a t i o n ( f o r ages 13-18 years) i s d i v i d e d i n t o two l e v e l s , j u n i o r and s e n i o r secondary. At the j u n i o r l e v e l , most schools are g e n e r a l secondary s c h o o l s (Sekolah Menengah Pertama - SMP); o n l y a few are v o c a t i o n a l and t e c h n i c a l . At 79 the s e n i o r l e v e l , while the m a j o r i t y are s t i l l g e n e r a l secondary s c h o o l s (Sekolah Menengah Atas - SMA), p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y more v o c a t i o n a l and t e c h n i c a l s c h o o l s e x i s t (Asian Development Bank, 1986). The c u r r i c u l a f o r both primary and secondary e d u c a t i o n are developed by the D i r e c t o r a t e of Primary and Secondary E d u c a t i o n of the M i n i s t r y of E d u c a t i o n and C u l t u r e . Schools are to adopt t h i s s t a n d a r d i z e d c u r r i c u l u m w i t h minimum a d a p t a t i o n to l o c a l s i t u a t i o n s . For example, i n a d d i t i o n to p r e - v o c a t i o n a l , t e c h n i c a l , and g e n e r a l s u b j e c t s , the secondary s c h o o l s must a l s o teach moral and i d e o l o g i c a l c o urses. The government h e a v i l y emphasizes t h i s moral and i d e o l o g i c a l t r a i n i n g i n o r d e r to have students i n t e r n a l i z e the p o l i t i c a l a s p i r a t i o n s of the n a t i o n (Asian Development Bank, 1986). These o b s e r v a t i o n s speak to the content of the standard c u r r i c u l a , but t h i s content h e a v i l y a f f e c t s t e a c h i n g methods as w e l l . For example, s e n i o r secondary s c h o o l students must take seventeen courses i n almost every semester. E f f o r t s to reduce t h i s l a r g e number of courses and c r e a t e a more e f f e c t i v e c u r r i c u l u m have not been s u c c e s s f u l (Asian Development Bank, 1986), even though the requirement of so many courses hampers the development of a h o l i s t i c o r deep approach to l e a r n i n g . The study l o a d i n e v i t a b l y f o r c e s students i n t o r o t e l e a r n i n g , and entrenches e x a m i n a t i o n / t e s t i n g - o r i e n t e d methods. I n t e r e s t i n g l y , Dunbar (1991) found t h a t s e r i o u s r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g are w i d e l y unpopular and not h i g h l y v a l u e d as a 80 means of g a i n i n g or communicating knowledge or a source of p e r s o n a l improvement i n Indonesia. Rather, he c l a i m e d t h a t people s t i l l p r e f e r d i r e c t , o r a l , i n t e r p e r s o n a l communication, i d e a l l y i n a s o c i a b l e atmosphere, f o r g a i n i n g new knowledge. Furthermore, Dunbar observed t h a t l e a r n i n g i s u s u a l l y p e r c e i v e d i n Indonesia as p a r t of an immediate and h i e r a r c h i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h teachers who possess c o r r e c t and u n c h a l l e n g e a b l e knowledge. T h i s c o n s i d e r a t i o n of e d u c a t i o n a l content, methods, and c u l t u r a l p r e c o n c e p t i o n s about t e a c h e r s thus seems to r e i n f o r c e a tendency f o r Indonesian l e a r n e r s to focus t h e i r e f f o r t s on p a s s i n g examinations and p a s s i v e l y s u b m i t t i n g to the d i r e c t i o n s of t h e i r t e a c h e r s (Dunbar, 1991). T e s t i n g t h i s tendency i s o u t s i d e the scope of t h i s study. N e v e r t h e l e s s , the focus of t h i s study, i . e . to t e s t mechanisms designed to improve p e r s i s t e n c e i n a d u l t d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n at UT, n e c e s s a r i l y c o n s i d e r s the i m p l i c a t i o n s of Dunbar's o b s e r v a t i o n s . S p e c i f i c a l l y , i t c o n s i d e r s t h a t d i s t a n c e education, by conception, l a r g e l y i n v o l v e s r e a d i n g , w r i t i n g , minimal f a c e - t o - f a c e contact, and independent r a t h e r than examination d r i v e n or teacher l e d study p a t t e r n s . I f Dunbar's c u l t u r a l o b s e r v a t i o n s (which are c o r r o b o r a t e d by the r e s e a r c h e r ' s p e r s o n a l experience as a member of the Indonesian c u l t u r e ) about Indonesians are v a l i d , d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n c o u l d prove p r o b l e m a t i c i n an Indonesian context; one m a n i f e s t a t i o n of t h i s c o u l d be a h i g h r a t e of student n o n - p e r s i s t e n c e . 81 I m p l i c a t i o n s f o r d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . The d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n program designed by U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka was o r i g i n a l l y deeply i n f l u e n c e d by the system e s t a b l i s h e d i n western c o u n t r i e s , p a r t i c u l a r l y t h a t of the B r i t i s h Open U n i v e r s i t y (BOU). The BOU model i n v o l v e s the l a r g e - s c a l e d i s s e m i n a t i o n of mainly t e x t - b a s e d i n s t r u c t i o n a l media supported by a c e n t r a l i z e d student a d m i n i s t r a t i o n and support s e r v i c e . I t appears the UT plan n e r s assumed t h a t Indonesian d i s t a n c e l e a r n e r s would behave i n much the same ways as t h e i r western c o u n t e r p a r t s when fa c e d w i t h t e a c h i n g and l e a r n i n g v i a mediation, most e v e n t u a l l y mastering the technique of e d u c a t i o n without a d i r e c t and continuous p e r s o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h a teacher. (Dunbar, 1991, p. 162) However, based on the p r e v i o u s d i s c u s s i o n , t h i s assumption must be questi o n e d . U n l i k e western c u l t u r e , which i s i n g e n e r a l more l i k e l y to f o s t e r p e r s o n a l independence, i n d i v i d u a l i s m , and p e r s o n a l autonomy, Indonesian c u l t u r e emphasizes r e s p e c t , submission, and deference (Dunbar, 1991). W i t h i n Indonesian c u l t u r e , i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c behavior, no matter how c r e a t i v e , o r i g i n a l , or u s e f u l , i s u s u a l l y discouraged. The western concept of i n d i v i d u a l i n t e l l e c t u a l and p h y s i c a l s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y , l e a d i n g to a s t r o n g sense of separate p e r s o n a l i d e n t i t y , might even be co n s i d e r e d a n t i - s o c i a l and arrogant by Indonesians. A c c o r d i n g l y , Indonesians are u n l i k e l y t o act wit h i n d i v i d u a l autonomy and are accustomed t o a v o i d behaviors o r statements which might be construed by others t o be e x p r e s s i o n s of p e r s o n a l independence (Dunbar, 1991) . With r e g a r d t o l e a r n i n g 82 s i t u a t i o n s , they are a c c l i m a t i z e d to be t o l d what to do and not to q u e s t i o n anything that t e a c h e r s t e l l them, and t h e r e f o r e they are most l i k e l y teacher-dependent l e a r n e r s . On the o t h e r hand, the model adopted by UT assumes t h a t students are capable of autonomous l e a r n i n g b e h a v i o r s , and that on e n t r y they are p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y prepared f o r the p e r s o n a l demands imposed by a teacher-independent, s e l f - s t u d y regime. Perhaps because of c u l t u r a l e x p e c t a t i o n s to get u n i v e r s i t y degrees, students themselves a p p a r e n t l y b e l i e v e d t h i s n o n - f a m i l i a r e d u c a t i o n a l approach was worth t r y i n g . Indeed, when UT was i n i t i a l l y opened, the number of a p p l i c a t i o n s was overwhelming. T h i s i l l u s t r a t e s the extent of the d e s i r e to meet the e x p e c t a t i o n s of f a m i l y and s o c i e t y f o r u n i v e r s i t y degrees, to i n c r e a s e e m p l o y a b i l i t y , and to enhance i n d i v i d u a l a b i l i t y to move v e r t i c a l l y both i n c a r e e r and i n s o c i a l s t a t u s . However, the a p p l i c a n t s seemed to be i g n o r a n t of the requirements of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n and the consequences of not f u l f i l l i n g them. T h i s l a c k of r e a d i n e s s combined w i t h minimum guidance from the i n s t i t u t i o n r e s u l t e d i n h i g h a t t r i t i o n r a t e s . As Table 1:1 showed, the h i g h e s t completion r a t e of UT students s i n c e i t opened i n 1984 was o n l y 7.4 percent (see Table 1.1). T h i s means t h a t about 92.6 percent of e n r o l l e e s d i d not complete t h e i r programs or d i d not graduate w i t h i n a ten year p e r i o d . T h i s i s markedly hi g h e r than, f o r example, the wastage r a t e ( d e f i n e d as the percentage of students who r e g i s t e r e d i n the course(s) but d i d not get the course c r e d i t ) 83 of Athabasca U n i v e r s i t y i n A l b e r t a (71%) and The N a t i o n a l U n i v e r s i t y A s s o c i a t i o n i n USA (40%) as they are r e p o r t e d by Woodley and P a r l e t t (1983) . As noted by M a r d i a n i ' s 1988 study i n Indonesia, most students r a t e d f a c e - t o - f a c e t u t o r i a l s and i n f o r m a t i o n s e r v i c e s as the most important support s e r v i c e s f o r g a i n i n g knowledge, f o r improving t h e i r grades, f o r m o t i v a t i n g them to l e a r n , and f o r p r e v e n t i n g them from withdrawing. The study a l s o showed that the s e r v i c e s l i s t e d as the most needed by students were i n f o r m a t i o n s e r v i c e s , l i b r a r y s e r v i c e s , f a c e - t o - f a c e t u t o r i a l s , study groups, a d v i s i n g s e r v i c e s , supplementary m a t e r i a l s , student guidance, and c o u n s e l l i n g s e r v i c e s . These f i n d i n g s would appear to support the c o n t e n t i o n t h a t UT students were s t i l l l o o k i n g f o r c o n v e n t i o n a l f a c e - t o - f a c e and guided t e a c h i n g methods, even while engaged i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka's I n s t i t u t i o n a l Background H i s t o r y and purpose of the establishment of U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka. Indonesia s t a r t e d u s i n g a d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n system i n 1955 w i t h the establishment of a correspondence diploma program f o r upgrading t e a c h e r s . However, i t was not u n t i l 1981 when two d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n p r o j e c t s were s t a r t e d t o g i v e i n - s e r v i c e t r a i n i n g t o secondary and t e r t i a r y l e v e l t e a c h e r s t h a t a d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n system was w i d e l y u t i l i z e d . These 84 programs were e s t a b l i s h e d as c r a s h programs f o r t e a c h e r t r a i n i n g t o keep up w i t h the demand f o r a d d i t i o n a l t e a c h e r s . Subsequently, the s k i l l s of those t e a c h e r s who needed upgrading c o u l d o n l y be met w i t h d i s t a n c e education, s i n c e r e g u l a r t r a i n i n g was too expensive and r e p l a c i n g t e a c h e r s f o r f u r t h e r t r a i n i n g was d i f f i c u l t . I t was these programs which l a t e r formed a p a r t of UT. U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka (UT) i s a s t a t e u n i v e r s i t y and the o n l y open u n i v e r s i t y i n Indonesia. I t was e s t a b l i s h e d i n September 1984 w i t h three main o b j e c t i v e s : (1) to widen access to h i g h e r education, e s p e c i a l l y f o r recent graduates of s e n i o r h i g h s c h o o l s ; (2) to t r a i n i n c r e a s i n g numbers of students i n areas demanded by the economic and c u l t u r a l development of the country; and (3) to upgrade secondary school t e a c h e r s who graduated from the s h o r t - t e r m programs to enable them to o b t a i n the f u l l - t e a c h e r t r a i n i n g degree (Asian Development Bank, 1986). S p e c i f i c a l l y , UT was intended to be a f l e x i b l e and i n e x p e n s i v e u n i v e r s i t y f o c u s i n g on s e r v i n g people who d i d not have the o p p o r t u n i t y to a t t e n d c o n v e n t i o n a l f a c e - t o - f a c e h i g h e r e d u c a t i o n i n s t i t u t i o n s f o r v a r i o u s reasons, i n c l u d i n g l a c k of funding, l i v i n g i n i s o l a t e d and r u r a l areas, and working f u l l - t i m e ( U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka, 1991a). At the time of t h i s study, UT o f f e r e d both diploma and degree programs under f o u r d i f f e r e n t f a c u l t i e s : (1) the F a c u l t y of Economics and Management; (2) the F a c u l t y of Mathematics and S t a t i s t i c s ; (3) the F a c u l t y of S o c i a l and 85 P o l i t i c a l S c i e n c e s ; and (4) the F a c u l t y of E d u c a t i o n . The F a c u l t y o f E d u c a t i o n i s a c t u a l l y the t r a n s f e r r e d i n - s e r v i c e t e acher t r a i n i n g program mentioned e a r l i e r , and accepted o n l y p r a c t i c i n g t e a c h e r s . The emphasis of UT i s more on s o c i a l s c i e n c e s and mathematics r a t h e r than on p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e s and t e c h n o l o g i e s . T h i s i s because UT c o u l d not p r o v i d e f a c i l i t i e s f o r courses which r e q u i r e d l a b o r a t o r y work such as p h y s i c s and b i o l o g y . Admission and r e g i s t r a t i o n system. U n l i k e the B r i t i s h Open U n i v e r s i t y (BOU), UT r e q u i r e s formal entrance q u a l i f i c a t i o n s such as the Indonesian High School c e r t i f i c a t e or i t s e q u i v a l e n t . However, there are no f u r t h e r requirements f o r s t udents t o be accepted. I t i s v e r y easy t o become an UT student. Students simply have to buy a r e g i s t r a t i o n form from e i t h e r a r e g i o n a l o f f i c e o r a post o f f i c e . The completed r e g i s t r a t i o n form may be mailed d i r e c t l y t o the c e n t r a l o f f i c e or t o the r e g i o n a l o f f i c e s . However, a l l r e g i s t r a t i o n s are processed and the r e c o r d s are kept i n the computing c e n t e r at the c e n t r a l o f f i c e i n J a k a r t a . Students may r e g i s t e r throughout the year except i n what i s c a l l e d the " o f f - r e g i s t r a t i o n s e s s i o n . " Students' r e g i s t r a t i o n i s v a l i d f o r 15 months from the date of r e g i s t r a t i o n , o r for, two f o l l o w i n g f i n a l examination p e r i o d s (two semesters). The v a l i d i t y of t h i s r e g i s t r a t i o n determines the e l i g i b i l i t y o f the students t o take f i n a l examinations i n the r e g i s t e r e d courses. UT a d m i n i s t e r s two f i n a l examinations 86 per year ( i n June and December). Students are e l i g i b l e to take the f i r s t exams f o r the courses i n which they are r e g i s t e r e d a f t e r at l e a s t 10 weeks and no l a t e r than 15 months from the r e g i s t r a t i o n date. In o t h e r words, i f they missed t h e i r f i r s t examination, they are s t i l l e l i g i b l e t o w r i t e the examinations the f o l l o w i n g semester (without p a y i n g the course r e g i s t r a t i o n f e e ) ; but, i f they miss t h i s second chance, they are not e l i g i b l e to w r i t e the examinations without r e -r e g i s t e r i n g f o r the courses (which means paying the course r e g i s t r a t i o n fee a g a i n ) . New e n r o l l e e s have to r e g i s t e r f o r a package ("PAKET 1") c o n s i s t i n g of 4 to 5 f o u n d a t i o n courses (depending upon the major they t a k e ) . Students, however, are allowed to take as many or as few courses as they want i n the subsequent semesters. The o n l y r e s t r i c t i o n students have to c o n s i d e r r e g a r d i n g the number of courses taken i s the course r e g i s t r a t i o n f e e s ( t u i t i o n f e e s ) . T u i t i o n f e e s are determined by the number of c r e d i t s such as f o l l o w s : (1) 2 -- 9 c r e d i t s Rp. 45,000 Cdn $28 (2) 13 -- 15 c r e d i t s Rp. 60,000 Cdn $38 (3) 16 -- 18 courses : Rp. 90,000 Cdn $56 (4) 19 -- 21 c r e d i t s : Rp. 105,000 Cdn $66 (5) 22 -- 24 c r e d i t s : Rp. 120,000 Cdn $75 where Cdn $1.00 i s about equal to Rp.1,600 (1.600 r u p i a h s ) . Student r e c o r d s (personal and academic) are maintained as long as they are a c t i v e l y t a k i n g courses. Students are allowed to suspend t h e i r s t u d i e s f o r up to two academic years 87 ( i . e . f o u r semesters). I f students do not r e g i s t e r f o r any course i n f o u r continuous semesters, t h e i r r e c o r d s are " f r o z e n . " T h i s means t h a t i f they wish to continue to study again, they must apply as new students. However, t h e i r p r e v i o u s courses may be t r a n s f e r r e d i n t o t h e i r new r e c o r d s . I n s t r u c t i o n a l system. Because of the d i v e r s e t a r g e t p o p u l a t i o n , UT has e l e c t e d to use the s i m p l e s t system of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n p o s s i b l e w i t h a v a i l a b l e and a c c e s s i b l e r e s o u r c e s . P r i n t m a t e r i a l s were s e l e c t e d as the primary i n s t r u c t i o n a l d e l i v e r y system. The c h o i c e of p r i n t m a t e r i a l s as the primary medium was based on the low p r i c e and the r e l a t i v e l y simple p r o d u c t i o n p r o c e s s . O c c a s i o n a l l y , c e r t a i n course content such as language p r o n u n c i a t i o n may be d e l i v e r e d v i a a u d i o - c a s s e t t e s . In g e n e r a l , p r i n t m a t e r i a l s r e p r e s e n t about 96% of the t o t a l course m a t e r i a l s (UNESCO/ICDE, 1990). The course m a t e r i a l s are g e n e r a l l y the work of i n d i v i d u a l s r a t h e r than teams. The team approach i s used o n l y to develop the c u r r i c u l u m and to s e l e c t the course w r i t e r s (content e x p e r t s ) . The course w r i t e r s (who are n a t i o n a l l y known p r o f e s s o r s from c o n v e n t i o n a l u n i v e r s i t i e s ) have almost no communication wi t h UT's s t a f f who are r e s p o n s i b l e f o r e d i t i n g and t y p i n g the m a t e r i a l s i n t o the r e a d y - t o - t y p e s e t form. Course m a t e r i a l s are sent to students (who put i n an order) by p o s t . In the f i r s t two years of o p e r a t i o n (1984-1986) the students had to p i c k up the course m a t e r i a l s from 88 the post o f f i c e ; but b e g i n n i n g September 1986, a f t e r a new a d m i n i s t r a t i v e system was i n t r o d u c e d , students were ab l e to get t h e i r modules at t h e i r homes. The new system a l s o allowed students to take t h e i r c h o i c e of courses w i t h i n the l i m i t s posed by the c u r r i c u l u m . P r e v i o u s l y , students had to take courses i n packages, so t h a t a l l students would have to r e g i s t e r f o r the same courses. In 1986, the d e l i v e r y system became much more complicated. Before the new system was i n t r o d u c e d , every student w i t h i n the same study program r e c e i v e d the same course m a t e r i a l s at the post o f f i c e . A f t e r the new system was a p p l i e d , r e g i s t r a t i o n f o r courses had to be a d m i n i s t e r e d and recorded s e p a r a t e l y f o r each student. Students are expected to study the p r o v i d e d m a t e r i a l s independently. As a support, two f r e e t u t o r i a l s e s s i o n s per semester are p r o v i d e d . I t was o r i g i n a l l y expected t h a t t u t o r i a l s e s s i o n s would be used to help students overcome d i f f i c u l t p a r t s of course content. However, those t u t o r i a l s e s s i o n s are l i m i t e d t o o n l y twice per course per year (each o n l y l a s t s about 60-120 minutes) and are u s u a l l y h e l d i n the c i t i e s where the r e g i o n a l o f f i c e s are l o c a t e d . T h e r e f o r e , t u t o r i a l s e s s i o n s are mostly unpopular and attended by o n l y about 10 per cent of the student p o p u l a t i o n (Asian Development Bank, 1986) . Because of t h i s , o n l y courses t h a t are requested by students (through t h e i r study group--see below) are o f f e r e d i n t u t o r i a l s . I f and o n l y i f a study group c o n s i s t s of at l e a s t 20 students, i t may request t u t o r i a l s f o r p a r t i c u l a r 89 courses. I n d i v i d u a l requests f o r t u t o r i a l s are not granted s i n c e they are not c o n s i d e r e d c o s t - e f f e c t i v e . UT encourages students t o set up study groups. Survey r e s u l t s i n d i c a t e d t h a t , at one p o i n t , throughout the country more than one thousand study groups e x i s t e d (Asian Development Bank, 1986) . F u r t h e r , i t i s a l s o common f o r students t o form study groups and take advantage of p r i v a t e t u t o r s . P r i v a t e t u t o r s are t u t o r s who are not h i r e d by UT but by students themselves (Belawati, 1988). The l a r g e number of UT students has a l s o a t t r a c t e d p r i v a t e s e c t o r o r g a n i z a t i o n s t o o f f e r i n t e n s i v e t u t o r i a l programs f o r students. However, s i n c e t h i s type of t u t o r i a l u s u a l l y r e q u i r e s r e l a t i v e l y h i g h fees, few students take advantage of t h i s s e r v i c e . Radio and t e l e v i s i o n b roadcasts supplement the p r i n t m a t e r i a l s , but are used minimally--about 1% of the t o t a l course materials--(UNESCO/ICDE, 1990), though f o r d i f f e r e n t reasons. U n f o r t u n a t e l y , r a d i o , although i t i s a c c e s s i b l e to most students, does not seem to be popu l a r w i t h them. T h i s i s perhaps because students are o n l y able t o hear the program once, and because of some s c h e d u l i n g problems. T e l e v i s i o n , on the o t h e r hand, i s used o n l y on a l i m i t e d b a s i s (25 minutes f o r every two weeks), due to the hi g h c o s t of t r a n s m i s s i o n . The a l l o t t e d broadcast time i s used more f o r promotional aspects than f o r i n s t r u c t i o n a l ones. UT has e s t a b l i s h e d 32 r e g i o n a l o f f i c e s throughout the 27 p r o v i n c e s . Many inexpensive channels were t r i e d t o communicate wi t h these o f f i c e s . However, apart from the 90 p o s t a l s e r v i c e which i s adequately a c c e s s i b l e t o people throughout the country, no o t h e r channel appeared to f u n c t i o n w e l l . Telephone and t e l e x are used f o r urgent data t r a n s f e r and a d m i n i s t r a t i v e matters. However, the use of t e l e x s e r v i c e s i s l i m i t e d because o n l y about h a l f of the r e g i o n a l o f f i c e s have t e l e x machines. I t i s not easy to s e t up t e l e x machines at these o f f i c e s because of the low q u a l i t y of the telephone network. Although Indonesia has an e x c e l l e n t domestic s a t e l l i t e system, the ground telephone l i n e s are a n t i q u a t e d and f u l l of n o i s e i n t e r f e r e n c e (Asian Development Bank, 1986) . Communication w i t h students i s even more d i f f i c u l t t o e s t a b l i s h and to m a i n tai n . Communication channels such as those w i d e l y used i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n i n developed c o u n t r i e s (e.g. computer networks, audio conferences, etc.) are d i f f i c u l t i f not i m p o s s i b l e f o r students to access. Thus, the o n l y communication channel a c c e s s i b l e to a l l students i s m a i l , while telephone i s o n l y a c c e s s i b l e to some students i n urban areas. A telephone i s s t i l l a l u x u r y f o r most Indonesians. The examination system r e q u i r e s students to come to p a r t i c u l a r p l a c e s , u s u a l l y l o c a l s c h o o l s i n the r e g i o n a l c e n t e r ' s areas, to w r i t e f i n a l examinations. In a d d i t i o n t o these f i n a l examinations, students are a l s o encouraged to do s e l f - t e s t s c o n t a i n e d i n the course m a t e r i a l s and to w r i t e a take-home mid-term examination i n the middle of the semester. The completed mid-term examination i s to be submitted to UT by a c e r t a i n d e a d l i n e . A l l examinations are i n the form of \ o b j e c t i v e t e s t s and students' answers are scanned and s c o r e d by computer at the main o f f i c e i n J a k a r t a . The mid-term examination score, however, i s not always added to the f i n a l examination score f o r students' f i n a l grades because of the i n f r e q u e n t r a t e at which i t i s submitted. T h e r e f o r e , f i n a l examination r e s u l t s (grades) are u s u a l l y the o n l y - feedback g i v e n to students, and those grades are the o n l y r e g u l a r feedback t h a t students r e c e i v e from the i n s t i t u t i o n . In g e n e r a l , two-way communication between students and the i n s t i t u t i o n i s l i m i t e d t o t h i s f i n a l examination event. I n s t i t u t i o n a l f a c t o r s r e l a t e d t o p e r s i s t e n c e . D i s t a n c e education, as d e f i n e d by Holmberg (1986), i n c l u d e s . . . v a r i o u s forms of study at a l l l e v e l s which are not under the continuous, immediate s u p e r v i s i o n of t u t o r s present with t h e i r s t udents i n l e c t u r e rooms or on the same premises, but which, n e v e r t h e l e s s , b e n e f i t from the p l a n n i n g , guidance and t u i t i o n of a t u t o r i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n , (p. 2) I t comprises one-way communication ( p r e s e n t a t i o n of content) by means of p r i n t e d , broadcast and recorded p r e s e n t a t i o n s of l e a r n i n g m a t e r i a l s , and two-way communication between students and the s u p p o r t i n g i n s t i t u t i o n ( regarding both academic and a d m i n i s t r a t i v e m a t t e r s ) . T h i s k i n d of education, as modeled by the B r i t i s h Open U n i v e r s i t y (BOU) and Open L e a r n i n g Agency (OLA), i s f o l l o w e d by UT. However, u n l i k e BOU which takes advantage of a c c e s s i b l e h i g h t e c h n o l o g i e s to supplement i t s p r i n t e d course 92 m a t e r i a l s , UT has to r e l y h e a v i l y on the p r i n t medium. The l i m i t a t i o n i n a c c e s s i b l e t e c h n o l o g i e s such as telephone and t e l e v i s i o n makes two-way communication between the i n s t i t u t i o n and students d i f f i c u l t t o e s t a b l i s h and to m a i n t a i n . Yet, UT was convinced t h a t i t s d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n system c o u l d succeed. D e s p i t e i t s i n i t i a l success i n a t t r a c t i n g a p p l i c a n t s , the l a c k of communication between students and the i n s t i t u t i o n and among o t h e r students remains. Soon a f t e r enrollment students f i n d out t h a t the i n s t i t u t i o n can o f f e r o n l y l i m i t e d support s e r v i c e s , and can m a i n t a i n no r e g u l a r i n d i v i d u a l c o n t a c t . B a s i c a l l y students are expected to study on t h e i r own without a s s i s t a n c e from the i n s t i t u t i o n . Decrease i n enrollment and r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n r a t e s seem to show t h a t t h i s l a c k of support has decreased the i n i t i a l enthusiasm and good e x p e c t a t i o n s h e l d by s t u d e n t s . The l a c k of communication channels has a l s o c r e a t e d problems t h a t have p o s s i b l y c o n t r i b u t e d t o a poor image of UT. When the u n i v e r s i t y implemented the new a d m i n i s t r a t i o n system i n 1986, t h e r e was a l o t of c o n f u s i o n . The new system allowed students to r e c e i v e the package of course m a t e r i a l s at t h e i r own homes. However, the u n i v e r s i t y a d m i n i s t r a t o r s d i d not r e a l i z e t h a t some students might have not have w r i t t e n t h e i r addresses p r o p e r l y on the computer sheets, and t h e r e f o r e many students never r e c e i v e d t h e i r course m a t e r i a l s . Since they d i d not know where to ask and were v e r y upset, many students complained i n the n a t i o n a l newspaper. T h i s l e d to a decrease 93 i n the r a t e s of r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n and the r a t e of new e n r o l l m e n t s i n the f o l l o w i n g academic y e a r s . The q u a l i t y of course m a t e r i a l s i s a l s o a concern. Students o f t e n complain about the number of mistakes they f i n d i n the modules. In a d d i t i o n , the widespread use of o u t s i d e course w r i t e r s (content experts) a l s o l e a d s to l o s s of c o n t r o l over the process, and e r r o r s and delays i n m a t e r i a l s p r o d u c t i o n (UNESCO/ICDE, 1990). T h i s , again, has been mentioned by students as a source of d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n ; and may p o s s i b l y c o n t r i b u t e to the reasons f o r h i g h r a t e of a t t r i t i o n . A d d i t i o n a l l y , UT o v e r - c e n t r a l i z e s most f u n c t i o n s i n J a k a r t a f o r the supply of a s e r v i c e to a g e o g r a p h i c a l l y -d i s p e r s e d s t u d e n t s / c l i e n t e l e (UNESCO/ICDE, 1990). The use of a r e g i o n a l c e n t e r network p u r e l y f o r a d m i n i s t r a t i v e purposes makes the system of a d m i n i s t r a t i o n l a c k cohesiveness and r e s p o n s i v e n e s s . Although students are welcome to c o n t a c t personnel at the r e g i o n a l c e n t e r s , no s p e c i a l p e r s o n n e l have been f o r m a l l y appointed as, f o r example, t u t o r - c o u n s e l l o r s , such as those employed by the Open U n i v e r s i t y i n U n i t e d Kingdom (Sewart, 1982) . As d e s c r i b e d e a r l i e r , UT uses m u l t i p l e c h o i c e forms f o r a s s e s s i n g student l e a r n i n g performance. T h i s assessment (examination) i s the o n l y w e l l - u s e d form of two-way communication between UT and i t s students. There i s no o t h e r s u b s t a n t i a l mechanism to monitor the l e a r n i n g p r o g r e s s of students or to a t t e n d to student feedback. T h e r e f o r e , students are expected to monitor t h e i r own p r o g r e s s and 94 p r o v i d e s e l f - feedback f o r t h e i r performance. The s e l f - t e s t s c o n t a i n e d i n the course m a t e r i a l s (modules) are expected to be used f o r t h i s s e l f - f e e d b a c k . I n t e r e s t i n g l y , t h e r e i s no mandatory requirement f o r students to a c t u a l l y possess or study l e a r n i n g m a t e r i a l s produced by the u n i v e r s i t y . I t w i l l be assumed t h a t students have l e a r n e d from the pre-produced m a t e r i a l s i f they pass the f i n a l examination. As a comparison, Table 3.1 i l l u s t r a t e s the d i f f e r e n c e s between UT and f o u r o t h e r d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n i n s t i t u t i o n s ( B r i t i s h Open U n i v e r s i t y , B r i t i s h Columbia's Open L e a r n i n g Agency, T h a i l a n d ' s Sukhothai Thammathirat Open U n i v e r s i t y , and In d i a ' s I n d i r a Gandhi N a t i o n a l Open U n i v e r s i t y ) r e g a r d i n g i n s t r u c t i o n a l and support system. The t a b l e shows t h a t , u n l i k e OLA, BOU and STOU, which d e l i v e r l e a r n i n g m a t e r i a l s through multimedia i n s t r u c t i o n a l channels, UT uses mainly p r i n t e d t e x t m a t e r i a l s . Furthermore, while OLA, BOU, IGNOU and STOU employ both v a r i o u s t u t o r i a l and c o u n s e l l i n g systems, UT employs o n l y l i m i t e d f a c e - t o - f a c e t u t o r i a l s . Moreover, u n l i k e the o t h e r f o u r i n s t i t u t i o n s 1 students who r e c e i v e w r i t t e n comments on t h e i r assignments i n a d d i t i o n t o t h e i r examination grades as feedback, UT's students o n l y r e c e i v e examination grades as feedback. The s e l f - t e s t s ( i f they were submitted) are not commented on and r e t u r n e d t o the students. The t a b l e a l s o shows t h a t UT a p p l i e s r e s t r i c t i o n s f o r course t u i t i o n payments and course r e g i s t r a t i o n . On the ot h e r hand, both OLA and BOU al l o w students to pay t u i t i o n based on i n d i v i d u a l c r e d i t s . 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CU J J cu Cn CU 44 TJ CD E a o 0 CQ e - H ro £ > J J B - H C J J J O J J rt • H J J CQ £ to S rt J J - H - H £ CQ tC -H in fC o 0 SH 2 rt 0 CQ -rl X <u c SH O CQ Cn Ss ft £ r o U ft 4 J U <C Cn W CO 3 £ CJ < CU u CO a rt CQ rt SH J J 0 cu >i 0 J J m 0 T J a - H 44 J J rt i U rH cu cu J J J J - H CQ CU 0 • H rH J J e rt CQ rt J J B J J £ <u rt a a cu rt rt i CU CQ CU CD rH -rl 43 cu J J cu cn cu T J £ cn 6 - H rt E > J J B - H u rt 3 CQ 6 CQ a rt J J -rl -rl £ CQ rt U 0 rt 0 CQ -rl X cu rt SH O CQ Cn <; u S U i< Cn W CO rt £ cj <; cu u rt cu rH cj o rt o cu 44 T J Co rt M H cu o rt I rt CO O 0 o J J rrt SH 1 ft CU ( U CU CU 6 ' cj i—i £ rt cu 3 i u ri rt ft cu cu CQ J J SH rt cu SH ft4H SH B rt O O O Cn E H CO U U CJ SH O rt rt i O SH CQ 0 SH J J CU rt CU CQ rt rt o CU E H CJ rt T J -rl > -rl T J rt CQ J J T J rt CU cu J J B rt rt CU CJlrH - H rt CQ rt B B O CQ - H CQ rt O -rl J J rt rt -rl rt X H U < Cn W CD >i 44 J J J J - H CQ >i U 43 CU > J J - H cu rt co rt rt co O J J rt CQ CD rt J J cu rt cn rt cu Cn cu £ - H T J " CQ rt SH O CQ SH 5 C J < U cu u rt T J O CU J J J J I -rl CU B C J -rl rt a Cn Cn rt - H rl O J J J J rt CQ >1 CD CU rH Cn 43 rt rt rt ri SH cu SH M H rt CQ CQ rt si J J rt J J SH E H S rt CU £ Cn Cn or CQ CU c rt J J CQ c rt CQ rH -H -H rt rH J J 0 rH O J J 43 CU C J I C J rt T J rt - H rt rt rt rt rt SH rt rH 1 rt cu cu J J rt CQ CQ CU SH 0 CD CD CD rt J J T J J J £ rt T J J J rt J J £ CU 44 i SH J J SH rt cj -rl rt rt rt >i-r) rt cu rt rt CQ m ft O CD rt CD 0 CD > CU ijl rH -rl 43 > CU J J cu cn cu CQ CD -rl 4H ftMH CQ - n -rl £ -H rt £ -rl T J J J £ -H T J rt <: rH T J rt £ rt SH 43 T J £ CQ rt rt J J T J rt -rl £ CQ (C rt CD rt 0 0 0 cu rt rt 0 CQ -rl X cu rt J J SH 0 CQ SH SH O E H < C J C J C J O J C O M C J < Cn H C O -H CQ !2 U < u H T S CD CQ CD J J rt rt rH rt J J 0 cu >i 0 43 CU CD rt -rl 44 J J -rl rt rH £ CD J J J J -rl J J SH 43 £ £ rt CQ rt (D rt 0 rt rt SH rt CQ HH rH u CnrH -rl 43 CU -rl CU CQ -rl CQ 1 -H rt E > £ T J rt rt CQ rt CQ rt rt J J -rl rt rt J J rt > rt 0 CQ -rl X CD rt X SH 0 SH £ !zi <; Cn w w rt W U S3 E H E H C O rt 0 rt rt -rl MH -rl o 0 rH 0 J J 4H -rl -rl M SH rH rt 0 J J J J J J CJ CD CU £ £ rt rt rt rt rt J J UH CQ cu CU -H CQ rt rt CU 43 -rl CQ rt J J J J £ CU rH rH CD T J T J T J rt rt CQ CQ rt ft rt rt £ rt CD cu rt o > 1 >i X S > > -rl J J CD SH SH u U 3 CO w W E H CO Cn O E H 97 d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n i n s t i t u t i o n s , UT o f f e r s v e r y l i m i t e d i n s t r u c t i o n a l and support systems t o i t s students. In summary, the i n s t i t u t i o n a l f a c t o r s t h a t may be r e l a t e d t o l a c k of p e r s i s t e n c e at UT are: (1) the l a c k of communication channels o t h e r than the p o s t a l s e r v i c e ; (2) the l a c k of p e r s o n a l contact, guidance, and c o u n s e l l i n g f o r s t udents; (3) the l a c k of feedback system t o assess student p r o g r e s s ; (4) the r e l i a n c e on s i n g l e f i n a l examinations f o r g e t t i n g i n f o r m a t i o n on student p r o g r e s s ; (5) the e x c l u s i v e use of r e g i o n a l c e n t e r s f o r a d m i n i s t r a t i v e matters; and (6) the e x c l u s i v e use of low q u a l i t y p r i n t e d m a t e r i a l s (modules) as the l e a r n i n g m a t e r i a l s . The Background of the Students Demographic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . With r e g a r d t o age, UT students are v e r y s i m i l a r t o both OLA and BOU students (Table 3.2). UT s t a t i s t i c s (1992) show that the l a r g e s t group of students r e g i s t e r e d i n 1991 (67.4%) were between the ages of 25 and 39 y e a r s . The percentage of students under 25 years o l d , the more recent high- school graduates, was o n l y about 13 perc e n t . These f i g u r e s show that UT a t t r a c t e d more o l d e r a d u l t students than the h i g h s c h o o l graduates i n i t i a l l y t a r g e t e d . S i m i l a r l y , the l a r g e s t group of 1991 OLA students Table 3.2 Student Demographic C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka (UT), Open L e a r n i n g Agency (OLA), and the B r i t i s h Open U n i v e r s i t y (BOU) Percentage of the t o t a l p o p u l a t i o n C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s UT a OLA b BOU c Age 25-39 <25 F u l l - t i m e Workers Highest Previous E d u c a t i o n High School Some U n i v e r s i t y Experience U n i v e r s i t y Graduates Gender Male Female Number of Course Taken i n One Semester 67.4 52.0 56.0 12.75 28.0 4.5 73.3 59.0 73.7 78.7 23.0 32.9 18.8 58.0 22.4 1.7 17.0 11.0 75.9 31.0 52.4 24.1 69.0 47.6 4-6 l e l f a U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka, 1991. b B a s e d on student data of 1990-1991 (Open L e a r n i n g Agency, 1991) . c B a s e d on student data of 1989 (The Open U n i v e r s i t y and The Department of E d u c a t i o n and Science, 1991). d'A' l e v e l : e q u i v a l e n t to hig h s c h o o l diploma q u a l i f i e d t o ent e r u n i v e r s i t y . •-Black (1992) . fWoodley & P a r l e t t (1983) 99 (52.0%) and 1989 BOU students (56.0%) were between the ages of 2 5 and 3 9 y e a r s . The v a s t m a j o r i t y of 1991 UT students were f u l l - t i m e workers and t h e r e f o r e o n l y p a r t - t i m e students (73.3%) . F u r t h e r , most students worked i n government agencies or the c i v i l s e r v i c e (44%). Both OLA and BOU students were a l s o mostly employed (59.0% and 73.7%). The m a j o r i t y of employed OLA students were white c o l l a r workers and p r o f e s s i o n a l s / t e c h n i c i a n s (82.2%) . However, UT's students seem to be d i f f e r e n t from OLA students i n terms of e d u c a t i o n a l background and course l o a d . The m a j o r i t y of UT's students (78.7%) had o n l y a s e n i o r h i g h school c e r t i f i c a t e ; o n l y about 18.8 percent of them had some post-secondary e d u c a t i o n . By c o n t r a s t , over 58% percent of OLA u n i v e r s i t y students had some post-secondary e d u c a t i o n experience; 17.0% of them were u n i v e r s i t y graduates. BOU students' c a t e g o r i e s , on the other hand, were d i f f i c u l t t o compare s i n c e the q u a l i f i c a t i o n requirements were somewhat d i f f e r e n t . The t a b l e shows, however, t h a t almost 34% of BOU students had some u n i v e r s i t y experience or a degree. The o t h e r d i f f e r e n c e i s t h a t the v a s t m a j o r i t y of UT students were male (75.9%). T h i s i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h the Indonesian s o c i o - c u l t u r a l t r a d i t i o n , i n which males, more than females, are more urged and expected to go i n t o h i g h e r e d u c a t i o n . As a comparison, most of 1991 OLA students were female (69.0). At BOU, on the other hand, the percentage of 100 male and female students was almost equal (52.4% male and 47.6% female). F u r t h e r , u n l i k e most of OLA (85%) and BOU (78%) students who took o n l y one course at a time, UT students took 4 to 6 courses i n one semester. There are s e v e r a l p o s s i b l e reasons f o r t h i s b e h a v i o r . F i r s t , i t i s perhaps because they d i d not want to waste the r e g i s t r a t i o n fee which they had p a i d (see UT 1s t u i t i o n p o l i c y on page 86). And second, i t i s p r o b a b l y due to t h e i r enthusiasm to graduate as soon as p o s s i b l e combined w i t h t h e i r ignorance of the course requirements. In summary, the t a b l e i n d i c a t e s t h a t UT d e a l s w i t h l e s s educated and p a r t - t i m e students who take more courses than, f o r example, both OLA and BOU students. Reason, g o a l , and s a t i s f a c t i o n . Putra (1993), i n an e f f o r t t o f u r t h e r c l a r i f y c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of these students, conducted a survey on a random, r e p r e s e n t a t i v e 195 a c t i v e and 287 n o n a c t i v e (dropout) students r e g a r d i n g t h e i r experiences of s t u d y i n g at UT. A c t i v e students were those who maintained t h e i r r e g i s t r a t i o n arid d i d not suspend t h e i r s t u d i e s f o r more than two y e a r s . Nonactive students were those who had l e f t t h e i r s t u d i e s f o r at l e a s t f o u r consequent semesters (two y e a r s ) . P u t r a m a i l e d open-ended q u e s t i o n n a i r e s a s k i n g students to i d e n t i f y t h e i r reasons f o r e n t e r i n g UT (or reasons f o r choosing UT), t h e i r g o a l s i n studying, and t h e i r s a t i s f a c t i o n s from s t u d y i n g at UT. The q u e s t i o n n a i r e a l s o 101 gave students the o p p o r t u n i t y to g i v e g e n e r a l comments r e g a r d i n g these v a r i a b l e s . The q u e s t i o n r e g a r d i n g reasons f o r choosing UT was a c l o s e d m u l t i p l e c h o i c e one p r o v i d i n g three p o s s i b i l i t i e s : (1) c o u l d not get admitted to o t h e r u n i v e r s i t i e s ( c o n v e n t i o n a l ones); (2) c o u l d study while c o n t i n u i n g to work; and (3) the cost of s t u d y i n g at UT i s r e l a t i v e l y cheap. Responses to t h i s q u e s t i o n show t h a t the m a j o r i t y of students (77.4% of a c t i v e students and 82.2% of n o n a c t i v e students) e n t e r e d UT because of i t s time f l e x i b i l i t y ("could study while c o n t i n u i n g to work"). T h i s shows that UT students expected to s u c c e s s f u l l y combine t h e i r s t u d i e s at UT w i t h working f u l l - t i m e . F u r t h e r , students were asked to i d e n t i f y t h e i r g o a l s of s t u d y i n g through a c l o s e d m u l t i p l e c h o i c e q u e s t i o n c o n t a i n i n g f i v e p o s s i b i l i t i e s : (1) escape and get r e l i e f from boredom; (2) make new and i n t e r e s t i n g f r i e n d s ; (3) improve or get ahead on the job/new job; (4) f u l f i l l requirements set by the a u t h o r i t y (employer); and (5) seek l e a r n i n g f o r i t s own sake. The r e s u l t s . s h o w t h a t the m a j o r i t y of students i n d i c a t e d job improvement and f u l f i l l m e n t of an a u t h o r i t y ' s request f u l f i l l m e n t (about 53 percent of a c t i v e students and 46 percent of n o n a c t i v e s t u d e n t s ) , and l e a r n i n g f o r the sake of l e a r n i n g i t s e l f (about 40 percent of a c t i v e and 48 percent of n o n a c t i v e students) as t h e i r main goals f o r r e g i s t e r i n g at UT. Only a few students gave making f r i e n d s and e s c a p i n g from boredom as t h e i r main g o a l s . 102 Among the t o t a l sample, some 255 students (107 a c t i v e and 14 8 n o n a c t i v e students) p r o v i d e d comments r e g a r d i n g t h e i r reasons, g o a l s and s a t i s f a c t i o n s . These comments were grouped by Putra (1993) i n t o f i v e c a t e g o r i e s : examinations, fees or f i n a n c e , communication, job and f a m i l y r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , and course m a t e r i a l s . E x a m i n a t i o n s . Comments r e g a r d i n g examinations r e l a t e d t o the d e l a y i n the announcement of the r e s u l t s , the l e v e l of d i f f i c u l t y of examination items, the l o c a t i o n s i n which the examinations were h e l d , the number of examinations h e l d i n one year, and the number of courses examined w i t h i n each day of the examination schedule. The examination r e s u l t s (grades) at UT are u s u a l l y announced more than 10 weeks a f t e r the examinations take p l a c e . Putra found that h i s sampled students were not s a t i s f i e d with t h i s l e n g t h of w a i t i n g time, because they wanted to know whether or not they passed the p r e v i o u s courses, and whether or not they had to take make-up examinations f o r those courses i n the next term b e f o r e they c o u l d r e - r e g i s t e r . They s a i d t h at the d e l a y was d i s c o u r a g i n g and made them h e s i t a t e t o r e - r e g i s t e r . They expected UT to be a b l e t o announce t h e i r grades w i t h i n a s h o r t e r time. Students a l s o complained about the examination items. They c o n s i d e r e d the t e s t items to be too d i f f i c u l t , e s p e c i a l l y i n courses such as Mathematics and S t a t i s t i c s . These courses are compulsory courses so that f a i l u r e i n these courses comprised f a i l u r e t o complete the program. Pu t r a r e p o r t e d 103 t h a t r e p e t i t i v e f a i l u r e s i n these courses have made students f r u s t r a t e d and l e s s s e l f - c o n f i d e n t . U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka's f i n a l examinations are h e l d twice a year, f o r two days each time (the t h i r d and the f o u r t h Sundays of June and December). A l l o f f e r e d courses are thus examined w i t h i n two Sundays each term. T h i s means that students may have to w r i t e more than one examination i n one day, depending on the number of courses they have r e g i s t e r e d f o r . Many have to w r i t e s e v e r a l i n one day. Because of t h i s , some students requested one a d d i t i o n a l examination time. Putra's sampled students proposed that UT h o l d three examination times as i t used to do i n the f i r s t two years of o p e r a t i o n . I t i s worth n o t i n g here t h a t UT changed i t s o r i g i n a l examination schedule i n t o two examination times because i t c o u l d not keep up w i t h the work l o a d a s s o c i a t e d w i t h three examination times. On Putra's q u e s t i o n n a i r e , students a l s o commented t h a t the l o c a t i o n s of the examinations were s t i l l too f a r from t h e i r r e s i d e n c e s . UT c u r r e n t l y a d m i n i s t e r s examinations i n r e g i o n a l o f f i c e s . Some a d d i t i o n a l l o c a t i o n s are o f t e n arranged i f the number of students r e s i d i n g i n t h a t area i s l a r g e enough. Apparently, students f e l t t h a t s t i l l more/new l o c a t i o n s need t o be set up. F e e s . Students commented on both the t u i t i o n f e e s and the course m a t e r i a l s (modules) purchase. Although UT's t u i t i o n f e e s are equal to those of o t h e r s t a t e c o n v e n t i o n a l u n i v e r s i t i e s , they were s t i l l regarded by Putra's sampled students as too h i g h by some students. Although t h e r e are 104 s e v e r a l c h o i c e s of t u i t i o n package, the t u i t i o n fee p o l i c y s t i l l r e q u i r e s students to pay at l e a s t 45 thousand r u p i a h s . The f e e s are s t i l l much lower than that at p r i v a t e u n i v e r s i t i e s , which can be ten times h i g h e r t h a t they are at UT. However, s i n c e most UT students are a d u l t s w i t h o t h e r r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s (such as f a m i l y ) , t h i s c o s t has to be covered by t h e i r f a m i l y ' s budget. The f i n a n c i a l concern may a l s o be r e l a t e d t o the f a c t t h a t most UT students work f o r government agencies and earn v e r y low s a l a r i e s . Communicat ion . Lack of communication i s the major comment made by students. Putra's sample r e p o r t e d f e e l i n g remote, i s o l a t e d , and d i s o r i e n t e d . They commented t h a t i t was v e r y d i f f i c u l t t o communicate with UT. They d i d not know where to go to get needed i n f o r m a t i o n . They suggested UT should more a c t i v e l y communicate with i t s students through, f o r example, mass-media such as n a t i o n a l l y c i r c u l a t e d newspapers and t e l e v i s i o n . Some students suggested UT open i n f o - l i n e s o p e r a t i n g 24 hours a day to p r o v i d e i n f o r m a t i o n to students. The l a c k of communication from UT was a l s o i n d i c a t e d by n o n a c t i v e students. As c i t e d by Putra (1993), students suggested t h a t UT should a c t i v e l y communicate to and remind i t s students, e s p e c i a l l y the nonactive ones, to r e t u r n to t h e i r s t u d i e s . Some non-active students even mentioned t h a t r e c e i v i n g Putra's q u e s t i o n n a i r e has reminded and encouraged them to continue t h e i r study which was suspended due to p e r s o n a l problems. These comments suggest t h a t some reminders 105 and encouragements may urge students who have l e f t t h e i r s t u d i e s f o r v a r i o u s reasons to continue t h e i r study. Job and F a m i l y R e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . T h i s i s the next most common reason g i v e n by dropout and n o n a c t i v e s t u d e n t s . I t i s c l o s e l y r e l a t e d to the reasons of f i n a n c i a l s i t u a t i o n and time a v a i l a b i l i t y . Putra's sampled students expressed t h e i r d i f f i c u l t y i n managing t h e i r times between study, f a m i l y and work. T h i s problem i s exacerbated by the f a c t t h a t students tended to take too many courses at a time. As d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r , t h i s made the time c o n s t r a i n t even more s i g n i f i c a n t . A comment g i v e n by an a c t i v e student i l l u s t r a t e d t h a t the key to h i s success was working hard combined w i t h s t r i c t time management. He suggested t h a t as working people, students should take a manageable number of courses so t h a t they were able t o meet the course requirements p r o p e r l y . Course M a t e r i a l s . UT's primary i n s t r u c t i o n a l medium i s p r i n t e d m a t e r i a l s (modules). Students' comments ce n t e r e d around t h e i r a b i l i t y to read and understand the course m a t e r i a l s . Dunbar (1991) observed t h a t Indonesian c u l t u r e s emphasize o r a l communication. Putra (1993) d i s c o v e r e d that UT students found t h a t e x c l u s i v e use of t e x t - b a s e d m a t e r i a l s was d i f f i c u l t t o f o l l o w . These comments are concurrent w i t h the f i n d i n g s of UT's own survey (Dunbar, 1991) which i n d i c a t e d t h a t the main reasons f o r course non-completion were the volume and d i f f i c u l t y of the s e l f - s t u d y m a t e r i a l s , and the d i f f i c u l t y of mastering an unguided s e l f - s t u d y system. These 106 two f a c t o r s combined seem to l e a d students t o l o s e c o n f i d e n c e and become d i s c o u r a g e d through repeated examination f a i l u r e . Student v a r i a b l e s r e l a t e d to dropout. Putra's 1993 survey shows t h a t o n l y o c c u p a t i o n a l s t a t u s and e d u c a t i o n background v a r i a b l e s are s i g n i f i c a n t l y r e l a t e d t o dropout. Putra found t h a t c i v i l s e r v a n t s were more l i k e l y t o drop out than o t h e r o c c u p a t i o n a l groups of students; and t h a t the lower the p r e v i o u s l e v e l of e d u c a t i o n ( i n which h i g h s c h o o l was the lowest), the h i g h e r the chance of dropping out. F i n a n c i a l r e a l i t i e s were a l s o r e f l e c t e d i n the dropout r a t e ; the hig h e r percentage of dropout w i t h i n c i v i l servant and lower e d u c a t i o n groups i s understandable. C i v i l s e rvants, and e s p e c i a l l y those who do not have u n i v e r s i t y degrees, have much lower incomes than do those who work i n the p r i v a t e s e c t o r . Another student c h a r a c t e r i s t i c Putra found s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t l y r e l a t e d t o dropout was students' age. Putra d i s c o v e r e d t h a t o l d e r students (over 36 years) tended to be more p e r s i s t e n t than younger students. Putra argued t h a t t h i s was p r o b a b l y because o l d e r students were more experienced i n r e s i s t i n g p r e s s u r e s and f i n a n c i a l l y more capable than younger students (who were j u s t s t a r t i n g t h e i r c a r e e r s ) . Another p o s s i b l e e x p l a n a t i o n f o r t h i s , a c c o r d i n g t o Putra, was t h a t perhaps because of the age pr e s s u r e , o l d e r students were more desperate t o move v e r t i c a l l y i n s o c i a l s t a t u s , and regarded UT as the best v e h i c l e to do so. 107 With r e g a r d t o students' reasons and g o a l s f o r e n t e r i n g UT, Putra's a n a l y s i s shows no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e between a c t i v e students and non a c t i v e students. As d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r , most students i d e n t i f i e d " c o u l d study while working" as t h e i r main reason f o r e n t e r i n g UT. Fur t h e r , h a l f of both a c t i v e and nona c t i v e students s t a t e d "to improve and get ahead wi t h the job/new job" and "to f u l f i l l requirements set by the a u t h o r i t y (employer)" as t h e i r g o a l s f o r s t u d y i n g at UT. The oth e r h a l f of the a c t i v e and non a c t i v e students s t a t e d " l e a r n i n g f o r i t s own sake" as t h e i r g o a l f o r s t u d y i n g at UT. However, although i t was not s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t , the frequency of responses between a c t i v e and n o n a c t i v e students i s i n t e r e s t i n g . Among i t s own group, the number of a c t i v e students who chose improving job and f u l f i l l i n g a u t h o r i t y ' s requirement (53.3%) was l a r g e r than those who chose l e a r n i n g f o r i t s own sake (40%) as t h e i r main g o a l s . On the oth e r hand, the number of non a c t i v e students who chose l e a r n i n g f o r i t s own sake was l a r g e r (48.1%) than n o n a c t i v e students who chose the oth e r two g o a l s (46%). T h i s seems to suggest t h a t there may be a tendency of a c t i v e students t o have more e x t r i n s i c g o a l s than i n t r i n s i c g o a l s , and of n o n a c t i v e students t o have more i n t r i n s i c than e x t r i n s i c g o a l s . Putra's analyses of students' responses about s a t i s f a c t i o n show no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e between a c t i v e students and non a c t i v e students with regard t o the content o r course m a t e r i a l s , language used ( c l a r i t y and e a s i n e s s ) , course design, the p r i c e of the course m a t e r i a l s , examination 108 a d m i n i s t r a t i o n , the d i f f i c u l t y of examination items, and the s e r v i c e p r o v i d e d by the examination committee. In g e n e r a l , students f e l t s a t i s f i e d w i t h those a s p e c t s . T h i s i s i n t e r e s t i n g s i n c e i t was expected that n o n a c t i v e students would be l e s s s a t i s f i e d ; such d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n c o u l d l e a d them to drop out. However, s i n c e nonactive students have (by d e f i n i t i o n ) l e f t t h e i r s t u d i e s f o r at l e a s t two years, there i s a p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t they have a l r e a d y f o r g o t t e n t h e i r experience and t h e i r e a r l i e r f e e l i n g s of s a t i s f a c t i o n / d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n . Another p o s s i b i l i t y i s t h a t n o n a c t i v e students t r i e d to hide t h e i r d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n because they were a f r a i d of b e i n g c o n s i d e r e d s t u p i d . For example, i f they d i s a g r e e d w i t h the statement "I f i n d i t easy to understand the content of UT course m a t e r i a l s , " they may have been a f r a i d t h a t t h e i r disagreement would be i n t e r p r e t e d as p e r s o n a l inadequacy. Nonactive students were found by Putra to be more s a t i s f i e d than a c t i v e students with r e g a r d to the announcement of the examination r e s u l t s . T h i s may be because they have l e f t t h e i r s t u d i e s b e f o r e w r i t i n g the examination so t h a t they never e x p e r i e n c e d the inconvenience of the d e l a y i n the announcement of the r e s u l t s . Another s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e between a c t i v e students and n o n a c t i v e students was i n t h e i r s a t i s f a c t i o n i n o b t a i n i n g the r e g i s t r a t i o n and examination form. P u t r a found t h a t n o n a c t i v e students found i t more d i f f i c u l t t o get the form. 109 Nonactive students were a l s o d i f f e r e n t from a c t i v e students i n terms of t h e i r attendance at i n t e n s i v e t u t o r i a l s h e l d both by r e g i o n a l o f f i c e s and by t h e i r own study groups and i n t h e i r frequency of making contact w i t h UT. Putra d i s c o v e r e d t h a t n o n a c t i v e students attended i n t e n s i v e t u t o r i a l s more f r e q u e n t l y yet made l e s s c o n t a c t w i t h UT than a c t i v e s t u d e n t s . However, t h i s r e s u l t must be i n t e r p r e t e d c a u t i o u s l y s i n c e the students may have d i f f e r e n t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of what they understand as " i n t e n s i v e t u t o r i a l s . " I n t e n s i v e t u t o r i a l s are d i f f e r e n t from the f r e e t u t o r i a l s . Students who wish to a t t e n d i n t e n s i v e t u t o r i a l s have t o pay, and the t u t o r i a l s are h e l d 6 to 16 times per semester depending on students' requests. T h i s s e r v i c e s t a r t e d about two years ago as a response to students' requests f o r more t u t o r i a l s . However, t h i s s e r v i c e has o n l y been a d m i n i s t e r e d i n a few r e g i o n a l o f f i c e s , and the fees f o r i t are q u i t e h i g h . Therefore, there i s a p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t n o n a c t i v e students were not aware of the e x i s t e n c e of d i f f e r e n t k i n d s of t u t o r i a l s and i n t e r p r e t e d these i n t e n s i v e t u t o r i a l s i n the qu e s t i o n s as the r e g u l a r f r e e t u t o r i a l s . Although n o n a c t i v e students were not found t o d i f f e r from a c t i v e students i n t h e i r f e e l i n g r e g a r d i n g t h e i r d e c i s i o n s to ent e r UT, they were found as s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t i n t h e i r m o t i v a t i o n toward c o n t i n u a t i o n , completion, and c o n f i d e n c e about g e t t i n g a job a f t e r g r a d u a t i o n . Putra d i s c o v e r e d t h a t a c t i v e students were more motivated to continue t h e i r s t u d y i n g i n the next semester, f e l t g r a d u a t i n g was more important, and 110 were more c o n f i d e n t t h a t they would get a job or a new job a f t e r g r a d u a t i n g from UT. Nonactive students were a l s o found to be d i f f e r e n t s i g n i f i c a n t l y from a c t i v e students i n the ownership of course m a t e r i a l s . Putra d i s c o v e r e d that a c t i v e students were more l i k e l y t o own t h e i r own course m a t e r i a l s (modules) than n o n a c t i v e students. In terms of completing the take home mid-term examination and r e a d i n g a l l the r e q u i r e d m a t e r i a l s , Putra found t h a t the two groups d i d not s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r . However, a p r e v i o u s study conducted by Belawati (1988) shows that students who d i d more home assignments ( s e l f - t e s t s o r e x e r c i s e s c o n t a i n e d at the end of every chapter i n the modules as w e l l as the take home examination) achieved h i g h e r scores i n the examination than those who d i d l e s s . Based on Putra's sampled students' comments, i t i s apparent t h a t b eside students' p e r s o n a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , other v a r i a b l e s a l s o c o n t r i b u t e to students' d e c i s i o n s t o p e r s i s t . These v a r i a b l e s (delay i n r e c e i v i n g examination r e s u l t s , fees, l a c k of communication, time a v a i l a b i l i t y , and course m a t e r i a l s ) are s i m i l a r t o the i n s t i t u t i o n a l v a r i a b l e s r e l a t e d to dropout d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r . Summary Based on the above d i s c u s s i o n , i t i s apparent t h a t the l a c k of p e r s i s t e n c e at UT i s a f u n c t i o n of m u l t i p l e v a r i a b l e s I l l r e l a t e d t o s o c i o - c u l t u r a l , i n s t i t u t i o n a l , and p e r s o n a l f a c t o r s . T h i s review suggests that UT's students are p r o b a b l y not as autonomous as d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n students i n western c o u n t r i e s . A c c o r d i n g to the l i t e r a t u r e review, they are more a p p r o v a l - o r i e n t e d and teacher-dependent than t h e i r western c o u n t e r p a r t s . D i s t a n c e education, by i t s v e r y nature, r e q u i r e s not o n l y independent study p a t t e r n s , but a l s o an independent, i n d i v i d u a l approach t o g o a l s e t t i n g , and time management. T h i s mismatch between the e x p e c t a t i o n s and c u l t u r a l norms of Indonesian l e a r n e r s and the requirements of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n suggest t h a t a d a p t a t i o n of the e d u c a t i o n a l system t o Indonesia's c u l t u r a l context i s imp e r a t i v e f o r the success of d i s t a n c e education. N e v e r t h e l e s s , UT seems to have s e v e r a l i n s t i t u t i o n a l f a c t o r s t h a t seem to c o n t r i b u t e to UT's low r a t e s of student p e r s i s t e n c e : the l a c k of communication channels, c o n t a c t , guidance, feedback and c o u n s e l l i n g ; the r e l i a n c e on f i n a l examinations f o r g e t t i n g i n f o r m a t i o n on student progress, the e x c l u s i v e use of r e g i o n a l c e n t e r s f o r a d m i n i s t r a t i v e matters, and the e x c l u s i v e use of low q u a l i t y p r i n t e d m a t e r i a l s (modules) as the l e a r n i n g m a t e r i a l s . F i n a l l y , a c c o r d i n g to the l i t e r a t u r e , students' p e r s o n a l f a c t o r s t h a t seem to c o r r e l a t e w i t h p e r s i s t e n c e i n c l u d e t h e i r p r e v i o u s e d u c a t i o n b e f o r e entry, age of entry, m o t i v a t i o n , and job type. Students a l s o i d e n t i f i e d o b s t a c l e s both i n t h e i r own l a c k of time a v a i l a b i l i t y t o study and i n the f a i l i n g s of 112 i n s t r u c t i o n a l system: l a c k of communication channels, l a c k of feedback, and the low q u a l i t y of course m a t e r i a l s (Putra, 1993). These f a c t o r s combined wi t h the l a c k of students' i n c l i n a t i o n t o be independent l e a r n e r s and a heavy study l o a d have r e s u l t e d i n low p e r s i s t e n c e r a t e s . The d e t a i l e d a n a l y s i s of the i n t e r a c t i o n among these f a c t o r s and t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h students' d e c i s i o n s to p e r s i s t i s d i s c u s s e d i n the next chapter. 113 Chapter Four Conceptual Framework As b r o a d l y d i s c u s s e d i n the p r e v i o u s chapters, dropout (as i t was termed by most l i t e r a t u r e s ) i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n i s a complex phenomenon i n f l u e n c e d by m u l t i p l e v a r i a b l e s . However, i n o r d e r to be m e a n i n g f u l l y i n v e s t i g a t e d , dropout i t s e l f must be r e - c o n c e p t u a l i z e d . As such, t h i s chapter begins w i t h a d i s c u s s i o n about how, i n the context of d i s t a n c e education, measuring dropout must be r e p l a c e d by measuring student p e r s i s t e n c e w i t h i n courses/programs. T h i s i s immediately f o l l o w e d by a d i s c u s s i o n of how, w i t h i n UT's unique context, such measures were understood. F o l l o w i n g t h i s , t here i s a need to c o n s i d e r more g e n e r a l l y the m u l t i p l e v a r i a b l e s which might i n f l u e n c e students to p e r s i s t . Those v a r i a b l e s i n c l u d e students' p e r s o n a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and background, l e a r n i n g environments, and o t h e r o f f - l e a r n i n g environments (such as f a m i l y , work, and o t h e r s o c i a l environments). In o r d e r to c o n s i d e r how these v a r i a b l e s i n t e r a c t at UT, the next s e c t i o n of t h i s chapter p r e s e n t s a v a r i a t i o n on a model suggested from the l i t e r a t u r e , and examines c e r t a i n aspects of i t i n d e t a i l . F i n a l l y , a set of p o s s i b l e i n t e r v e n t i o n s d e r i v e d from the model and the measurements of p e r s i s t e n c e are proposed; the a c t u a l i n t e r v e n t i o n chosen i s d e s c r i b e d i n d e t a i l i n the f o l l o w i n g chapter. 114 Measuring P e r s i s t e n c e at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka The l i t e r a t u r e review chapter shows how the phenomenon of p e r s i s t e n c e has been c o n c e p t u a l i z e d , l a b e l l e d and measured by-d i f f e r e n t s t u d i e s . Most s t u d i e s b i f u r c a t e d the phenomenon with dropout as one end, and completion as the o t h e r end f o r purposes of measurement. Such s t u d i e s c a t e g o r i z e d students as e i t h e r completers (e.g those who s u c c e s s f u l l y completed t h e i r courses and, sometimes, o b t a i n e d a degree) or dropouts (e.g. those who d i d not f i n i s h the course nor get a degree). Other s t u d i e s a l s o t r i e d t o measure the phenomenon i n between those two extremes (completers and d r o p o u t s ) . Terms such as withdrawal, a t t r i t i o n , and d i s c o n t i n u a t i o n have been v a r i o u s l y and i n t e r c h a n g e a b l y used to d e s c r i b e students' behaviour i n s t u d y i n g . These l a t t e r terms have a l s o been r e p o r t e d i n terms of wastage or f a i l u r e r a t e s which b a s i c a l l y d e s c r i b e the percentage (out of the t o t a l enrollments) of those who withdraw and d i s c o n t i n u e b e f o r e completion. There i s w i t h i n these terms/measurements a c o n n o t a t i o n of wasted e f f o r t s and r e s o u r c e s i f students do not complete a course/program. T h i s p e j o r a t i v e framing of the phenomenon takes a p a r t i c u l a r l y narrow and s t r i c t l y economic view of why people e n r o l , and what purpose i s served, i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . The d i f f e r e n c e s i n terms a l s o suggest t h a t the phenomenon of p e r s i s t e n c e does not l e n d i t s e l f to e i t h e r simple r e p r e s e n t a t i o n or measurement. Furthermore, w i t h r e g a r d to 115 time f l e x i b i l i t y , d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n n e c e s s a r i l y i n v o l v e s a l e s s d e f i n i t e time frame f o r students t o be g i n and complete t h e i r l e a r n i n g p r o c e s s . I t r e s t r i c t s the openness of the i n s t i t u t i o n t o set a d e a d l i n e when students should s t a r t and complete t h e i r s t u d i e s , o r to be l a b e l l e d as e i t h e r graduates/completers o r dropouts from t h e i r d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n programs. Such an a t t i t u d e hampers the attainment of the d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n ' s i n t e n t i o n s to promote a more open and l i f e - l o n g l e a r n i n g . T h e r e f o r e , i n order t o adopt an openness toward time, student p e r s i s t e n c e should be measured i n v a r i o u s ways at v a r i o u s stages. T h i s i s important s i n c e there w i l l always be a p o s s i b i l i t y of students r e t u r n i n g t o t h e i r program and completing i t . In ot h e r words, students should not be seen as e i t h e r completers or dropouts but r a t h e r as p e r s i s t e r s and n o n - p e r s i s t e r s (who w i l l p o s s i b l y come back and continue at a l a t e r s t a g e ) . A c c o r d i n g l y , i n t h i s study i t was c o n s i d e r e d more u s e f u l and meaningful t o focus on p e r s i s t e n c e r a t h e r than dropout. The i s s u e t h e r e f o r e became one of i n v e s t i g a t i n g and i d e n t i f y i n g the occurrences of n o n - p e r s i s t e n c e w i t h i n the e d u c a t i o n a l system. U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka's academic system and p o l i c y a l l o w students t o study at t h e i r own pace. T h i s means t h a t students can r e g i s t e r , suspend, and r e - r e g i s t e r any time as long as the study suspension i s no lo n g e r than 4 c o n s e c u t i v e semesters. A d m i n i s t r a t i v e l y , UT's d e f i n i t i o n of n o n - p e r s i s t e r s (termed as no n - a c t i v e students by UT) are those who do not m a i n t a i n t h e i r 116 student s t a t u s (or do not r e - r e g i s t e r f o r any new course) f o r more than 4 c o n s e c u t i v e semesters (see d i s c u s s i o n of admission and r e g i s t r a t i o n system of UT). Those n o n - p e r s i s t e r s , however, can always r e - a p p l y t o the u n i v e r s i t y as new students and t r a n s f e r the p r e v i o u s l y earned courses' c r e d i t i n t o t h e i r new student r e c o r d s . At the time of t h i s study, t h e r e was no time l i m i t f o r t r a n s f e r r i n g those c r e d i t s from the o l d records i n t o the new ones. Therefore, any students who are seen as n o n - p e r s i s t e r s are not n e c e s s a r i l y dropping out of the programs but o f t e n are suspending them f o r unknown p e r i o d s and reasons. However, s i n c e students do not have t o n o t i f y the u n i v e r s i t y of t h e i r study i n t e n t i o n s , n o n - p e r s i s t e r s are u s u a l l y assumed t o be dropouts by the_ u n i v e r s i t y . As suggested by Wong (1987), p e r s i s t e n c e i s m e a n i n g f u l l y measured o n l y by doing i t c o n t i n u o u s l y along a student a c t i v e l e a r n i n g p r o c e s s , r a t h e r than at o n l y one p o i n t (determined as the completion p o i n t ) . Such an approach, a c c o r d i n g t o Wong, re c o g n i z e s the degree of p e r s i s t e n c e of students i n r e l a t i o n to t h a t of oth e r students. For example, students who complete 75 percent of the course would f a l l i n t o a d i f f e r e n t category (more p e r s i s t e n t ) from those who complete o n l y 25 percent ( l e s s p e r s i s t e n t ) . I t i s the r e s e a r c h e r ' s job to decide the boundaries of measurements that are consonant w i t h the i n s t i t u t i o n ' s p o l i c y and system i n which the r e s e a r c h i s conducted, and t h a t can meet the r e s e a r c h purposes. Wong, f o r example, suggested t h a t f o r the Chinese U n i v e r s i t y of Hong Kong, d e v i a t i o n s ( l a t e n e s s i n s u b m i t t i n g assignments) and 117 grades c o u l d be used as the proxy f o r s t u d e n t s 1 p r o g r e s s e s and achievements. W i t h i n UT's system, students' p e r s i s t e n c e can be monitored through course completion and r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n ( c o n t i n u a t i o n ) at v a r i o u s m o n i t o r i n g p o i n t s . Course completion measures student p e r s i s t e n c e i n r e g a r d to t h e i r i n i t i a l commitment: whether or not they p e r s i s t t o complete the r e g i s t e r e d courses. R e - r e g i s t r a t i o n measures student p e r s i s t e n c e i n r e g a r d to c o n t i n u a t i o n of t h e i r s t u d i e s : whether they i n t e n d to continue t h e i r s t u d i e s by r e g i s t e r i n g f o r a new c o u r s e ( s ) . These m o n i t o r i n g p o i n t s can be i n accordance w i t h UT's admission and r e g i s t r a t i o n p o l i c i e s : times when students are recommended to submit a take-home examination ( h e r e a f t e r c a l l e d s e l f - t e s t ) f o r each course i n the middle of the semester, when students have to w r i t e a f i n a l examination f o r each course at the end of the semester and when students have to r e - r e g i s t e r (during the three months r e g i s t r a t i o n p e r i o d , u s u a l l y s t a r t i n two weeks a f t e r f i n a l examination time) i f they wish to continue to subsequent semesters. T h e r e f o r e , to measure p e r s i s t e n c e of students r e g i s t e r e d i n semester 1, f o r example, the m o n i t o r i n g p o i n t s can then be t h e i r s e l f - t e s t submission i n the middle of semester 1, t h e i r examination attendance at the end of. semester 1 and t h e i r r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n i n semester 2. However, students' r e g i s t r a t i o n i s v a l i d f o r two c o n s e c u t i v e examination p e r i o d s (two semesters). T h i s allows 118 students to w r i t e the r e g i s t e r e d courses' f i n a l examinations w i t h i n two c o n s e c u t i v e examination times without r e -r e g i s t e r i n g and paying the fees again. Thus, some students may wish to i n t e n t i o n a l l y break down t h e i r course l o a d i n t o two semesters, and t h i s w i l l make the semester p e r i o d l o n g e r f o r some stu d e n t s . For example, students who r e g i s t e r f o r f i v e courses can w r i t e three examinations at the end of the same semester and w r i t e the examinations of the o t h e r two remaining courses at the end of the f o l l o w i n g semester. T h e r e f o r e , students who do not w r i t e an examination(s) at the end of Semester 1 (previous example), w i l l not then n e c e s s a r i l y be l e s s p e r s i s t e n t than those who do. They may simply i n t e n d to w r i t e the examination(s) at the end of semester 2. To do so, a l l they have to do i s apply f o r the examinations of the remaining courses b e f o r e the examination time (at the end of the semester 2) so t h a t an examination seat number can be a s s i g n e d to them. However, i f students f a i l t o w r i t e the examination(s) by the end of semester 2, they have to r e - r e g i s t e r f o r the course(s) a g a i n and pay a c c o r d i n g l y . With t h i s p o s s i b i l i t y (of students b r e a k i n g down t h e i r course loads i n t o two semesters) i n mind, measuring p e r s i s t e n c e through course completion should then i d e a l l y be done w i t h i n at l e a s t two c o n s e c u t i v e semesters (two examination chances). With r e g a r d to r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n , the boundaries are even more- complicated. S e l f - t e s t submissions and f i n a l examinations measure to some extent the degree of student 119 commitment and p e r s i s t e n c e i n completing the r e g i s t e r e d course(s) w i t h i n the a l l o w a b l e time (one fee payment). Re-r e g i s t r a t i o n p o l i c y , on the other hand, i s more f l e x i b l e and thus students can always r e - r e g i s t e r i n any semester. Since students are allowed t o break the course l o a d of one semester i n t o two c o n s e c u t i v e semesters, the s t a r t and end p o i n t s of one semester may then be d i f f e r e n t f o r d i f f e r e n t s t udents. Some students may complete t h e i r f i r s t semester by the end of the same semester and some may complete t h e i r s by the end of the f o l l o w i n g semester. S i m i l a r l y , the s t a r t i n g p o i n t of students' second semester can be d i f f e r e n t f o r d i f f e r e n t students as w e l l . Students who complete t h e i r f i r s t semester's course l o a d at the end of the same semester may s t a r t t h e i r second semester i n the immediate f o l l o w i n g semester of f i r s t r e g i s t r a t i o n . On the o t h e r hand, students who complete t h e i r f i r s t semester course l o a d at the end of the f o l l o w i n g semester may then s t a r t t h e i r second semester i n the t h i r d semester. To s i m p l i f y the d i s c u s s i o n , imagine s i x h y p o t h e t i c a l semesters (semester 1 t o 6) f o r seven h y p o t h e t i c a l new e n r o l l e e s (students A, B, C, D, E, F and G) d e p i c t e d i n F i g u r e 4.1. In t h i s example, a l l these students e n r o l l e d o r r e g i s t e r e d f o r the f i r s t time i n Semester 1 ( A l - G l ) . Student A completed the f i n a l examinations f o r a l l r e g i s t e r e d courses at the end of Semester 1 ( t h e r e f o r e the l e n g t h of h e r / h i s f i r s t semester was A l - A l 1 ) . A then immediately r e - r e g i s t e r e d f o r new course(s) i n Semester 2 (A2) 120 Semester 3 Reg Ex Reg Ex Reg Ex Reg Ex Reg Ex Reg Ex A l A1 1_A2 A 2 1 B l B l 1 B l 2 B2 B2 1 C l C1 1_C2 C2 1 C2 2 C3 Dl D l 1 > D2 D2 2 D2 2 E l E2 F l F2 Gl G2 Reg : r e g i s t r a t i o n / r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n time Ex : examination(s) time A l - G l : students' f i r s t r e g i s t r a t i o n / s e m e s t e r A2-G2 : students' second r e g i s t r a t i o n / s e m e s t e r A l - ^ - D l 1 : students' examinations f o r courses r e g i s t e r e d i n Semester 1 A21-D2"1" : students' examinations f o r courses r e g i s t e r e d i n Semester 2 Fi g u r e 4.1. Example of r e g i s t r a t i o n p a t t e r n s of seven h y p o t h e t i c a l students w i t h i n s i x h y p o t h e t i c a l semesters. and a l s o completed a l l r e g i s t e r e d course(s) f o r h e r / h i s second semester at the end of Semester 2 (A2-A2 1). Student B, u n l i k e student A, broke down h e r / h i s f i r s t semester's study l o a d i n t o two semesters and completed examinations f o r a l l h e r / h i s r e g i s t e r e d courses at the end of Semester 2 ( t h e r e f o r e the l e n g t h of h e r / h i s f i r s t semester was B l - B l - ^ - B l 2 ) . The time p e r i o d of B's f i r s t semester was then one semester l o n g e r than A's. B then r e - r e g i s t e r e d f o r new courses i n Semester 3 (B2). Thus, u n l i k e A whose second 121 r e g i s t r a t i o n / s e m e s t e r was i n Semester 2, B's second r e g i s t r a t i o n / s e m e s t e r was i n Semester 3 . L i k e A, C completed a l l f i r s t r e g i s t e r e d courses at the end of h e r / h i s f i r s t r e g i s t r a t i o n (Semester 1) and immediately r e - r e g i s t e r e d f o r h e r / h i s new courses i n Semester 2 (C2). However, u n l i k e A who completed a l l h e r / h i s second semester i n the same semester (Semester 2), C broke down h e r / h i s second semester course l o a d i n t o two semesters (Semester 2 and 3) and completed them at the end of Semester 3 (C2-C2 1-C2 2), and then r e - r e g i s t e r e d f o r more new course(s) i n Semester 4 (C3). The r e f o r e , C's second semester was l o n g e r than A's second semester even though both A and C s t a r t e d t h e i r s at the same time. S i m i l a r l y , as p i c t u r e d by the diagram, the second semester of student D, E, F and G a l s o s t a r t e d at d i f f e r e n t semesters: D i n Semester 3, E i n Semester 4, F i n Semester 5, and G i n Semester 6 (D2, E2, F2 and G2). T h i s example shows t h a t m o n i t o r i n g student p e r s i s t e n c e at r e g i s t r a t i o n ( r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n ) times i s complicated. T e c h n i c a l l y , m o n i t o r i n g can be done at the s t a r t p o i n t of any semester. However, because of the d i f f e r e n c e i n students' b e h a v i o r s such as those of students A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, d i f f e r e n t m o n i t o r i n g p o i n t s can r e s u l t i n d i f f e r e n t outcomes of measurements (rate of p e r s i s t e n c e or p e r s i s t e n c e l e v e l ) . For example, i f p e r s i s t e n c e i s measured by r e -r e g i s t r a t i o n i n Semester 2, students l i k e B, D, E, F and G would f a l l i n t o the n o n - p e r s i s t e r s category while i n f a c t , B and D were merely those who expanded the p e r i o d of one 122 semester time i n t o two semesters. Furthermore, i f p e r s i s t e n c e i s measured by r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n i n Semester 3, student C w i l l f a l l i n t o the n o n - p e r s i s t e r s c a t e g o r y while, i n f a c t , s/he a l r e a d y r e - r e g i s t e r e d i n Semester 2 and intended to w r i t e h e r / h i s course(s) examination(s) at the of Semester 3. With r e g a r d to course completion, i f student p e r s i s t e n c e i s measured at the end of Semester 1, students B and D w i l l be excluded from the p e r s i s t e r s category. Measurement of p e r s i s t e n c e at the end of Semester 2, as d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r , w i l l g i v e a b e t t e r proxy of course completion. T h i s i s because a f t e r two examination times (at the end of Semesters 1 and 2), students such as D, E, F and G w i l l have to r e -r e g i s t e r f o r any courses as new ones and w i l l have to pay a c c o r d i n g l y . Thus, f o r students who miss the second examination o p p o r t u n i t y (free of course r e g i s t r a t i o n f e e s ) , t here w i l l be some f i n a n c i a l consequences. T h i s approach (monitoring course completion w i t h i n two c o n s e c u t i v e semesters) w i l l i n c l u d e every student who completed a l l f i r s t r e g i s t e r e d courses and would exclude o n l y those who f a i l e d to complete them w i t h i n the a l l o w a b l e f r e e of t u i t i o n fees time. Under t h i s approach, UT's d e f i n i t i o n of n o n - p e r s i s t e n c e would a p p l y o n l y to student G, who d i d not m a i n t a i n h e r / h i s r e g i s t r a t i o n f o r more then f o u r c o n s e c u t i v e semesters. Student G's r e c o r d would be c l o s e d and, i f s/he wished to continue, s/he would have to r e - a p p l y as a new student. Students E and F, a c c o r d i n g to UT 1s p o l i c y , would s t i l l be c o n s i d e r e d as p e r s i s t e n t students and c o u l d r e - r e g i s t e r any 123 time. In accordance with t h i s , a r e s e a r c h e r who wants to measure student p e r s i s t e n c e at UT should take t h i s system and p o l i c y i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n and d e c i s i o n s of measurements should then be based on the c o n s t r a i n t s encountered. W i t h i n UT's context, an i d e a l measurement f o r student p e r s i s t e n c e w i l l have to cover the p e r i o d of at l e a s t s i x semesters as UT's d e f i n i t i o n of n o n - p e r s i s t e r s o n l y i n c l u d e those who f a i l t o r e - r e g i s t e r i n Semesters 2 to 5 (student G i n the p r e v i o u s example). Therefore, students who r e - r e g i s t e r at l e a s t once d u r i n g the monitored s i x semesters ( l i k e students A, B, C, D, E, and F) can be d e f i n e d , a c c o r d i n g to the a d m i n i s t r a t i o n system, as more p e r s i s t e n t than those who do not. The second p o s s i b i l i t y f o r m o n i t o r i n g p e r s i s t e n c e at UT i s ones which assess at p o i n t s w i t h i n two semesters as a s i n g l e r e g i s t r a t i o n fee i s v a l i d f o r two semesters. Such measurements c o u l d i n c l u d e the number of s e l f - t e s t s submitted and the number of examinations w r i t t e n by students w i t h i n the allowed two semester p e r i o d s . These p r o x i e s would show student p e r s i s t e n c e concerning course completion of courses i n i t i a l l y r e g i s t e r e d f o r or concerning students' i n i t i a l study i n t e n t i o n . Student r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n a f t e r completing those f i r s t r e g i s t e r e d courses would then show t h e i r p e r s i s t e n c e f o r c o n t i n u a t i o n . The t h i r d p o s s i b i l i t y i s a measurement w i t h i n a s i n g l e semester. T h i s c o u l d i n c l u d e , again, s e l f - t e s t submissions and s i t t i n g examinations w i t h i n one semester. T h i s c o u l d a l s o 124 be a good p r e d i c t i o n f o r student p e r s i s t e n c e . Given the students' backgrounds d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r , i t c o u l d be assumed th a t students who succeeded i n completing a l l r e g i s t e r e d courses w i t h i n the same r e g i s t r a t i o n semester are more p e r s i s t e n t than those who d i d not. T h i s assumption i s based on the knowledge of the t r a d i t i o n a l way of s c h o o l i n g i n Indonesia, which i s not open. S e l f - t e s t submissions which are not compulsory (only recommended) would g i v e some i n d i c a t i o n about student p e r s i s t e n c e up to the middle of the semester. T h i s i n d i c a t i o n , however, i s not to be i n t e r p r e t e d t o suggest that those who do not submit the s e l f - t e s t s are a l r e a d y dropping t h e i r study. They would simply inform the i n s t i t u t i o n about students who were committed enough to submit the s e l f - t e s t s even though they d i d not have t o . T h e r e f o r e up to t h a t p o i n t of measurement, these students can be assumed as more p e r s i s t e n t than those who do not submit the s e l f - t e s t s . U n l i k e B.C.'s OLA, f o r example, i n which students can t r a n s f e r t h e i r c r e d i t courses to other u n i v e r s i t i e s , UT's course c r e d i t ( s ) are not t r a n s f e r a b l e . Furthermore, u n l i k e some o t h e r d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n i n s t i t u t i o n s i n o t h e r c o u n t r i e s , UT does not o f f e r independent c o u r s e ( s ) . A l l courses are p a r t s of the o f f e r e d degree (or diploma) programs and students who wish to take any course have to r e g i s t e r and apply f o r a complete degree program. Therefore, w i t h i n UT's system and the context of the Indonesian e d u c a t i o n a l system, UT students who do not complete a l l r e g i s t e r e d courses (do not w r i t e the \ 125 courses' examinations) and do not ever r e - r e g i s t e r a g a i n (or a t t a i n t h e i r degree) are d e c l a r e d t o be n o n - p e r s i s t e r s , . The Nature of P e r s i s t e n c e at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka The p r e v i o u s d i s c u s s i o n e x p l a i n s i n d e t a i l , how and when s u i t a b l e measures f o r student p e r s i s t e n c e can be monitored. These measures do not occur i n a vacuum however; the i n t e n t i o n of t h i s r e s e a r c h i s to study how to p o s i t i v e l y i n f l u e n c e student p e r s i s t e n c e at UT. As such i t i s necessary at t h i s p o i n t t o i n t r o d u c e a conceptual framework of the e n t i r e phenomenon of p e r s i s t e n c e , i n c l u d i n g elements where i n t e r v e n t i o n s are a p p r o p r i a t e . T h i s framework can then be adapted t o the s p e c i f i c circumstances at UT. The model of dropout developed by Kember (1989) was c o n s i d e r e d s u i t a b l e f o r e x p l a i n i n g p e r s i s t e n c e i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . T h i s model, as p r e v i o u s l y d i s c u s s e d , adapted T i n t o ' s model (1975) f o r dropout i n g e n e r a l h i g h e r e d u c a t i o n to the s p e c i f i c context of d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n . A c c o r d i n g l y , Kember's model was used as the b a s i s f o r understanding the problem of l a c k of p e r s i s t e n c e at UT (Figure 4.2). I t i s important t o note t h a t the purpose of u t i l i z i n g Kember 1s model of dropout i s to h e l p d e s c r i b e the phenomenon and not to o p e r a t i o n a l i z e the model. The i n t e n t i o n was to show the p a r t s w i t h i n the model where i n s t i t u t i o n a l i n t e r v e n t i o n s c o u l d be a p p l i e d . 127 As seen i n F i g u r e 4.2, an a d a p t a t i o n of Kember's model i n c l u d e s the demographic, economic, p o l i t i c a l , s o c i o - c u l t u r a l , and t r a d i t i o n a l e d u c a t i o n f a c t o r s b e l i e v e d to i n f l u e n c e the whole pr o c e s s of p e r s i s t e n c e at UT. These f a c t o r s address the contexts t h a t students come from and l i v e w i t h i n i n c l u d i n g t h e i r e x p e c t a t i o n s , m o t i v a t i o n s , study h a b i t s and p r e f e r e n c e s , and t h e i r preparedness f o r being independent l e a r n e r s . To i l l u s t r a t e how t h i s model was a p p l i e d to the context of UT and i t s students, each element i s d i s c u s s e d below wi t h d e s c r i p t i o n s of the d e t a i l s of the UT s i t u a t i o n . S o c i a l / w o r k / f a m i l y background, i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and i n s t i t u t i o n a l system. Students e n t e r UT f o r v a r i o u s reasons r e l a t e d to both s o c i a l / w o r k / f a m i l y f a c t o r s and p e r s o n a l / i n d i v i d u a l f a c t o r s . As d i s c u s s e d i n Chapter Three, w i t h i n Indonesia, e d u c a t i o n a l achievement ( i . e . u n i v e r s i t y degrees) c o u l d enable people to move v e r t i c a l l y i n t h e i r s o c i a l , and work l i v e s . T h i s may i n f l u e n c e people's d e s i r e to get a u n i v e r s i t y degree to f u l f i l l p r e s s u r e s and e x p e c t a t i o n s t h a t may come from s o c i e t y at l a r g e as w e l l as from f a m i l y and s i g n i f i c a n t o t h e r s . However, some people are not able to a t t e n d c o n v e n t i o n a l h i g h e r e d u c a t i o n i n s t i t u t i o n s f o r v a r i o u s reasons. The e x i s t e n c e of UT, p r o v i d i n g as i t does an o p p o r t u n i t y to those people disadvantaged by the c o n v e n t i o n a l system, seems to re-open t h e i r hopes and e x p e c t a t i o n s of g e t t i n g a h i g h e r e d u c a t i o n degree. Th e r e f o r e , the d i s t a n c e system used by UT seems to somehow c o n t r i b u t e to the 128 development of student i n i t i a l m o t i v a t i o n to continue t h e i r e d u c a t i o n . I n i t i a l g o a l commitment. I t i s these p e r s o n a l , s o c i a l / w o r k / f a m i l y , and i n s t i t u t i o n a l f a c t o r s t h a t develop students' i n i t i a l g o a l commitments. The g o a l commitments of UT students seem to be e q u a l l y d i v i d e d between those who were e x t r i n s i c a l l y motivated and those who were more i n t r i n s i c a l l y motivated (Putra, 1993). Putra found t h a t students entered UT f o r both e x t r i n s i c reasons (such as "to improve or get ahead on job or new job" and "to f u l f i l l requirements set by some a u t h o r i t y " ) and i n t r i n s i c reasons (such as "to seek l e a r n i n g " ) . I n t e g r a t i o n p r o c e s s . T h i s process begins when students e n t e r t h e i r programs. T h i s i s the process whereby students have to i n t e g r a t e t h e i r g o a l commitment i n t o t h e i r two environments: the s o c i a l / w o r k / f a m i l y and the academic. In t h i s p r o c e s s , students have to meet the requirement and standards set by the i n s t i t u t i o n w i t h i n the l i m i t s of t h e i r p e r s o n a l c a p a b i l i t i e s and o t h e r commitments. In o t h e r words, d u r i n g t h i s time students have to match t h e i r p e r s o n a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ( i n c l u d i n g preparedness and p r e f e r e n c e s ) and t h e i r s o c i a l / w o r k / f a m i l y commitments to the academic environment. F i g u r e 4.3 focuses on the i n t e g r a t i o n p rocess p a r t of the model. I f students' i n d i v i d u a l f a c t o r s are d e p i c t e d as the I 129 c i r c l e , the s o c i a l / w o r k / f a m i l y c i r c u m s t a n c e s as the F c i r c l e , and the academic c i r c u m s t a n c e s as the A c i r c l e , the o v e r l a p p i n g a r e a s d e p i c t the e x t e n t t o which the c i r c u m s t a n c e s and the i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are c o m p a t i b l e o r m a t c h i n g . The FI a r e a t h e r e f o r e d e p i c t s the degree o f c o m p a t i b i l i t y between i n d i v i d u a l f a c t o r s and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and s o c i a l / w o r k / f a m i l y c i r c u m s t a n c e s ; the FA a r e a d e p i c t s the degree o f c o m p a t i b i l i t y between s o c i a l / w o r k / f a m i l y and academic c i r c u m s t a n c e s ; the IA a r e a d e p i c t s the degree o f c o m p a t i b i l i t y between i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and academic c i r c u m s t a n c e s ; and the F I A a r e a d e p i c t s the degree o f c o m p a t i b i l i t y o f the t h r e e f a c t o r s . The i n t e g r a t i o n p r o c e s s i s the p r o c e s s by which s t u d e n t s t r y t o match the new academic Larger Environment F is the family/work/social circumstances I is individual characteristics A is academic circumstances F i g u r e 4 . 3 . The I n t e g r a t i o n p r o c e s s d iagram 130 circumstances i n t o t h e i r own c o n d i t i o n s and t h e i r s o c i a l / w o r k / f a m i l y circumstances, or the process of p l a c i n g area A i n t o areas I and F. The I c i r c l e at UT was c h a r a c t e r i z e d by a d u l t s , 24-39 years o l d , who came from an extended f a m i l y background, worked f o r r e l a t i v e l y low incomes, and had o n l y secondary l e v e l e d u c a t i o n which, f o r most of them, was completed years b e f o r e e n t e r i n g UT ( U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka, 1992). Since UT was e s t a b l i s h e d t o p r o v i d e o p p o r t u n i t i e s to those u s u a l l y disadvantaged by the c o n v e n t i o n a l system, i t i s p o l i t i c a l l y unwise f o r UT to i n f l u e n c e the background c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the o v e r a l l student p o p u l a t i o n by, f o r example, a s e l e c t i o n p o l i c y . In a d d i t i o n , UT students come from s o c i o - c u l t u r a l and e d u c a t i o n a l t r a d i t i o n s t h a t accustom them to be l e s s autonomous and more dependent on others (teachers) when i t comes to l e a r n i n g s i t u a t i o n s (or any s i t u a t i o n ) . T herefore, they may be p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y ^ a n d t e c h n i c a l l y l e s s prepared to study independently than are d i s t a n c e students i n western c o u n t r i e s from which the e d u c a t i o n a l system was adopted. T h i s i m p l i e s t h a t UT students may have a g r e a t e r need to be guided i n t h e i r study than do t h e i r c o u n t e r p a r t s i n western c o u n t r i e s . T h i s diagram a l s o emphasizes the importance of the degree to which students are able to i n t e g r a t e the demands of p a r t -time off-campus study w i t h t h e i r f a m i l y , work, and s o c i a l commitments (the F c i r c l e ) . T h i s seems to be e s p e c i a l l y 131 important i n UT's case. The v a s t m a j o r i t y of students are a d u l t s who are f u l l - t i m e workers with job and f a m i l y r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . The success of the i n t e g r a t i o n p rocess depends h e a v i l y on the support and a t t i t u d e of the s i g n i f i c a n t o t h e r s i n t h e i r f a m i l y , work, and s o c i a l l i v e s . T h i s means th a t i f t h e i r s t u d i e s do not f i t w e l l w i t h the agenda of those s i g n i f i c a n t o t h e r s , i t i s l i k e l y t h a t study would become a lower p r i o r i t y on t h e i r agenda a l s o . The A c i r c l e (academic environment) i n c l u d e s both academic and a d m i n i s t r a t i v e support systems, and the package of study m a t e r i a l s . T h i s , a c c o r d i n g t o Kember (1989), i s the component of h i s model over which the i n s t i t u t i o n had the g r e a t e s t c o n t r o l . Kember argued t h a t n o n - p e r s i s t e n c e was more l i k e l y t o occur i f at l e a s t one of two forms of i n t e g r a t i o n was l a c k i n g . These two forms of i n t e g r a t i o n he c a l l e d v a l u e i n t e g r a t i o n or normative congruence, and c o l l e c t i v e a f f i l i a t i o n . Normative congruence i s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the q u e s t i o n of whether the i n s t i t u t i o n a l v alue system i s compatible w i t h t h a t of students. In UT's case, Indonesians are not used t o being autonomous or independent l e a r n e r s . .They are p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y and t e c h n i c a l l y l e s s prepared t o be f u l l y independent l e a r n e r s . N e v e r t h e l e s s , UT has appa r e n t l y , i g n o r e d these f a c t o r s and made no attempt t o prepare students t o adapt to a new l e a r n i n g system f e a t u r i n g independent l e a r n i n g . Normative congruence i s a l s o a s s o c i a t e d w i t h whether students' study approaches and the i n s t r u c t i o n a l d e s i g n of the 132 course(s) are congruent. A c c o r d i n g to Kember (1989), the use of multimedia (media mix) should s u i t the l e a r n i n g s t y l e of students. However, as d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r , UT's courses are designed p r i m a r i l y as p r i n t e d t e x t . T h i s e x c l u s i v e use of p r i n t e d m a t e r i a l s , t h e r e f o r e , l i m i t s the p o s s i b i l i t y of matching students' d i f f e r e n t l e a r n i n g s t y l e s . T h i s , combined wit h the students' primary c u l t u r e of an o r a l / c o n v e n t i o n a l l e a r n i n g s t y l e and the f a c t t h a t Indonesian students are accustomed to guided l e a r n i n g i n which they are always t o l d what to l e a r n and how to l e a r n i t , l e s s e n the normative congruence. The second key form of i n t e g r a t i o n , c o l l e c t i v e a f f i l i a t i o n , i s e s t a b l i s h e d through the i n t e r a c t i o n s r e l a t e d t o academic support f o r the courses, such as, the frequency and nature of c o n t a c t s , the speed of response to students' i n i t i a t e d c o n t a c t s , the p r o v i s i o n of l o c a l t u t o r i a l s , and the use of telephone or s a t e l l i t e c o n f e r e n c i n g (Kember, 1989). C o l l e c t i v e a f f i l i a t i o n can be i n f l u e n c e d by a d m i n i s t r a t i v e support or by the l a c k of i t . Based on both the i n s t i t u t i o n a l background and students' comments, t h i s support appears to be l a c k i n g at UT. The o n l y r e g u l a r c o n t a c t s between UT and i t s students are at r e g i s t r a t i o n and examination times. Students are b a s i c a l l y on t h e i r own between these two stages. Other p o s s i b l e stages t h a t may i n v o l v e c o n t a c t s between students and the i n s t i t u t i o n are the t u t o r i a l s e s s i o n s which are h e l d two times per semester; however, these are p o o r l y attended by the students. The more frequent i n t e n s i v e t u t o r i a l s , 133 u n f o r t u n a t e l y , o n l y p r o v i d e o p p o r t u n i t i e s to students who can a f f o r d t o a t t e n d them. Even those who a t t e n d t u t o r i a l s f i n d t h a t they do not get any feedback except the f i n a l examination r e s u l t s , and these are c o n s i d e r e d by students to be forwarded at a v e r y l a t e date. The e x e r c i s e s / t e s t s c o n t a i n e d i n the course m a t e r i a l s l i s t c o r r e c t responses only, and the completed/submitted s e l f - t e s t s are never commented upon and or r e t u r n e d . These f a c t o r s i l l u s t r a t e t h a t students do not get s u f f i c i e n t support from the i n s t i t u t i o n d u r i n g t h e i r course of study. T h i s l a c k of support and communication seem to l e s s e n the c o l l e c t i v e a f f i l i a t i o n . M o d i f i e d g o a l commitment. A f t e r going through the i n t e g r a t i o n process, a c c o r d i n g to the process o u t l i n e d i n F i g u r e 4.2, students should have a b e t t e r i d e a of what t h e i r commitment to s t u d y i n g means. Based on t h e i r s t u d y i n g experiences, t h e i r i n i t i a l g o a l commitment would be m o d i f i e d . The degree of both t h e i r academic and s o c i a l / w o r k / f a m i l y i n t e g r a t i o n i s i n f l u e n c e d by changes i n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , development of g o a l commitments, the nature of courses, support from the i n s t i t u t i o n , and a t t i t u d e s i n t h e i r work, f a m i l y , and s o c i a l environments. C o n s c i o u s l y or s u b c o n s c i o u s l y , students at t h i s stage examine the congruence/incongruence between what they i n i t i a l l y thought and expected and what they a c t u a l l y experienced. I t i s important to note t h a t students examine the success of t h e i r i n t e g r a t i o n p rocess at every stage of t h e i r study. 134 At UT, i t seems t h a t the change (most l i k e l y the decrease) i n students' i n i t i a l g o a l commitment i s mainly i n f l u e n c e d by l a c k of support from and or l a c k of communication w i t h the i n s t i t u t i o n . T h i s , i n t u r n , underscores students' l a c k of t e c h n i c a l and p s y c h o l o g i c a l preparedness, l a c k of f i n a n c i a l c a p a b i l i t y , l a c k of time, and d i f f i c u l t y w i t h the course. P e r s i s t e n c e / n o n - p e r s i s t e n c e . A student's m o d i f i e d g o a l commitment which i s the r e f l e c t i o n of what the student p e r c e i v e d about h i s / h e r i n t e g r a t i o n process, would be r e f l e c t e d by h i s / h e r a c t u a l behaviour of e i t h e r c o n t i n u i n g , suspending or dropping the study. Maintained or enhanced g o a l commitment would l e a d t o p e r s i s t e n c e while decreased g o a l commitment would l e a d t o n o n - p e r s i s t e n c e . Again, the process of examining whether to p e r s i s t or not ( e i t h e r t o suspend or to drop) i s a continuous, r a t h e r than s t a t i c , p r o c e s s . In summary, while a l l students are f a c e d with the task of p e r f o r m i n g a b a l a n c i n g act with opposing p r e s s u r e s and demands on t h e i r time and energy, some students ( i . e . those w i t h weaker c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ) are more v u l n e r a b l e than o t h e r s . By and l a r g e the s t r o n g e r the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of a student the more u n l i k e l y an i n c r e a s e i n p r e s s u r e w i l l upset h i s e q u i l i b r i u m . (Kennedy and Powell, 1976, p. 70) In l i n e w i t h t h i s , the "weaker" the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of a student, the more l i k e l y an i n c r e a s e i n p r e s s u r e w i l l upset h i s / h e r e q u i l i b r i u m . The p r e v i o u s d i s c u s s i o n suggests t h a t l a c k of p e r s i s t e n c e at UT i s s u b s t a n t i a l l y the r e s u l t of the 135 l a c k of both normative congruence and c o l l e c t i v e a f f i l i a t i o n . T h e r e f o r e , i f UT>is to help students i n t e g r a t e t h e i r present circumstances i n t o the academic circumstance, i t must modify the academic aspects to be more accommodative of p e r s o n a l and c i r c u m s t a n t i a l f a c t o r s . P roposals For P o s s i b l e I n s t i t u t i o n a l I n t e r v e n t i o n s At t h i s p o i n t i t i s p o s s i b l e to attempt to d e s i g n some s p e c i f i c i n t e r v e n t i o n s to improve student p e r s i s t e n c e at UT. The d i s c u s s i o n suggests t h a t l a c k of p e r s i s t e n c e at UT, as i n o t h e r i n s t i t u t i o n s , i s the r e s u l t of a l o n g i t u d i n a l p r o c e s s . T h e r e f o r e i t i s u n r e a l i s t i c t o pretend t h a t an i n s t a n t i n t e r v e n t i o n can e x i s t which w i l l immediately i n c r e a s e p e r s i s t e n c e . F u r t h e r , F i g u r e 4.2 i l l u s t r a t e s t h a t i n a d d i t i o n to p e r s o n a l and i n s t i t u t i o n a l f a c t o r s , l a c k of p e r s i s t e n c e at UT i s r e l a t e d to the c o n t e x t u a l background i n areas such as s o c i o - c u l t u r a l and e d u c a t i o n a l t r a d i t i o n s . The f i g u r e has a l s o shown t h a t student p e r s i s t e n c e i n the program i s based on students' e x p e r i e n c e s d u r i n g the i n t e g r a t i o n p r o c e s s . T h i s i s e s s e n t i a l l y students' examination of the success of t h e i r i n t e g r a t i o n process or of the congruence between t h e i r p e r s o n a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , t h e i r s o c i a l / w o r k / f a m i l y circumstances, and t h e i r academic circumstances. Based on F i g u r e 4.3, i t i s apparent t h a t the more compatible the " o f f campus", " i n d i v i d u a l " and "academic" circumstances are, the e a s i e r i t i s f o r students t o i n t e g r a t e 136 t h e i r new academic l i v e s i n t o t h e i r present l i v e s . F u r t h e r , the more s u c c e s s f u l the i n t e g r a t i o n process, the more l i k e l y t h a t s tudents' i n i t i a l g oal commitments (whether e x t r i n s i c or i n t r i n s i c ) are to be maintained or even enhanced; thus, the more l i k e l y i t i s f o r students to p e r s i s t . A c c o r d i n g l y , any i n s t i t u t i o n a l i n t e r v e n t i o n s have to be designed to push the A c i r c l e toward the I and F c i r c l e s so t h a t the o v e r l a p p i n g areas can be broadened. In other words, the i n s t i t u t i o n should modify the academic circumstances so t h a t students ( e s p e c i a l l y those who are at r i s k ) w i l l f i n d i t e a s i e r to d e a l with and to i n t e g r a t e the academic environment i n t o s o c i a l , work, and f a m i l y circumstances. The r a t i o n a l e f o r each type of i n t e r v e n t i o n to normative congruence and c o l l e c t i v e a f f i l i a t i o n i s d e s c r i b e d below. Accommodating i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s / c o n d i t i o n s (A-->I). I n t e r v e n t i o n s i n t h i s area would seek to i n c r e a s e the i n t e g r a t i o n of i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and the academic environment. They are to push the A c i r c l e toward the I c i r c l e i n o r d e r to i n c r e a s e the o v e r l a p p i n g A l area. As suggested e a r l i e r , UT students may not be p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y and t e c h n i c a l l y accustomed to being e i t h e r independent l e a r n e r s or f u l l y autonomous i n t h e i r s t u d i e s . I f UT acknowledged t h a t students might be thus unprepared f o r sudden (abrupt) changes i n t h e i r f a m i l i a r p a t t e r n of s t u d y i n g (e.g. f a c e - t o - f a c e and t e a c h e r - d i r e c t e d ) , UT c o u l d propose a grace p e r i o d f o r students to l e a r n about and adapt to a new 137 F i g u r e 4.4. Accommodation of i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s / p r e f e r e n c e s . s t y l e of s t u d y i n g . Although i t i s f i n a n c i a l l y i m p o s s i b l e f o r the i n s t i t u t i o n to p r o v i d e some s p e c i a l remedial programs bef o r e students e n t e r e d the i n s t i t u t i o n , the f i r s t semester c o u l d be t h o u g h t f u l l y designed to serve as a t r a n s i t i o n stage to i n i t i a t e students i n t o new s t u d y i n g h a b i t s . The m o d i f i c a t i o n of the f i r s t semester i n t o a t r a n s i t i o n stage c o u l d p r o v i d e new students with the o p p o r t u n i t y t o enhance t h e i r normative congruence with the i n s t i t u t i o n , and a l s o t h e i r c o l l e c t i v e a f f i l i a t i o n w ith both the i n s t i t u t i o n and peers. One p o s s i b l e m o d i f i c a t i o n would be to employ v a r i o u s i n s t r u c t i o n a l media (Kember, 1990) i n s t e a d of the present e x c l u s i v e use of p r i n t e d media. The present approach emphasizing p r i n t media may discourage students who have d i f f i c u l t y l e a r n i n g through reading, which i s not a popul a r way of seeking knowledge among Indonesians. The use of other 138 media c o u l d accommodate d i f f e r e n t study s t y l e s and p r e f e r e n c e s . More extended use of a u d i o - c a s s e t t e s , f o r example, c o u l d be c o n s i d e r e d s i n c e c a s s e t t e - r e c o r d e r s are easy to access, and a l l o w students to have c o n t r o l over the schedule and the pace of s t u d y i n g . Another i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c t h a t i n f l u e n c e s l a c k of p e r s i s t e n c e i s students' p r e f e r e n c e f o r o r a l communication. Although n o t h i n g can completely r e p l a c e o r a l communication i n education, i n t e r v e n t i o n s a p p l y i n g Holmberg's concept of guided d i d a c t i c c o n v e r s a t i o n i n the i n s t r u c t i o n a l d e s i g n of UT's courses c o u l d prove h e l p f u l . Using a c o n v e r s a t i o n a l way of w r i t i n g might make students f e e l more a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the w r i t e r , and might t h e r e f o r e b e t t e r accommodated t h e i r custom of o r a l communication. A t h i r d way to enhance normative congruence would be p r o v i s i o n of some elements of c o n v e n t i o n a l e d u c a t i o n a l method of guided f a c e - t o - f a c e . T h i s c o u l d be done by p r o v i d i n g students w i t h r e g u l a r t e a c h i n g elements (such as feedback, guidance, encouragement, reminder, and information) which are u s u a l l y g i v e n by the t e a c h e r i n the classroom through a mediated agency. Another m o d i f i c a t i o n , s p e c i f i c a l l y t o enhance c o l l e c t i v e a f f i l i a t i o n d u r i n g the t r a n s i t i o n stage, would emphasize more ex t e n s i v e p r o v i s i o n of communication wi t h students and of communication channels f o r students to i n t e r a c t w i t h each other. T h i s c o u l d i n c l u d e r e g u l a r c o n t a c t s such as f a c e - t o -face c o u n s e l l i n g , telephone t u t o r i n g , and l e t t e r s of 139 encouragement or i n f o r m a t i o n r e g a r d i n g both a d m i n i s t r a t i v e and academic matters. Given t h a t f i n a n c i a l c o n s t r a i n t i s a concern at UT, of a l l p o s s i b l e i n t e r v e n t i o n s , i t seems that r e g u l a r c o n t a c t s through l e t t e r s would seem to be the most s u i t a b l e method, even though m a i l i s slower than the telephone. Accommodating s o c i a l / w o r k / f a m i l y circumstances (A-->F). In t h i s area, i n t e r v e n t i o n s would seek to modify academic circumstances so t h a t they c o u l d b e t t e r accommodate the s o c i a l , work, and f a m i l y circumstances of the stu d e n t s . In other words, these e f f o r t s would push the A c i r c l e toward the F c i r c l e i n order to i n c r e a s e the o v e r l a p p i n g AF area (Figure 4.5). Although UT has l i m i t e d c o n t r o l over students' s o c i a l / w o r k / f a m i l y circumstances, t h i s does not mean th a t i t i s i m p o s s i b l e t o accommodate them. Students' comments (see Putra, 1993) show t h a t the s o c i a l / w o r k / f a m i l y f a c t o r s mostly r e l a t e d t o t h e i r d e c i s i o n s to e i t h e r p e r s i s t or not p e r s i s t were c o n f l i c t s i n time and resources (funding). T h e r e f o r e , i n t e r v e n t i o n s which r e c o g n i z e these c o n f l i c t s would r e s u l t i n ed u c a t i o n packages designed to be more accommodating t o these circumstances, such as a more f l e x i b l e r e g i s t r a t i o n p o l i c y . T h i s type of i n t e r v e n t i o n c o u l d be designed to remove r e s t r i c t i o n s on student p a r t i c i p a t i o n and c o u l d a l l o w students to r e g i s t e r o r t o take as many or as few courses as they c o u l d manage f i n a n c i a l l y and p h y s i c a l l y . 140 A ^. A' F: the s o c i a l / f a m i l y / w o r k environments A: the academic environment F i g u r e 4.5. Accommodation o f . s o c i a l / w o r k / f a m i l y environment Summary of the p o s s i b l e i n t e r v e n t i o n s . The i n s t i t u t i o n a l i n t e r v e n t i o n s d i s c u s s e d above can be summarized as f o l l o w s : (1) P r o v i s i o n of a m o d i f i e d t r a n s i t i o n stage f o r students to g r a d u a l l y l e a r n , adapt to, and adopt an u n f a m i l i a r academic system. T h i s would i n v o l v e enhancing normative congruence by employing a g r e a t e r v a r i e t y of media f o r course d e l i v e r y , and or by r e v i s i n g the i n s t r u c t i o n a l d e s i g n of the course m a t e r i a l s to r e f l e c t a more Guided D i d a c t i c C o n v e r s a t i o n s t y l e . I t would a l s o i n v o l v e enhancing c o l l e c t i v e a f f i l i a t i o n by p r o v i d i n g r e g u l a r c o n t a c t s , such as l e t t e r s of encouragement, reminders, and i n f o r m a t i o n to students. (2) Enhancement of the academic system's openness to address students' c o n f l i c t s i n time and r e s o u r c e s ( f u n d i n g ) . 141 A l l these i n t e r v e n t i o n s are important i f UT wants to i n c r e a s e i t s p e r s i s t e n c e r a t e s . However, some i n t e r v e n t i o n s r e q u i r e more complicated and i n t e g r a t e d p l a n n i n g than o t h e r s . For example, r e v i s i o n of i n s t r u c t i o n a l d e s i g n r e q u i r e s more i n t e g r a t e d and c a r e f u l planning,- s i n c e i t needs more reso u r c e s than, f o r example, p r o v i s i o n of encouragement l e t t e r s d u r i n g the t r a n s i t i o n p e r i o d . Given the c o n s t r a i n t s of p l a n n i n g , implementing, and e v a l u a t i n g a meaningful study w i t h i n a c o n t a i n e d r e s e a r c h budget and time frame, t h i s study focused on the most f i n a n c i a l l y and l o g i s t i c a l l y reasonable p o s s i b l e i n t e r v e n t i o n , namely the p r o v i s i o n of r e g u l a r w r i t t e n c o n t a c t s d u r i n g the student t r a n s i t i o n stage. The Design of I n t e r v e n t i o n s To F a c i l i t a t e Student's T r a n s i t i o n Stage The t r a n s i t i o n stage o c c u r r e d d u r i n g a student's f i r s t semester and t h i s study's i n t e r v e n t i o n s i n v o l v e d a s e r i e s of w r i t t e n c o n t a c t s c o n s t r u c t e d to i n t r o d u c e students to and g i v e them o p p o r t u n i t i e s to become g r a d u a l l y accustomed to an academic system of independent study. Thus, w i t h the p r o v i s i o n of t h i s support, students would have the chance to l e a r n and s h i f t from being f u l l y guided students to b e i n g semi-independent ones. These w r i t t e n c o n t a c t s were intended to modify academic circumstances t h a t might be u n f a m i l i a r , and make them more 142 a c c e p t a b l e t o students (to enhance the normative congruence). Thus, the t r a n s i t i o n i n t e r v e n t i o n s as e n v i s i o n e d p r o v i d e d students w i t h some c o n v e n t i o n a l t e a c h i n g methods (such as encouragements and reminders u s u a l l y g i v e n by the t e a c h e r s ) , but at the same time a l s o p r o v i d e d students w i t h the o p p o r t u n i t y t o l e a r n t o be independent l e a r n e r s . In oth e r words, students were guided, but the guidance was g i v e n i n a way t h a t r e q u i r e d students to act on t h e i r own i n i t i a t i v e . The w r i t t e n c o n t a c t s p r o v i d e d o n l y the necessary i n f o r m a t i o n , suggestions, and encouragement without t e l l i n g the students what t o do and how to do i t . In t h i s way, students had to decide f o r themselves the best t h i n g t o do and the best way to do i t , i n t h e i r own co n t e x t s . Two i s s u e s that were addressed w i t h i n such a m o d i f i e d t r a n s i t i o n stage were p s y c h o l o g i c a l and t e c h n i c a l elements. P s y c h o l o g i c a l elements i n c l u d e d d e v e l o p i n g i n students an awareness of be i n g f u l l y r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e i r study, encouraging study w i t h i n the absence of guidance from others (teachers) as t o what and how to study, d e v e l o p i n g the commitment t o study, and d e v e l o p i n g an i n c r e a s e d awareness i n students of the time they have a v a i l a b l e f o r doing the study. T e c h n i c a l elements, on the other hand, i n c l u d e d the s k i l l s which a f f e c t the students' a b i l i t i e s to study, such as the a b i l i t y t o manage time, t o read the course m a t e r i a l s (since the course m a t e r i a l s were i n p r i n t e d t e x t forms), t o conc e n t r a t e , t o take notes, e t c . 143 Thus, the t r a n s i t i o n i n t e r v e n t i o n s were a c c o r d i n g l y designed t o : (1) Provide students w i t h i n f o r m a t i o n r e g a r d i n g s t u d y i n g at a d i s t a n c e and the requirements to succeed; (2) Make students aware of the commitment they have to make to study independently and the impact of t h i s on the o t h e r commitments they a l r e a d y have; (3) Provide students w i t h some suggestions and g u i d e l i n e s r e g a r d i n g time management, r e a d i n g and n o t e - t a k i n g , as w e l l as examination p r e p a r a t i o n ; (4) Provide students w i t h i n f o r m a t i o n (names and addresses) about t h e i r peers to encourage peer-communication and to enhance t h e i r sense of a f f i l i a t i o n w i t h o t h e r students; and (5) Provide reminders and encouragement to enhance t h e i r s e l f -c o n f i d e n c e and m o t i v a t i o n . These items of i n f o r m a t i o n , encouragement, reminders, and suggestions were g i v e n i n w r i t t e n form f o r two reasons. F i r s t l y , even though the p r o v i s i o n of t u t o r - c o u n s e l l o r s such as suggested by Sewart (1984) would seem to s u i t t h i s purpose, UT has l i m i t e d funding and few a v a i l a b l e t u t o r s , and thus, t h i s a l t e r n a t i v e would not be f e a s i b l e . Secondly, o t h e r communication channels such as telephone, audio-video and computer c o n f e r e n c i n g were h a r d l y a c c e s s i b l e t o most UT's students and t h e r e f o r e would have more l i m i t e d a c c e s s i b i l i t y than l e t t e r s . 144 T h e r e f o r e , a w r i t t e n form was a f e a s i b l e , low c o s t s t r a t e g y s i n c e i t c o u l d be both p e r s o n a l i z e d and pre-produced. T h i s method i s s i m i l a r t o suggestions made e a r l i e r by Roberts (1986), who b e l i e v e d t h a t i n t e r v e n t i o n s i n d i s t a n c e e d u c a t i o n should be c o s t - e f f e c t i v e . The i n t e r v e n t i o n s were designed as a s e r i e s of l e t t e r s r e l a t i v e l y s h o r t and w r i t t e n i n a c o n v e r s a t i o n a l way based upon Holmberg's o b s e r v a t i o n t h a t the c o n v e r s a t i o n a l s t y l e of w r i t i n g would enhance students' sense of a f f i l i a t i o n w i t h the i n s t i t u t i o n . In summary, the t r a n s i t i o n i n t e r v e n t i o n s were intended t o : 1 . Help students adapt t o and adopt the new way of s t u d y i n g (normative congruence). T h i s stage might a l l o w students to g r a d u a l l y understand the academic system and i t s requirements. T h i s might minimize t h e i r "system shock" and t h e i r a n x i e t y , and t h e r e f o r e might m a i n t a i n o r even enhance t h e i r i n i t i a l m o t i v a t i o n or commitment f o r completing the f i r s t stage of t h e i r study. In other words, t h i s m o d i f i e d t r a n s i t i o n stage might help reduce a t t r i t i o n r a t e s i n the e a r l i e r year of h i g h e r e d u c a t i o n when students were most at r i s k of withdrawing (see I n t r o d u c t i o n ) . 2. Enhance students' sense of c o l l e c t i v e a f f i l i a t i o n . Since d u r i n g t h i s m o d i f i e d t r a n s i t i o n stage students were c o n t a c t e d r e g u l a r l y , i t was hoped that they might develop a hi g h e r sense of a f f i l i a t i o n w ith the i n s t i t u t i o n . As d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r , some c o n t a c t s from the i n s t i t u t i o n ( i . e . r e c e i v i n g a q u e s t i o n n a i r e ) d i d make students f e e l t h a t they 145 were important and t h a t the i n s t i t u t i o n c a r e d t h a t they continue t h e i r study. These kinds of f e e l i n g s might s t r e n g t h e n students' m o t i v a t i o n to p e r s i s t . 3. Prepare students f o r t h e i r subsequent years of study. A f t e r students go through t h i s m o d i f i e d t r a n s i t i o n stage, they e x p e c t e d l y would be p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y and t e c h n i c a l l y more prepared f o r independent study than students who ente r e d without t h i s adjustment to a r e g u l a r f i r s t semester. The i n t e r v e n t i o n s ( w r i t t e n contacts) were intended t o help students develop a b e t t e r understanding of the system and the study commitments r e q u i r e d t o succeed. T h e r e f o r e , o t h e r t h i n g s being equal, a s u c c e s s f u l m o d i f i e d t r a n s i t i o n stage might produce s t r o n g e r students who would be more r e s i s t a n t to p r e s s u r e s i n t h e i r subsequent stages of t h e i r study. I t i s the f i r s t two i n t e n t i o n s of the t r a n s i t i o n stage t h a t were tested'. The t e s t i n g was done through a f i e l d experiment; the d e s i g n and methodology of t h a t experiment are e x p l a i n e d and d i s c u s s e d i n the next chapter. 146 Chapter F i v e Experimental Design and Methodology Obi e c t i v e s In o r d e r t o t e s t the f i r s t two i n t e n t i o n s of the t r a n s i t i o n i n t e r v e n t i o n s , a f i e l d experiment was designed t o t e s t the e f f e c t i v e n e s s of the r e g u l a r w r i t t e n c o n t a c t s ( l e t t e r s ) d u r i n g students' t r a n s i t i o n stage (the f i r s t semester). The main o b j e c t i v e of t h i s experiment was to t e s t whether or not the i n t e r v e n t i o n s i n f l u e n c e d p e r s i s t e n c e of new e n r o l l e d students. In ot h e r words, d i d the students who r e c e i v e d more of the i n t e r v e n t i o n s ( w r i t t e n c o ntacts) d u r i n g the f i r s t semester p e r s i s t more than those who r e c e i v e d fewer i n t e r v e n t i o n ( s ) and or d i d not r e c e i v e any con t a c t at a l l ? The t h i r d i n t e n t i o n of the t r a n s i t i o n i n t e r v e n t i o n s ( i . e . t o prepare students f o r t h e i r subsequent semesters) was not e v a l u a t e d because t h a t would have r e q u i r e d a l o n g i t u d i n a l study, and a d d i t i o n a l y ears of r e s e a r c h time. S u b - o b j e c t i v e s of t h i s experiment were: 1. to t e s t the e f f e c t of t r a n s i t i o n stage i n t e r v e n t i o n s on grade p o i n t average (GPA); and 2. to e x p l o r e students' p e r c e p t i o n s and o p i n i o n s about the i n t e r v e n t i o n s g i v e n d u r i n g the t r a n s i t i o n stage. 147 D e f i n i t i o n and Measurement of P e r s i s t e n c e P e r s i s t e n c e i n t h i s study was d e f i n e d as course completion and c o n t i n u a t i o n ( r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n ) . Course completion was employed as the proxy of student p e r s i s t e n c e i n completing t h e i r i n i t i a l commitments w i t h i n the g i v e n time (two semesters), and r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n was used as the proxy of students' i n t e n t i o n s f o r c o n t i n u a t i o n or f o r m a i n t a i n i n g t h e i r r e g i s t r a t i o n s t a t u s without i n t e r r u p t i o n . Since students' course r e g i s t r a t i o n s are v a l i d at UT f o r two c o n s e c u t i v e semesters, course completion was measured and monitored a c r o s s a two-semester time frame. S p e c i f i c a l l y , t h i s study focused on the completion of courses t h a t new students r e g i s t e r e d f o r by September 30, 1993, w i t h i n the next two semesters: Semester 93.2 and 94.1. For t h i s p e r i o d , students had to pay o n l y one t u i t i o n f e e . R e - r e g i s t r a t i o n was a l s o monitored at two r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n times: by A p r i l 16, 1994 f o r Semester 94.1 and by September 30, 1994 f o r Semester 94.2. The second r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n time was monitored to see whether or not students who completed t h e i r f i r s t r e g i s t e r e d courses w i t h i n two semesters immediately r e - r e g i s t e r e d f o r t h e i r new courses i n Semester 94.2. In summary, student p e r s i s t e n c e i n t h i s study was monitored on the scheduled p o i n t s shown by F i g u r e 5.1. Course completion was measured by the s e l f - t e s t submissions i n both November, 1993 (Test) and May, 1994 ( T e s t 2 ) and by- examinations attendance i n both December, 14 8 1993 1994 Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun J u l Aug Sep 30 1 16 30 Reg Test Exam | | T e s t ^ Exairr | | Rereg Semester 93.2 Semester 94.1 Reg : F i r s t r e g i s t r a t i o n of courses i n semester 93.2 (during the r e g i s t r a t i o n p e r i o d of J u l y 1, 1993 -the d e a d l i n e on September 30, 1993). Test : S e l f - t e s t submission of the 93.2 courses at the middle of semester 93.2 (deadline was on November 15, 1993) . Exam : Examination attendance of the 93.2 courses at the end of semester 93.2 (December, 1993). Rereg : R e - r e g i s t r a t i o n f o r the second semester i n semester 94.1 (during the r e g i s t r a t i o n p e r i o d of January 1, 1994 - d e a d l i n e on A p r i l 16, 1994) . T e s t 2 : S e l f - t e s t submission of the 93.2 (remaining) courses i n the middle of semester 94.1. Exam 2 : Examination attendance of the 93.2 (remaining) courses at the end of semester 94.1 (June, 1994). Rereg : R e - r e g i s t r a t i o n f o r the second semester i n 94.2 (during the r e g i s t r a t i o n p e r i o d of J u l y 1, 1994 -d e a d l i n e on September 30, 1994). Rereg F i g u r e 5.1. The m o n i t o r i n g schedule f o r p e r s i s t e n c e at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka. 1993 (Exam) and June, 1994 (Exam 2). S e l f - t e s t submission i n May, 1994 and examination attendance i n June, 1994 were recorded t o see whether students who had not completed t h e i r course requirements by December, 1993 (semester 93.2) continued t o complete them by June, 1994 (semester 94.1). T h i s way, a l l students who completed t h e i r f i r s t r e g i s t e r e d courses ( r e g a r d l e s s of whether they were completed w i t h i n 149 one or two semesters) would f a l l i n t o the same category, namely p e r s i s t e r s . New courses t h a t students r e g i s t e r e d f o r d u r i n g the r e g i s t r a t i o n p e r i o d of J a n u a r y - A p r i l 1994 (to be s t u d i e d i n Semester 94.1), however, were not i n c l u d e d i n t h i s study s i n c e they would have had to be monitored u n t i l the end of the subsequent semester (which was the examination time of Semester 94.2). Students who submitted the s e l f - t e s t s (even though i t was not compulsory) were p e r c e i v e d t o be more committed to t h e i r s t u d i e s than those who d i d not, and t h e r e f o r e , were assumed to be more p e r s i s t e n t . Furthermore, s i n c e each student c o u l d have d i f f e r e n t numbers of courses i n h e r / h i s f i r s t study package (and thus had a d i f f e r e n t number of s e l f - t e s t s to be submitted), p e r s i s t e n c e was measured by the percentage of s e l f - t e s t s submitted ( w i t h i n the two monitored semesters: 93.2 and 94.1) out of the t o t a l number of courses r e g i s t e r e d f o r i n Semester 93.2. Thus, a student who had 6 r e g i s t e r e d courses and submitted 3 s e l f - t e s t s would have the p e r s i s t e n c e r a t e of 3/6 or 50 p e r c e n t . L i k e the s e l f - t e s t submission, students a l s o had d i f f e r e n t numbers of examinations to w r i t e . T h e r e f o r e , the same measurement was employed as f o r the s e l f - t e s t submission: the percentage of examinations w r i t t e n out of the t o t a l number of courses r e g i s t e r e d f o r i n Semester 93.2. I t was important to note t h a t , s i n c e s e l f - t e s t submission was not compulsory, i t was p o s s i b l e f o r students to have 150 h i g h e r r a t e s of examination attendance than s e l f - t e s t submission. Thus, examination attendance r a t e s were assumed to be a c l o s e r proxy f o r p e r s i s t e n c e ( i n terms of course completion) than the s e l f - t e s t submission r a t e s . W i t h i n these two measurements was an assumption t h a t students who had lower r a t e s of s e l f - t e s t submission and examination attendance were l e s s p e r s i s t e n t than those who had h i g h e r r a t e s , r e g a r d l e s s of t h e i r number of r e g i s t e r e d courses. For example, students who wrote f o u r out of f o u r courses (100%) were d e f i n e d as more p e r s i s t e n t than those who wrote f o u r out of f i v e courses (80%). T h e r e f o r e , even though they wrote the same number of courses, students who r e g i s t e r e d f o r f o u r courses were d e f i n e d as more p e r s i s t e n t than those who r e g i s t e r e d f o r f i v e courses. The measurements, as s t a t e d e a r l i e r , were c o n s t r u c t e d to see student p e r s i s t e n c e i n completing t h e i r i n i t i a l study i n t e n t i o n . T h e r e f o r e , r e g a r d l e s s of the number of courses they r e g i s t e r e d f o r , students who completed h i g h e r percentages of courses were d e f i n e d as more p e r s i s t e n t than those who completed lower percentages, although the s t a t i s t i c a l a n a l y s es c o r r e c t e d f o r t h i s by i n c l u d i n g number of courses as a c o v a r i a t e . R e - r e g i s t r a t i o n f o r a second semester was measured by students' a c t u a l b ehavior d u r i n g the r e g i s t r a t i o n p e r i o d s of Semester 94.1 and 94.2 ( J a n u a r y - A p r i l , 1994 and J u l y -September, 1994). T h i s i s because some students might expand t h e i r f i r s t semester i n t o two semesters and t h e r e f o r e 151 some students (those who expanded the l e n g t h of t h e i r f i r s t semester i n t o two c o n s e c u t i v e ones) might not r e - r e g i s t e r i n the e a r l i e r semester but do so i n the l a t e r one. The i n t e n t i o n of these two measurement times was to see the r a t e of students' c o n t i n u a t i o n a f t e r the g i v e n treatments w i t h i n the two monitored semesters. Sample s e l e c t i o n Two thousand f o u r hundred new students (about 26% of the t o t a l new e n r o l l e e s ) were used as the study p o p u l a t i o n . These students were a l l new e n r o l l e e s i n the degree programs of the F a c u l t i e s of Economics, S o c i a l and P o l i t i c a l S c i e n c e s , and Mathematics whose r e g i s t r a t i o n forms had been r e c e i v e d and processed by the Computer Center of the Indonesian Open U n i v e r s i t y (UT) by September 30, 1993. The r e g i s t r a t i o n system, which allows students to send t h e i r r e g i s t r a t i o n forms to the r e g i o n a l o f f i c e s , rendered the r e s t of the new e n r o l l e e s u n a v a i l a b l e at the time of sample s e l e c t i o n (September 30, 1993). Even though there were s e v e r a l r e g i o n a l o f f i c e s not r e p r e s e n t e d i n the study p o p u l a t i o n , students i n the study p o p u l a t i o n were spread throughout almost a l l i s l a n d s (Table 5.1), and r e p r e s e n t e d a l l study programs or departments w i t h i n the t h r e e f a c u l t i e s (Table 5.2). T h i s was because, at the time of sample s e l e c t i o n , the r e g i s t r a t i o n / a p p l i c a t i o n of students l o c a t e d i n the non-152 Table 5 .1 T o t a l and Study P o p u l a t i o n by Regional O f f i c e P o p u l a t i o n of new e n r o l l e e s Regional O f f i c e T o t a l In the study T o t a l / S t u d y (%) Sumatera Ac eh 14 5 35 71 Medan 144 2 1 39 Padang 75 1 1 33 Pekanbaru 91 0 Jambi 149 57 38 25 Palembang 227 0 37 00 Bengkulu 100 37 Bandar Lampung 253 42 16 .60 Java J a k a r t a 3 , 956 1,265 31 . 98 Bogor 462 182 39 .39 Bandung 707 154 21 . 78 Purwokerto 350 131 37 .43 Semarang 486 112 23 . 05 Sura k a r t a 129 0 Yogyakarta 518 137 26 .45 Surabaya 295 0 Malang 54 0 Jember 10 0 Kalimantan Pontianak 299 43 14 .38 Palangkaraya 32 18 56 .25 Banj armasin 47 30 63 . 83 Samarinda 51 47 92 . 16 B a l i and Nusa Tenggara Denpasar 76 0 Mataram 14 •11 78 . 57 Kupang 55 35 63 . 63 D i l i 77 43 55 . 84 Sulawesi Ujung Pandang 17 0 Palu 62 23 37 . 10 Kendari 30 0 Manado 49 11 22 .45 Maluku Ambon 25 12 48 . 00 I r i a n Jaya Jayapura 127 0 T o t a l 8,981 2,400 26 .72 153 Table 5.2 T o t a l and Study P o p u l a t i o n by Study Program Study program T o t a l Study Percentage of p o p u l a t i o n p o p u l a t i o n s t u d y / t o t a l p o p u l a t i o n S t a t e A d m i n i s t r a t i o n 3, 384 879 25 . 96 Business Admin. 736 202 27 .45 Tax A d m i n i s t r a t i o n 174 73 41 . 95 Economics 536 168 31 . 34 Management 3 , 986 1, 021 25 . 61 A p p l i e d S t a t i s t i c s 108 38 35 . 19 Mathematics 57 19 33 . 33 T o t a l 8,981 2, 400 26 .72 r e p r e s e n t e d r e g i o n a l areas ( i . e . Pekanbaru, Palembang, Surakarta, Surabaya, Malang, Jember, Denpasar, Ujung Pandang, Kendari, and Jayapura) had not been r e c e i v e d by the c e n t r a l o f f i c e i n J a k a r t a . A l l students i n the study p o p u l a t i o n were l i s t e d based on the order t h e i r a p p l i c a t i o n s were processed by the UT 1s computer system. Each student was a s s i g n e d e i t h e r an odd or even number i n the l i s t . A c o i n t o s s determined t h a t even numbered students would be a s s i g n e d to a peer group while odd numbered students would be used as the study sample p o p u l a t i o n , by a method d i s c u s s e d below. Students i n the sample p o p u l a t i o n l i s t were randomly as s i g n e d to e i t h e r the c o n t r o l group or one of the f i v e treatment groups u s i n g a d i e (dice) t o s s . The d i c e was t o s s e d s i x times to a s s i g n students to groups. The s i d e s of 154 the d i c e w i t h one spot to f i v e spots corresponded to Treatment Groups 1 to 5 r e s p e c t i v e l y ( h e r e a f t e r termed as Welcome+Guide, Peer, Encouragel, Encourage2, and Encourage3 groups). The s i d e of the d i c e w i t h s i x spots r e p r e s e n t e d the c o n t r o l group. The top s i d e of the d i c e a f t e r each t o s s was used as the b a s i s f o r s e l e c t i n g students f o r each group. The order of the s i x t o s s e s were as f o l l o w s : s i d e w i t h (1) s i x spots, (2) t h r e e spots, (3) f i v e spots, (4) two spots, (5) one spot, and (6) f o u r spots. Thus, student number 1 was a s s i g n e d to the c o n t r o l group (side w i t h s i x s p o t s ) , student number 2 was a s s i g n e d to Treatment group 3 (Encouragel), student number 3 was a s s i g n e d to Treatment Group 5 (Encourage3), student number 4 was a s s i g n e d to Treatment Group 2 (Peer), student number 5 was a s s i g n e d to Treatment Group 1 (Welcome+Guide), and student number 6 was a s s i g n e d to Treatment Group 4 (Encourage2). Subsequent students f o r each group were determined by adding 6 (the number of groups i n the experiment) to the f i r s t s tudents' o r d e r number. The r e f o r e , students a s s i g n e d to the c o n t r o l group, f o r example, had order numbers of: 1, (1+6=) 7, (7+6=) 13, e t c . The r e s u l t s f o r a l l groups were: Welcome+Guide : students #5, #11, #17, e t c . Peer : students #4, #10, #16, e t c . Encouragel : students #2, #8, #14, e t c . Encourage2 : students #6, #12, #18, e t c . Encourage3 : students #3, #9, #15, e t c . C o n t r o l : students #1, #7, #13, e t c . 155 Based on t h i s o r d e r i n g , s i x new l i s t s , each c o n s i s t i n g of 200 students, were then generated from the o r i g i n a l study sample of 1200 (Table 5.3). Each treatment group was g i v e n a d i f f e r e n t s et of treatments (to be d i s c u s s e d i n d e t a i l i n Table 5.3 Numbers of the Returned Treatment L e t t e r s By date Students of treatment group 1 2 3 4 5 Welcome Peer Encouragel Encourage2 Encourage3 + Guide 10/13/93 6 6 6 8 7 10/15/93 1 1 3 3 2 10/19/93 3 2 1 2 5 10/21/93 1 1 - 1 4 10/25/93 1 1 - - -11/04/93 4 2 1 2 -11/11/93 1 3 2 5 1 11/15/93 - 1 - 1 -02/20/94 - - - 4 1 02/25/94 - - - 1 2 04/10/94 — — — — 2 T o t a l r e t u r n s 17 17 13 27 24 sample l e f t 183 183 187 173 176 the next s e c t i o n ) . The treatments were l e t t e r s sent t o the students on scheduled dates throughout and a f t e r the f i r s t semester. During the experiment, some l e t t e r s were r e t u r n e d f o r v a r i o u s reasons such as the student had moved to another unknown address and the student had passed away (one c a s e ) . 156 Table 5.3 shows the number of r e t u r n e d l e t t e r s by date. T h i s t a b l e shows t h a t a t o t a l of 98 students were not reached by the l e t t e r s , thus r e d u c i n g the study sample to 1102 students l e f t i n the sample (91.8%). D e s c r i p t i o n of Sample Table 5.4 shows the means and standard d e v i a t i o n s of p e r s o n a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of students i n the sample. As the Table 5.4 Means* and Standard D e v i a t i o n s of Sample C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s V a r i a b l e Welcome Peers Encou Encou Encou C o n t r o l T o t a l + Guide r a g e l rage2 rage3 P r o p o r t i o n . 7 2 . 7 2 . 7 1 . 8 0 . 7 6 . 7 5 . 7 4 of employed .45 .46 .47" .40 .43 .44 .44 Age 2 6 . 2 2 2 7 . 0 1 2 5 . 9 6 2 6 . 8 7 27 . 2 7 2 7 . 1 9 2 6 . 7 5 8 . 92 8 . 10 7 . 55 6 . 52 9 . 32 6 . 80 7 . 88 P r o p o r t i o n . 2 5 . 2 7 . 2 1 . 2 2 . 2 6 . 2 3 . 2 4 of female .43 .44 .41 .42 . 44 .42 .43 P r o p o r t i o n . 2 7 . 3 7 . 3 0 . 3 5 . 3 1 . 3 4 . 3 2 of m a r r i ed .45 .48 .46 .48 .46 .47 .47 # of . 2 6 . 4 3 . 3 1 . 3 9 . 3 7 . 3 6 . 3 5 c h i l d r e n . 73 . 97 . 82 . 90 . 91 . 93 . 88 Timelag 5 . 5 5 6 . 7 4 5 . 7 5 6 . 8 3 6 . 2 8 7 . 4 4 6 . 3 5 5 . 14 5 . 74 5 . 14 6 .28 5 .69 8 . 61 5 . 71 # of 5 . 5 2 5 . 5 7 5 . 6 0 5 . 4 2 5 . 5 7 5 . 5 1 5 . 4 6 courses 1 . 11 1 . 07 1 . 18 . 96 1 .26 1 . 11 1 . 07 * i n b o l d numbers 157 t a b l e shows, students i n the sample mostly (74%) c l a i m e d to be working, and t h e r e f o r e were p a r t - t i m e students. In other words, o n l y 26 percent of students were s t u d y i n g f u l l time. T h i s was v e r y s i m i l a r to the aggregate of UT students, which shows t h a t 73.3 percent of UT's students who were r e g i s t e r e d up to December 1991 were working students (UT S t a t i s t i c s , 1992) . The t a b l e a l s o shows that the average age of students was 2 6.75 years o l d . Table 5.5 shows the comparison of age Table 5.5 Student D i s t r i b u t i o n ' s by Acre Group Percentage Age group T o t a l p o p u l a t i o n * Study sample <= 24 12 . 7 48 . 8 25-29 17 . 5 34 . 2 30-34 31. 8 4 . 2 36-39 18 .1 8.4 40-44 11 . 3 3 . 0 >= 45 8 . 6 1. 4 * UT S t a t i s t i c s , 1992. c l u s t e r s between the study sample and the o v e r a l l UT student p o p u l a t i o n . T h i s t a b l e shows that the study sample was s l i g h t l y younger than UT students i n g e n e r a l . For the t o t a l p o p u l a t i o n , o n l y about 62 percent of the students were under 35 years o l d , while over 87 percent of the study sample were 158 under t h i s age. I t a l s o shows that almost 4 9 p e r c e n t of the study sample were 24 years o l d or under, while o n l y about 12 percent of the students i n the t o t a l p o p u l a t i o n were under 24 years o l d . Table 5.4 f u r t h e r shows t h a t o n l y 24 percent of the study sample were female. T h i s means t h a t 76 percent of the study sample were male. T h i s was v e r y s i m i l a r t o the t o t a l p o p u l a t i o n which shows that 75.7 of UT students who were r e g i s t e r e d up to December, 1991 were male (UT S t a t i s t i c s , 1992). With r e g a r d to m a r i t a l s t a t u s (% of married) and number of c h i l d r e n (#.of c h i l d r e n ) , 32% of the study sample were married and over 82 percent of students d i d not have any c h i l d r e n (see frequency t a b l e i n Appendix 9). Regarding the t i m e l a g between hi g h s c h o o l g r a d u a t i o n and r e g i s t r a t i o n i n UT, Table 5.4 shows t h a t the average number of years (Timelag) between these events f o r the study sample was 6.35 y e a r s . T h i s was c o n s i s t e n t w i t h the f a c t t h a t over 50 percent of the study sample graduated from h i g h s c h o o l between 1988 and 1993. Another set of data recorded was the number of r e g i s t e r e d courses (# of c o u r s e s ) . Even though students were a d v i s e d to take o n l y courses c o n t a i n e d i n the F i r s t Study Packages (which c o n s i s t e d of o n l y 4 to 5 c o u r s e s ) , data show t h a t some students took a h i g h e r number of courses--some as many as nine (See Appendix 9). T h i s was a l s o suggested by the number of courses taken shown i n Table 5.4, which average h i g h e r than 5. 159 Two o t h e r p e r s o n a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the study sample that warrant i n s p e c t i o n were p r e v i o u s e d u c a t i o n and study program. The coding system f o r these three v a r i a b l e s were c a t e g o r i e s , not s c a l e s , so t h a t they were not i n t e r p r e t a b l e i n terms of t h e i r means. The frequency of these t h r e e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are shown i n Appendix 9, and are d e s c r i b e d as f o l l o w s . Over 92 percent of the study sample had o n l y a h i g h school diploma. Table 5.6 shows a comparison of p r e v i o u s e d u c a t i o n f o r the study sample and the t o t a l UT p o p u l a t i o n . As i s shown by the t a b l e , even though the percentages were s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t , students i n both the t o t a l p o p u l a t i o n and the sample were mostly h i g h school graduates. Table 5.6 Student D i s t r i b u t i o n s by Highest Previous E d u c a t i o n Before R e g i s t e r i n g at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka Highest Percentage l e v e l of . edu c a t i o n T o t a l p o p u l a t i o n * Study sample High School 79.7 92.4 Diploma 18.8 5.2 U n i v e r s i t y 1.5 2.4 Graduate programs 0 0 T o t a l 100.0 ' 100.0 * UT S t a t i s t i c s , 1992 160 Regarding the k i n d of program f o r which they were r e g i s t e r e d , Table 5.2 (page 154) shows t h a t almost 80 percent of students were r e g i s t e r e d i n e i t h e r Management or S t a t e A d m i n i s t r a t i o n . T h i s a l s o was c o n s i s t e n t w i t h the f a c t t h a t most UT students were r e g i s t e r e d f o r these two study programs (82%). In summary, students used as the sample i n t h i s study had s i m i l a r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s t o UT's students i n g e n e r a l . Experimental Treatments The experiment was based on the P o s t - t e s t - O n l y C o n t r o l Group Design d i s c u s s e d by Campbell and S t a n l e y (1963). The complete d e s i g n was as f o l l o w s : R C o n t r o l 01 02 03 R Welcome T l 01 02 03 R Peers T l T2 01 02 03 R Encouragel T l T2 T3 01 02 03 R Encourage2 T l T2 T3 01 02 T4 03 R Encourage3 T l T2 T3 01 02 T4 T5 03 Time = 7 months Where R was random sampling and random assignment to the c o n t r o l and treatment groups, T l - T5 were the g i v e n treatments (Treatment 1 - Treatment 5), and 0's were the o b s e r v a t i o n of the outcomes (01 = s e l f - t e s t submission, 02 = examination attendance, and 03 = r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n i n the second semester). 161 The experimental treatment l e t t e r s were ma i l e d to new students d u r i n g t h e i r f i r s t semester. The treatment l e t t e r s were d i f f e r e n t i a t e d i n t o f i v e l e v e l s of i n c r e a s i n g c o n t a c t s . The experiment c o n s i s t e d of one c o n t r o l group and f i v e treatment groups. The c o n t r o l group r e c e i v e d no treatment or c o n t a c t . The treatment l e t t e r s f o r each treatment group were as f o l l o w s . (1) The f i r s t treatment group (Welcome+Guide) r e c e i v e d a welcoming l e t t e r and a brochure of independent l e a r n i n g s t r a t e g i e s i n the b e g i n n i n g of the semester (sent on October 4, 1993). The l e t t e r c o n t a i n e d encouragement to set up a study group with peers and to s t a r t s t u d y i n g , and i n c l u d e d i n f o r m a t i o n r e g a r d i n g t u t o r i a l s , important dates throughout the semester and channels to seek further/more d e t a i l e d i n f o r m a t i o n . A t t a c h e d to t h i s welcoming l e t t e r was a brochure on Independent L e a r n i n g S t r a t e g i e s (Appendices 3.1 and 4). (2) The second treatment group (Peer) r e c e i v e d a l l of the items i n Treatment group 1, p l u s a l i s t of s e v e r a l other students (1 to 5 students depending on a v a i l a b i l i t y ) who r e g i s t e r e d f o r the same study program and who l i v e d c l o s e s t to the respondent students. The l i s t was a t t a c h e d to the welcoming l e t t e r which was sent e a r l y i n the semester. T h i s p r o v i s i o n of a l i s t of peers was to g i v e students the o p p o r t u n i t y to be i n c o n t a c t w i t h o t h e r students i n order to enhance t h e i r c o l l e c t i v e 162 a f f i l i a t i o n w i t h t h e i r peers ( d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r ) . Since the d e n s i t y and the spread of students v a r i e d from one study program t o another and from p l a c e t o p l a c e , some students r e c e i v e d a l i s t of ot h e r students who l i v e d i n the same p o s t a l code, while others r e c e i v e d a l i s t of students i n the same d i s t r i c t ( c i t y ) , o r even o n l y i n the same r e g i o n a l o f f i c e (approximately the s i z e of an Indonesian p r o v i n c e ) . The peers' names and addresses were s e l e c t e d from the non-sample students d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r (Appendix 3.2). Table 5.7 shows the number of students i n each treatment group completely unmatched or matched w i t h peers. The "NO PEER" column shows the number of students who c o u l d not be matched (using any one of the three c r i t e r i a ) with any oth e r students who were r e g i s t e r e d i n the same study programs. Table 5.7 Number of Peers S e l e c t e d per C r i t e r i o n Treatment No P o s t a l D i s t r i c t R e g i o n a l T o t a l group Peer code ( c i t y ) o f f i c e Peer 3 86 92 19 200 Encou - 93 85 22 200 r a g e l Encou 2 91 96 11 200 rage2 Encou 4 80 99 17 200 rage3 T o t a l 9 350 372 69 800 (%) 1.1 43 . 8 46 . 5 8 . 6 100 163 As t a b l e 5.7 shows, there were nine students who were supposed to r e c e i v e the peer l i s t but c o u l d not be matched wi t h any other students from the non-sample group. The t a b l e f u r t h e r shows t h a t 350 students were able t o be matched wi t h t h e i r peers l i v i n g i n the same p o s t a l code area, 372 with t h e i r peers w i t h i n the same c i t y , and 69 students c o u l d o n l y be matched wi t h t h e i r peers w i t h i n the same r e g i o n a l o f f i c e ' s s e r v i c e area ( u s u a l l y as l a r g e as a p r o v i n c e ) . (3) The t h i r d treatment group (Encouragel) r e c e i v e d a l l of the items i n group Peer, p l u s a reminder and an encouragement l e t t e r t o keep s t u d y i n g . T h i s l e t t e r was sent on November 1, 1993, two weeks b e f o r e the d e a d l i n e f o r s e l f - t e s t submission and one month b e f o r e the f i r s t f i n a l examination. The l e t t e r a l s o c o n t a i n e d some reminders and i n f o r m a t i o n r e g a r d i n g the due date of the s e l f - t e s t s and the f i n a l examination (Appendix 3.3). (4) The f o u r t h treatment group (Encourage2) r e c e i v e d a l l the p r e v i o u s items, p l u s a reminder and encouragement l e t t e r to r e - r e g i s t e r f o r the second semester which was sent on February 15, 1994 (6 weeks a f t e r the examination). The l e t t e r a l s o c o n t a i n e d i n f o r m a t i o n r e g a r d i n g the r e g i s t r a t i o n p e r i o d (Appendix 3.4). (5) The f i f t h treatment group (Encourage3) r e c e i v e d a l l p r e v i o u s items, p l u s a second reminder and encouragement l e t t e r t o r e - r e g i s t e r f o r the second semester which was 164 sent on March 10, 1994 or one month be f o r e the c l o s i n g date of r e g i s t r a t i o n f o r Semester 94.1 (Appendix 3.5). Table 5.8 summarizes s e v e r a l t h e o r e t i c a l c o n s t r u c t s a p p l i c a b l e t o t h i s study, together w i t h t h e i r proponents, and i l l u s t r a t e s (where a p p l i c a b l e ) how they are o p e r a t i o n a l i z e d f o r t h i s experiment. The t a b l e shows t h a t the experiment d i d not o p e r a t i o n a l i z e a l l t h e o r e t i c a l c o n s t r u c t s proposed by Kember (1989), T i n t o (1975), and ot h e r s . The experiment focused on the i n t e g r a t i o n process p a r t of Kember's model (1989) d u r i n g which the i n s t i t u t i o n has some c o n t r o l over and can f a c i l i t a t e s tudents' l e a r n i n g p r o c e s s . The t a b l e f u r t h e r shows that the experimental treatment l e t t e r s embodied the concept of guided d i d a c t i c c o n v e r s a t i o n proposed by Holmberg (1983) and i t s m o d i f i c a t i o n proposed by Roberts (1984). A l l treatments ( l e t t e r s , the independent l e a r n i n g s t r a t e g i e s brochure, and the peer l i s t ) were sent by m a i l from the c e n t r a l o f f i c e of UT i n J a k a r t a . The t i m e l a g between the date when the treatments were ma i l e d and r e c e i v e d by the student respondents was monitored through the f o l l o w i n g procedure: 1. In each of the 32 r e g i o n a l o f f i c e s , a dummy respondent was a s s i g n e d . These dummy respondents were pe r s o n n e l l o c a t e d i n the r e g i o n a l o f f i c e s who had been c o n t a c t e d i n advance and agreed t o help. 2. At each m a i l i n g time of the treatment, a l e t t e r was sent to the home address of these dummy respondents. In the 165 Table 5.8 S e v e r a l T h e o r e t i c a l C o n s t r u c t s A p p l i c a b l e t o the Experiment and T h e i r O p e r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n s (Where A p p l i c a b l e ) T h e o r e t i c a l Proponent(s) O p e r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n Goal Commitment M o t i v a t i o n : * I n t r i n s i c * E x t r i n s i c I n t e g r a t i o n Process: * Normative Congruence * C o l l e c t i v e A f f i l i a t i o n C o s t / B e n e f i t A n a l y s i s Dropout/ Completion/ P e r s i s t e n c e T i n t o (1975) Kember (1989] Kember (1989] T i n t o (1975) Kember (1989) Kember (198 9) Kember (1989) Kember (1989] T i n t o (1975) Kember (1989; Wong (1987) Guided D i d a c t i c C o n v e r s a t i o n Holmberg (1983) Not O p e r a t i o n a l i z e d Not O p e r a t i o n a l i z e d M o d i f i e d T r a n s i t i o n Stage * Welcoming l e t t e r * Independent L e a r n i n g S t r a t e g i e s Brochure * Encouragement and reminder l e t t e r s * L i s t of Peers' names and addresses * Regular w r i t t e n c o n t a c t s from the i n s t i t u t i o n Not O p e r a t i o n a l i z e d Three p r o x i e s of P e r s i s t e n c e : 1. S e l f - t e s t submission 2. Examination attendance 3. R e - r e g i s t r a t i o n C o n v e r s a t i o n a l s t y l e of the l e t t e r s Continued on the next page. 166 Table 5.8 c o n t i n u e s . . . T h e o r e t i c a l Proponent(s) O p e r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n I n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n Roberts (1984) P e r s o n a l i z e d and of Guided D i d a c t i c Pre-produced l e t t e r s C o n v e r s a t i o n w r i t t e n i n and Cost- c o n v e r s a t i o n a l way-e f f e c t i v e n e s s l e t t e r , they were asked to r e c o r d both the s p e c i f i c date they r e c e i v e d the l e t t e r and asked to m a i l back the pre-stamped a t t a c h e d form to the r e s e a r c h e r . As shown by Table 5.9, o n l y two m a i l i n g l a g - t i m e s (the f o u r t h and the f i f t h t r e a t m e n t s / l e t t e r s ) t o two d i f f e r e n t d e s t i n a t i o n s were not known due to the change i n the dummy respondents' addresses. The t a b l e a l s o shows t h a t the average m a i l i n g time f o r the f i r s t , second, t h i r d , and the f o u r t h l e t t e r s was l e s s than a week. However, the average m a i l i n g time f o r the l a s t l e t t e r was almost two weeks. T h i s was because the scheduled m a i l i n g time of the l a s t l e t t e r (March 10, 1994) was v e r y c l o s e to the Moslem's "end of Ramadhan ( f a s t i n g month)" day (March 15, 1994) when people send cards to f a m i l y and friends--much l i k e Christmas i n Canada. The d e l a y i n t h i s l e t t e r ' s r e c e p t i o n , however, was not too s e r i o u s s i n c e UT's c l o s i n g date f o r r e g i s t r a t i o n was a l s o postponed u n t i l two weeks l a t e r . The purpose of m o n i t o r i n g the m a i l i n g time was to check the extent to which treatments were r e c e i v e d by respondents w i t h i n the expected time. 167 Table 5.9 M a i l i n g Time to The Dummy Respondents ( i n days) Treatment(s) Regional O f f i c e Welcome+ Guide & Peer Encouragel Encourage2 Encourage3 Sumatera Ac eh 9 3 4 27 Medan 4 3 6 14 Padang 2 2 3 12 Pekanbaru 3 5 5 24 Jambi 2 2 1 13 Bengkulu 2 5 2 11 Bandar Lampung 2 2 4 10 Java J a k a r t a 1 2 3 15 Bandung 2 1 2 12 Bogor 2 3 moved 11 Purwokerto 3 2 4 7 Surakarta 2 4 4 11 Yogyakarta 3 2 3 moved Semarang 4 1 2 20 Surabaya 3 2 3 9 Malang 3 5 9 11 Jember 4 2 2 8 B a l i and Nusa Tenggara Denpasar 8 3 5 15 Mataram 4 3 7 10 Kupang 4 5 7 13 D i l i 3 5 9 21 Kalimantan Banj armasin 10 3 7 10 Pontianak 3 2 8 14 Samarinda 2 3 4 9 Palangkaraya 4 4 12 14 Sulawesi Manado 4 2 3 14 Palu 3 2 3 9 Kendari 2 5 4 14 Ujung Pandang 3 2 6 11 Maluku Ambon 4 7 6 12 I r i a n Java Jayapura 4 7 17 12 Average i n davs 3 .4 3.1 5.1 13 .2 168 Data C o l l e c t i o n The data c o l l e c t e d f o r the study can be grouped i n t o two c a t e g o r i e s : p r e d i c t o r and outcome v a r i a b l e s . P r e d i c t o r v a r i a b l e s (besides the treatments) i n c l u d e d students' age, gender, r e l i g i o n , m a r i t a l s t a t u s , number of c h i l d r e n , t i m e l a g between year of g r a d u a t i n g from h i g h s c h o o l and e n t e r i n g UT, employment s t a t u s , p r e v i o u s education, study program, and number of r e g i s t e r e d courses. Outcome v a r i a b l e s , i . e . the number of s e l f - t e s t s submitted, number of examination w r i t t e n , students' a c t u a l r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n , and grade p o i n t average (GPA), were c o l l e c t e d d u r i n g the monitored semesters (Semester 93.2 and 94.1), and a f t e r the c l o s i n g date of the r e g i s t r a t i o n p e r i o d s ( f o r Semester 94.1: A p r i l 16, 1994; and f o r Semester 94.2: September 30, 1994). A l l data were r e t r i e v e d from student's p e r s o n a l and academic records maintained i n the computer system of UT. With r e g a r d to r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n i n Semester 94.1, data were c o l l e c t e d twice. The f i r s t s et of r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n data was c o l l e c t e d on May 15, 1994 and was assumed to be complete s i n c e the d e a d l i n e of r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n f o r Semester 94.1 was A p r i l 16, 1994 (one month e a r l i e r ) . T h i s r e c o r d was updated at the end of May, 1994 when UT's c e n t r a l o f f i c e r e c e i v e d a d d i t i o n a l r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n a p p l i c a t i o n forms from v a r i o u s r e g i o n a l o f f i c e s . A c c o r d i n g to UT's R e g i s t r a t i o n O f f i c e , these a p p l i c a t i o n s were r e c e i v e d by the r e g i o n a l o f f i c e s b e f o r e the d e a d l i n e but somehow had not been sent to the 169 c e n t r a l o f f i c e u n t i l l a t e r . T h erefore, these a p p l i c a t i o n s were not y e t processed when the f i r s t r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n data was c o l l e c t e d on May 15, 1994. In a d d i t i o n , i n t e r v i e w s were conducted w i t h s i x t e e n students i n o r d e r to o b t a i n f u r t h e r i n f o r m a t i o n r e g a r d i n g t h e i r study experiences and, e s p e c i a l l y , r e g a r d i n g t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n of the treatments r e c e i v e d . Due to l i m i t e d r e s o u r c e s and time, the students i n t e r v i e w e d were s e l e c t i v e l y chosen from those who l i v e near the main campus ( o f f i c e ) of UT. Twenty f o u r s e l e c t e d students were i n i t i a l l y i n v i t e d f o r i n t e r v i e w s . I n v i t a t i o n s were sent i n e a r l y March, which was approximately one and h a l f months be f o r e the i n t e r v i e w s were scheduled. Only f i v e i n v i t e d students responded, and three of those agreed to be i n t e r v i e w e d i n the scheduled time. A f o l l o w up i n v i t a t i o n l e t t e r was sent to each non-responding student and 24 ot h e r i n v i t a t i o n s were sent t o new s e l e c t e d students on A p r i l 18, 1994. T h i s time, students were g i v e n the o p p o r t u n i t y t o schedule the i n t e r v i e w time at t h e i r convenience between A p r i l 26 and May 31, 1994; and were g i v e n two c h o i c e s of i n t e r v i e w s i t e s (at UT and at the r e s e a r c h e r ' s house). A t o t a l of 24 students responded; thus i n t o t a l 27 students agreed t o be i n t e r v i e w e d . However, out of these 27 students, o n l y 16 students a c t u a l l y came to the i n t e r v i e w s at the scheduled time. Those who d i d not show up i n the scheduled i n t e r v i e w c o u l d not be f u r t h e r c o n t a c t e d due to the time l i m i t a t i o n s . 170 The primary i n t e n t i o n of the i n t e r v i e w was t o get i n f o r m a t i o n on whether the treatments were r e c e i v e d by students the way they were intended, e.g. encouraging, m o t i v a t i n g , and reminding so t h a t they were enhancing t h e i r c o l l e c t i v e a f f i l i a t i o n and normative congruence. Therefore, i t was deemed a p p r o p r i a t e t o use a sample of convenience. Data A n a l y s i s The primary o b j e c t i v e of the experiment was to t e s t the e f f e c t i v e n e s s of the t r a n s i t i o n stage i n t e r v e n t i o n s i n i n c r e a s i n g student p e r s i s t e n c e . Two procedures of a n a l y s i s were employed i n re g a r d to t h i s o b j e c t i v e : SPSS/PC A n a l y s i s of V a r i a n c e (ANOVA) with c o v a r i a t e s to see the e f f e c t of treatments and c o v a r i a t e s on course completion ( s e l f - t e s t submission and examination attendance), and SPSS/PC L o g i s t i c R e g r e s s i o n t o see the e f f e c t of treatments on r e -r e g i s t r a t i o n . ANOVA w i t h c o v a r i a t e s was chosen because i t was able t o measure whether students' behavior ( i n s u b m i t t i n g s e l f - t e s t s and w r i t i n g examinations) a c r o s s the experimental and c o n t r o l groups were s i g n i f i c a n t l y ( s t a t i s t i c a l l y ) d i f f e r e n t . T h e r e f o r e , t h i s method would show whether students who r e c e i v e d treatments (those who were a s s i g n e d t o the experimental groups) were more l i k e l y t o be p e r s i s t e n t (submit h i g h e r r a t e s of s e l f - t e s t s and w r i t e more examinations) than those i n the c o n t r o l group. ANOVA would 171 show whether ot h e r independent v a r i a b l e s ( c o v a r i a t e s ) b e s i d e s the treatment s i g n i f i c a n t l y r e l a t e d t o p e r s i s t e n c e measurements. L o g i s t i c R e g r e s s i o n was employed f o r a l l the same reasons, and because r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n was a dichotomous v a r i a b l e , (which o n l y had two va l u e s of "1" f o r r e - r e g i s t e r e d and "0" f o r not r e - r e g i s t e r e d ) , there was not much v a r i a b i l i t y i n the v a r i a b l e s v a l u e s . T h e r e f o r e , even though ANOVA c o u l d have been used f o r t h i s purpose, the r e s u l t s would be more r e s t r i c t e d because i n ANOVA, the a n a l y s i s i s based on the d i f f e r e n c e s of v a r i a n c e s w i t h i n and between the val u e s of v a r i a b l e s . L o g i s t i c Regression, on the o t h e r hand, was a m o d i f i c a t i o n of r e g u l a r m u l t i p l e r e g r e s s i o n a n a l y s i s which c o r r e l a t e s m u l t i p l e independent v a r i a b l e s to a dichotomous dependent v a r i a b l e . The i n f o r m a t i o n from the i n t e r v i e w s c o n c e r n i n g students' l e a r n i n g experiences and, e s p e c i a l l y , the treatments, was used to help understand how students r e c e i v e d and i n t e r p r e t e d the treatments. That i s , were the l e t t e r s , the study guide and the peer l i s t r e c e i v e d as they were intended? In oth e r words, the i n t e r v i e w i n f o r m a t i o n was used o n l y t o help i n t e r p r e t the q u a n t i t a t i v e data a n a l y s i s r e s u l t s . F i n a l l y , s i n c e the experiment was conducted i n the a c t u a l s e t t i n g ( i . e . i t was a f i e l d experiment), i t was important t o take i n t o account the e f f e c t of oth e r v a r i a b l e s b e s i d e s the g i v e n treatments. Therefore, o t h e r s i g n i f i c a n t 172 v a r i a b l e s mentioned e a r l i e r (age, sex, r e l i g i o n , m a r i t a l s t a t u s , number of c h i l d r e n , t i m e l a g between the year of g r a d u a t i n g from h i g h s c h o o l and e n t e r i n g UT, employment s t a t u s , p r e v i o u s education, and GPA) were used as c o v a r i a t e s i n a l l a n a l y s e s . The number of r e g i s t e r e d courses was i n c l u d e d i n the a n a l y s i s t o account f o r d i f f e r e n c e s i n students' study l o a d . The Schedule of The Experiment and Data C o l l e c t i o n Table 5.10 d e p i c t s the a c t u a l times of both the experiment and data c o l l e c t i o n . As shown by the t a b l e , the experimental treatments were g i v e n to the students d u r i n g the p e r i o d of one semester (October-December, 1993) . Furthermore, as d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r , data were c o l l e c t e d d u r i n g and a f t e r the experiment c o v e r i n g two academic semesters (1993.2 and 1994.1) and two r e g i s t r a t i o n p e r i o d s (January 1 - A p r i l 16, 1994 and J u l y 1 - September 30, 1994) . S p e c i f i c a l l y , the experimental treatment l e t t e r s were sent to the sampled students on the f o l l o w i n g schedules: 1. Welcoming l e t t e r and Study Guide): October 4, 1993; 2. Peer l i s t : October 4, 1993; 3. Encouragement and Reminder: November 8, 1993; 4. Encouragement and Reminder: February 15, 1994; and 5. Encouragement and Reminder: March 10, 1994. 173 CQ PQ pH LO CTi CTl H u CN PQ • p •HH CTl > in o QJ z 4-> CO 0) EH e U o co CM PQ co o !=> 1=) 1-3 a 0 •H rH 4-1 • U •HH QJ (Tl rH •HH rH CTl >H SH 0 CTl s cu U rH 4-) CO rd CU 4-> PH B rd CM QJ Q CO T j P j rd 5? 4-1 a QJ CQ 6 PQ -H PH !H QJ Q. X PQ Q) 45 u CN PQ • Q ro MH c n 0 > in Q) O CU rH 13 4-1 P5 CQ T S ro QJ Q) CT EH e 45 CTi U cu CJ H O co CO Q) CM 45 PQ EH CO u Q U P 5 CU • H > rH 0) 4-> d U H P I u p in E H E H ro E H H CN E H EH CO I co > H 44 cu cu cu 45 4-) TS s5 rd CT, CTl CO H CTi CT LT) H CTi CD ro CTi CTi rH cn c n H • "HH CTi H ^ rH •HH H c n - H CTl SH - CTi •HH SH CTl QJ - LO H CM rH 43 00 H >< < 0 SH v. 4-) SH > H O rd CQ O O CU SH H rd ro O 43 rd SH B PJ 45 43 SH • • QJ SH U QJ • H QJ > 43 SH PH 43 QJ O QJ rd B TS 2 PH 2 TS T J CTi CU - H f5 a 4 J rd rd SH ft O ro QJ QJ CTi . — — .— LD ro 4-) CO >sCTi SH SH SH CTi CTl CO TS H QJ QJ QJ CTi CTi 44 QJ CO pi T i TS TS rH H QJ B rd 4 J S5 f5 S5 QJ QJ CO • H - H - H S CO T S SH a QJ rd 43 O SH 4 J QJ U 4 J O 4-> QJ • • SH QJ 43 B QJ 4 J • • C M T S QJ QJ CO 4-> U •• 3 — T ) CO f5 CO O — U a 4 J o (5 -rH QJ 4 J B U - H QJ SH rH QJ QJ CM CO X PQ QJ i t n 4 J f5 CQ -H -H £ rH o u SH rH QJ QJ QJ £ CM QJ QJ QJ PH PH CM TS T i T i C5 S5 s5 rd rd rd 4-> 4-1 4-> f5 S5 f5 QJ QJ QJ B B B QJ QJ QJ t n t n t n rd rd rd SH SH p5 p i 0 0 0 u u u f5 f5 f5 PQ PQ PQ SH 3 • H CN r o <tf LD QJ QJ > > QJ QJ HHH-QJ QJ QJ C J > > > P QJ QJ QJ — - H SH CM TS <! S5 rd •• T i f5 QJ QJ 4 J 4-1 4-1 4 J - H - H B SH 43 5 pi CQ CQ f5 CQ O 4-> - H CO 4 J QJ rd 4 J f5 SH rd p5 SH 43 Q) PH T S S5 rd c n CTl "HI H cn CT - H co ro •HH CT CT CT CT H H SH - QJ o 43 CM SH • O ^ U-l CT T J SH O QJ -rH 4-1 SH CQ QJ QJ CM B QJ a co o - H T J 4-) 0 rd - H MH 4-1 4-1 f5 (5 QJ QJ B B - U 4-1 rd rd QJ QJ SH SH E H EH O C J CM CO I B rd •• rd pS H , QJ CO C H EH 4 J o • • 3 H CN i i i rd 4-1 ro >HH LT) rd EH E H EH P H B rH rd QJ X CQ QJ HH m o o SH SH QJ QJ 43 43 B B Pi P3 a a QJ QJ 45 45 EH 4-> CD T J H ^ CN i—I LD QJ i—I H i—I 45 - H - H SH > I SH CO CM rd ft rd < 2 < S P5 O - H 4-1 rd SH 4-> a O - H 4 J rd J5 - H IS rd co QJ X H -H QJ t n > QJ SH rH SH QJ rd i - U a PM QJ (5 -H O PH H PH < CQ ft - H t n P5 QJ O SH - H 4-1 QJ rd 45 SH 4-) 4-) co SH - H O tn <4H QJ SH QJ a 4 H H O H T J QJ rd PH QJ - H T J rH T J QJ rd 45 QJ E H T J ro <HH in 174 And both q u a n t i t a t i v e data and q u a l i t a t i v e i n f o r m a t i o n were c o l l e c t e d d u r i n g the f o l l o w i n g times: 1. S e l f - t e s t submissions: A p r i l 18, 1994 - February 4, 1995; 2. Examinations attendance: A p r i l 18, 1994 - February 4, 1995; 3. GPA: A p r i l 18, 1994; 4. R e - r e g i s t r a t i o n : May 15, 1994 and February 4, 1995; and 5. I n t e r v i e w s : A p r i l 26 - June 10, 1994. In t o t a l , the conduct of both the p r o v i s i o n of the treatments and the data c o l l e c t i o n took about 13 months (September, 1993 - September, 1994). Chapter S i x F i n d i n g s of the Experiment T h i s c hapter begins by p r e s e n t i n g the o v e r a l l p i c t u r e of p e r s i s t e n c e at UT, r e l a t i o n s h i p s between a l l p o s s i b l e p r e d i c t o r v a r i a b l e s and p e r s i s t e n c e measurements ( s e l f - t e s t submission, examination attendance, and r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n ) and GPA, and the r e s u l t s of analyses of the treatment e f f e c t on p e r s i s t e n c e and GPA. The chapter c l o s e s by p r e s e n t i n g the i n t e r v i e w r e s u l t s c o n c e r n i n g how students' r e c e i v e d and i n t e r p r e t e d the g i v e n treatments. The a n a l y s i s of the i n t e r r e l a t e d f i n d i n g s p r e s e n t e d e a r l i e r . O v e r a l l P i c t u r e of P e r s i s t e n c e at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka Three p r o x i e s of p e r s i s t e n c e measurements were c o l l e c t e d s e l f - t e s t submission, examination attendance and r e -r e g i s t r a t i o n i n the second semester without i n t e r r u p t i o n . As d i s c u s s e d i n the methodology chapter, these were measured d u r i n g the two c o n s e c u t i v e semesters from the date of students' f i r s t r e g i s t r a t i o n ( i . e . Semester 93.2 and 94.1). Table 6.1 shows the o v e r a l l p i c t u r e of student p e r s i s t e n c e of each type of measurement at each scheduled time. The t a b l e shows t h a t of the 1102 students sampled, 848 people submitted at l e a s t one s e l f - t e s t (by the d e a d l i n e on 176 Table 6.1 O v e r a l l P i c t u r e of P e r s i s t e n c e at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka Numbers of Students Reg]_ Submit by T e s t ! Sep. 30/ ' 93 >0 by Nov 15/'93 Wrote Exam]_ >0 i n Decern ' 93 Rereg2 94 .1 by Apr 16/'94 Semester 93.2 Submit T e s t 2 >0 by May 15/'94 Wrote Exam2 >0 i n June ' 94 Semester 94.1 Rereg3 94 . 2 by Sep 30/'94 Yes=848< < Yes= 4 3 0 — ^ « - -No=197 /(GPA=1.36\ ^ ^ Y e s = 2 5 No=191 No=191 No=191<^ No=3 0 •Yes=5 No=25 No = 5 No = 25 •No = 5 -No=25 No=166 Yes = l No=4 Yes = l . No=24 1102 No=254 Yes= 1 4 9 (GPA=1.19\ Yes= 1 0 0 No=100 No=105 No=49 No=92 No=4 9 Yes = 1 3 -No=13 •No=92 •No=100 No=4 9 •No=13 •No=92 Yes= 4 9 No=51 Yes = 3 No=46 Yes = 6 No=7 Yes = l No=91 T o t a l Yes 8 4 8 % 77 9 6 7 88 7 4 5 68 0 0 0 0 5 1 6 47 177 November 15, 1993) and 967 people wrote at l e a s t one examination ( i n December, 1993) of the courses r e g i s t e r e d f o r i n Semester 93.2. The average grade p o i n t average of students who submitted at l e a s t one s e l f - t e s t (1.36) was h i g h e r than t h a t of those who d i d not submit any s e l f - t e s t s (1.19) . Table 6.1 a l s o shows d i f f e r e n c e s i n p e r s i s t e n c e p a t t e r n s of students sampled d u r i n g the r e s e a r c h p e r i o d . For example, of the 967 examination w r i t e r s , 818 were s e l f - t e s t w r i t e r s and 149 were not s e l f - t e s t w r i t e r s . Furthermore, of those 848 s e l f - t e s t w r i t e r s , 3 0 of them d i d not w r i t e any examination. T h i s was p o s s i b l e because s e l f - t e s t submission was not compulsory. I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o note t h a t there were 18 students who d i d not w r i t e any examination i n December, 1993, yet r e -r e g i s t e r e d i n Semester 94.1. Since these 18 students c o u l d t h e o r e t i c a l l y continue completing t h e i r courses i n Semester 94.1 without r e - r e g i s t e r i n g , two p o s s i b l e e x p l a n a t i o n s f o r t h i s were e i t h e r t hat those students were not aware of the r e g u l a t i o n (of the two examination chances f o r a s i n g l e t u i t i o n payment) or they r e - r e g i s t e r e d f o r d i f f e r e n t courses. Even though t h i s k i n d of behaviour ( r e g i s t e r i n g f o r new courses b e f o r e completing the f i r s t r e g i s t e r e d courses) was not recommended, no r e g u l a t i o n s e x i s t e d t h a t p r o h i b i t e d i t . U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka does not u s u a l l y monitor or t r a c k down i n d i v i d u a l r e g i s t r a t i o n r e c o r d s . C o n c e p t u a l l y , those who went on i n t h e i r study, whatever course they r e g i s t e r e d f o r , were d e f i n e d as p e r s i s t i n g . In g e n e r a l , the Table shows that 848 students p e r s i s t e d up to the 178 middle of the f i r s t semester (the d e a d l i n e f o r s e l f - t e s t submission, which was not compulsory) and 967 students ( r e g a r d l e s s of whether they submitted any s e l f - t e s t s ) p e r s i s t e d u n t i l the end of the f i r s t semester (the f i n a l e xamination). Furthermore, 745 students p e r s i s t e d u n t i l at l e a s t the b e g i n n i n g of the second semester ( r e - r e g i s t e r e d i n Semester 94.1) and 516 students even p e r s i s t e d u n t i l the be g i n n i n g of the t h i r d semester ( r e - r e g i s t e r e d i n Semester 94.2). Of those who r e - r e g i s t e r e d i n e i t h e r Semester 94.1 or 94.2, some d i d not w r i t e any examination. T h i s shows that measuring p e r s i s t e n c e through course completion ( s e l f - t e s t submission and examination attendance) and r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n g i v e s d i f f e r e n t r a t e s of p e r s i s t e n c e . A c c o r d i n g l y , t h i s study examined a l l three m a n i f e s t a t i o n s of p e r s i s t e n c e : s e l f - t e s t submission, examination attendance, and r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n . The t a b l e f u r t h e r shows t h a t there were no students who submitted and wrote a d d i t i o n a l s e l f - t e s t s and examinations f o r the 93.2 semester courses i n Semester 94.1 (Test2 and Exam2). T h i s means t h a t even though the d e f i n i t i o n (and the measurement) covered two f u l l o p e r a t i o n a l semesters, none of those sampled chose the o p t i o n of two semesters. T h e r e f o r e , the analyses of treatment e f f e c t s on s e l f - t e s t submission and examination attendance were based o n l y on data i n Semester 93.2. Furthermore, s i n c e no students extended t h e i r f i r s t semester courses over the two semesters, students who had lower percentages of s e l f - t e s t submission and examination attendance at the end of Semester 93.2 (w i t h i n one semester) 179 were d e f i n e d to be l e s s p e r s i s t e n t than those who had h i g h e r percentages. T h i s means, f o r example, students who wrote 75% of the number of examinations were l e s s p e r s i s t e n t than those who wrote 90% of the number of examinations they were supposed to w r i t e . " R e - r e g i s t r a t i o n i n the second semester without i n t e r r u p t i o n " was a measure of students' r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n immediately a f t e r t h e i r f i r s t semester, without t a k i n g time o f f . In t h i s case, because no students expanded the l e n g t h of t h e i r f i r s t semester (Semester 93.2) i n t o two c o n s e c u t i v e semesters (93.2 and 94.1), r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n without i n t e r r u p t i o n was based on data of r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n i n Semester 94.1. Students' r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n i n Semester 94.2 ( R E R E G 3 ) was t h e r e f o r e no l o n g e r r e l e v a n t to t h i s study. T h i s r e -r e g i s t r a t i o n i n Semester 94.2 data would have had been r e l e v a n t i f students had t r i e d to complete t h e i r Semester 93.2 courses i n Semester 94.1 (Examp). Since no students d i d so, r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n i n Semester 94.2 was then not c o n s i d e r e d an "immediate r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n " a f t e r t h e i r f i r s t semester. In o t h e r words, students who r e - r e g i s t e r e d i n Semester 94.2 were e i t h e r those who a l s o r e - r e g i s t e r e d i n Semester 94.1 (and t h e r e f o r e have been recorded as p e r s i s t i n g students by R E R E G 2 ) or those who took one semester o f f ( i . e . d i d not r e - r e g i s t e r i n Semester 94.1, nor d i d they t r y to complete t h e i r f i r s t semester course examinations). The a n a l y s i s of treatment e f f e c t s on r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n was t h e r e f o r e based o n l y on Semester 94.1 r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n data (REREG 2: 745 s t u d e n t s ) . P r e d i c t o r s of P e r s i s t e n c e and Grade Point Average 180 As d i s c u s s e d i n p r e v i o u s chapters, s e v e r a l authors claimed t h a t student p e r s i s t e n c e was i n f l u e n c e d by i n t e r r e l a t e d m u l t i p l e v a r i a b l e s i n c l u d i n g students' demographic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and s o c i a l backgrounds. E i g h t v a r i a b l e s i n a d d i t i o n to the experimental treatment t h a t warranted i n v e s t i g a t i n g were students' age, gender, m a r i t a l s t a t u s , number of c h i l d r e n , employment s t a t u s , h i g h e s t l e v e l of p r e v i o u s education, t i m e l a g between hig h s c h o o l g r a d u a t i o n and r e g i s t r a t i o n i n UT, and number of r e g i s t e r e d courses. These v a r i a b l e s , except the l a s t one, have been r e p o r t e d as somewhat s i g n i f i c a n t p r e d i c t o r s by p r e v i o u s s t u d i e s (Wihardit, 1988; M a r d i a n i , 1988; and Putra, 1992). Because those e i g h t v a r i a b l e s were a l l p o t e n t i a l p r e d i c t o r s of p e r s i s t e n c e , i t was important to f i r s t see i n d i v i d u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s between those p r e d i c t o r v a r i a b l e s and the f o u r outcome v a r i a b l e s ( s e l f - t e s t submission, examination attendance, r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n , and grade p o i n t average-GPA). Table 6.2 shows the Pearson C o r r e l a t i o n s between those e i g h t p r e d i c t o r v a r i a b l e s and the outcome v a r i a b l e s . As shown i n the t a b l e , the outcome v a r i a b l e s were three p r o x i e s of p e r s i s t e n c e , p l u s GPA which was i n c l u d e d i n the a n a l y s i s to show students' performance l e v e l . The t a b l e a l s o shows the i n t e r - c o r r e l a t i o n s among the f o u r outcome v a r i a b l e s . The r e s u l t s show th a t i n g e n e r a l , the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between p r e d i c t o r s and outcome v a r i a b l e s were weak, but 1 Table 6.2 Pearson C o r r e l a t i o n Between P r e d i c t o r V a r i a b l e s and Outcome V a r i a b l e s P r o x i e s of p e r s i s t e n c e GPA a V a r i a b l e s S e l f - t e s t Exam Rereg Treatment - . 01 - . 02 . 06 . 01 Age - . 09* - . 01 . 08* - . 13* Gender . 08* . 02 . 02 - . 05 M a r i t a l s t a t u s - . 06 . 00 . 05 - . 09* # of c h i l d r e n -.10** . 01 . 04 - . 05 Employment - . 05 - . 00 .09* - . 02 Previous educ - . 09* - . 09** . 01 . 07 Timelag - . 05 - . 00 . 08* -.10** # of courses -.09** -.11** - . 03 . 11** S e l f - t e s t 1.00** .46** .25** .15** Exam .46** 1.00** _ 4 4 * * . 13** Rereg .25** _ 4 4 * * 1.00** _ ]_7** GPA . 15** .13** . 17** 1.00** S i g n i f i c a n c e : * p_<.01 ** p_<.001 a B a s e d on data of examination w r i t e r s (wrote at l e a s t one examination) o n l y . younger students were s l i g h t l y more l i k e l y to submit s e l f -t e s t s and to r e - r e g i s t e r ; male students and those who had fewer c h i l d r e n were s l i g h t l y more l i k e l y to submit s e l f - t e s t s working students and those w i t h l o n g e r t i m e l a g (between hi g h s c h o o l g r a d u a t i o n and UT's r e g i s t r a t i o n ) were s l i g h t l y more l i k e l y t o r e - r e g i s t e r ; and students who had a somewhat lower l e v e l of p r e v i o u s e d u c a t i o n and fewer number of courses were s l i g h t l y more l i k e l y t o submit s e l f - t e s t s and to w r i t e 182 examinations. With r e g a r d t o GPA, the t a b l e shows t h a t younger students, unmarried students, students w i t h s h o r t e r t i m e l a g and those who had a somewhat h i g h e r number of r e g i s t e r e d courses were s l i g h t l y more l i k e l y to o b t a i n a somewhat h i g h e r GPA. These c o r r e l a t i o n s , however, while they were s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t , were g e n e r a l l y weak ( l e s s than .15) . The i n t e r - c o r r e l a t i o n s among the outcome v a r i a b l e s show that h i g h e r r a t e s of s e l f - t e s t submission were s i g n i f i c a n t l y c o r r e l a t e d t o h i g h e r r a t e s of examination attendance and a somewhat h i g h e r GPA. The i n t e r - c o r r e l a t i o n s among these outcome v a r i a b l e s were a l s o somewhat h i g h e r than those between the p r e d i c t o r s and the outcome v a r i a b l e s d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r . The r e s u l t s f u r t h e r suggest t h a t the h i g h e r s t u d e n t s 1 r a t e s of s e l f - t e s t submission, examination attendance, and GPA, the hi g h e r t h e i r l i k e l i h o o d to r e - r e g i s t e r . T h i s i n d i c a t e s t h a t students who were d i s c i p l i n e d enough to submit s e l f - t e s t s (even though i t was not compulsory) tended t o p e r s i s t u n t i l the end of the semester and to w r i t e examinations, t o o b t a i n a r e l a t i v e l y h i g h e r GPA, and to continue p e r s i s t i n g by r e -r e g i s t e r i n g i n the second semester. In r e g a r d t o the treatment, Table 6.2 shows t h a t treatment ( l i s t e d as v a r i a b l e Treatment) d i d not s i g n i f i c a n t l y c o r r e l a t e w i t h any p r o x i e s of p e r s i s t e n c e nor GPA. Even though t h i s i n d i c a t e s t h a t treatment d i d not have any s i g n i f i c a n t l i n e a r e f f e c t on p e r s i s t e n c e , i t was important t o f u r t h e r i n v e s t i g a t e how student performance ( i n terms of 183 p e r s i s t e n c e and GPA) i n the i n d i v i d u a l treatment groups (who r e c e i v e d f i v e d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s of treatment) compared t o those i n the c o n t r o l group (who d i d not r e c e i v e any treatment at a l l ) . T h i s i n v e s t i g a t i o n gave a deeper i n s i g h t i n t o the e f f e c t s of i n d i v i d u a l treatment l e v e l s on p e r s i s t e n c e . The f o l l o w i n g s e c t i o n p r e s e n t s t h i s a n a l y s i s . Treatment E f f e c t s on P e r s i s t e n c e Treatment e f f e c t on s e l f - t e s t submission. The f i r s t measure of p e r s i s t e n c e was whether students submitted s e l f -t e s t s of the r e g i s t e r e d courses i n the middle of the semesters. As s t a t e d e a r l i e r , s e l f - t e s t submission was measured by the percentage of s e l f - t e s t s submitted a c r o s s the two semesters out of the t o t a l number of r e g i s t e r e d courses. Since no students submitted any s e l f - t e s t s i n Semester 94.1, the s e l f - t e s t submission processed i n t h i s a n a l y s i s i n c l u d e d o n l y those submitted i n Semester 93.2. The h i g h e r percentages of s e l f - t e s t submission i n d i c a t e h i g h e r r a t i o s of s e l f - t e s t s submitted out of the t o t a l number of the r e g i s t e r e d courses. Therefore, students w i t h h i g h e r percentages were d e f i n e d t o be more p e r s i s t e n t than those w i t h lower ones. Tables 6.3 shows the means and standard d e v i a t i o n s of each group's s e l f - t e s t submission r a t e s . O v e r a l l , the student sample submitted almost 68 percent of the s e l f - t e s t s they were supposed t o submit. Except f o r students i n Group Peer (who r e c e i v e d a welcoming l e t t e r , study 184 Table 6.3 Percentages of S e l f - t e s t Submission by F i v e Treatment and One C o n t r o l Groups Group Means % SD n Welcome+Guide 68 . 71 40 73 178 Peer 62 .40 41 75 181 Encouragel 70 .45 38 15 183 Encourage2 71.19 37 71 170 Encourage3 70 .41 37 50 173 C o n t r o l 64 . 63 41 44 194 T o t a l sample 67 . 88 39 71 1079 guide brochure, and a l i s t of peer's names and ad d r e s s e s ) , students i n the treatment groups had h i g h e r averages of s e l f -t e s t submission than d i d those i n the c o n t r o l group. In order to see whether the group d i f f e r e n c e s were s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t , they were t e s t e d u s i n g SPSS/PC ANOVA w i t h c o v a r i a t e s . T h i s p a r t i c u l a r technique was chosen because of i t s a b i l i t y t o t e s t the pure treatment e f f e c t s on s e l f - t e s t submission. Table 6.4 p r e s e n t s the summary r e s u l t of t h i s a n a l y s i s . The t a b l e shows t h a t , a f t e r removing the v a r i a n c e s due to the p r e d i c t o r c o v a r i a t e s , the average r a t e s of s e l f - t e s t submission among the groups ( i n d i c a t e d by heading Treatments) were not s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t from each o t h e r . In ot h e r words, the treatment d i d not encourage students i n the 185 Table 6.4 The E f f e c t s of Treatment and E i g h t C o v a r i a t e s on S e l f - t e s t Submission at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka, Indonesia, 1993-1994, Semester 93.2-94.1 Source of Sum of df Mean F S i g n i f v a r i a n c e square square of F Main E f f e c t s 69344 . 76 13 5334 .21 3 . 52 p_<. . 001 Treatments 12193 .10 5 2438 .62 1 .61 Age 4733 . 17 1 4733 . 17 3 . 13 Gender 5643 . 12 1 5643 . 12 3 . 73 M a r i t a l s t a t u s 2165 . 96 1 2165 . 96 1 .43 # of c h i l d r e n 8825 . 17 1 8825 . 17 5 . 83 p< . 02 Employment 627 . 84 1 627 . 84 .42 Previous educ 3536 .36 1 3536 .36 2 . 34 Timelag 3020 . 32 1 3020 .32 1 . 10 # of courses 13967 . 67 1 13967 . 67 9 . 23 p< . 003 E x p l a i n e d 69344 . 76 13 5334 .21 3 . 52 £ < • . 001 R e s i d u a l 1612315 .43 1065 1513 . 91 T o t a l 16 81660 .20 1078 1559 . 98 treatment groups t o submit h i g h e r percentages of s e l f - t e s t s than those i n the c o n t r o l group. T h i s means th a t none of the f i v e treatment l e v e l s g i v e n to the students had any s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t on t h e i r s e l f - t e s t submission; the c o v a r i a t e s e x p l a i n e d more v a r i a n c e i n the s e l f - t e s t submission than d i d the treatment alone. T h i s shows t h a t i f the a n a l y s i s had not i n c l u d e d i n f l u e n c e of the c o v a r i a t e s , even l e s s v a r i a n c e s of the s e l f - t e s t submission would have had been accounted f o r . 186 The t a b l e f u r t h e r shows that of a l l o t h e r p r e d i c t o r v a r i a b l e s , o n l y number of c h i l d r e n (p_<.02) and number of r e g i s t e r e d courses (p_<.003) came c l o s e t o showing any s i g n i f i c a n t r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h s e l f - t e s t submission. In ot h e r words, students who were younger, male, had fewer number of c h i l d r e n and took a fewer number of r e g i s t e r e d courses, were more l i k e l y t o submit h i g h e r percentages of s e l f - t e s t s . Treatment e f f e c t on examination attendance. The second proxy of p e r s i s t e n c e was examination attendance which measured whether students p e r s i s t e d l o n g enough to complete the f i n a l examination of t h e i r r e g i s t e r e d courses w i t h i n the a l l o w a b l e time under a s i n g l e t u i t i o n payment ( i . e . Semester 93.2 and 94.1; from September, 1993 to June, 1994). As d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r , examination attendance was measured as the percentage of examinations w r i t t e n by students out of the t o t a l r e q u i r e d by t h e i r r e g i s t e r e d courses. As i n s e l f - t e s t submission, no students d e l a y e d t h e i r examinations u n t i l June, 1994. Ther e f o r e , the number of examinations processed i n the a n a l y s i s i n c l u d e d o n l y those w r i t t e n i n December, 1993. Tables 6.5 and 6.6 present the means and standard d e v i a t i o n s of each group's examination attendance r a t e s and the r e s u l t s of the ANOVA a n a l y s i s . Table 6.5 shows that students on average wrote over 85 percent of examinations r e q u i r e d . T h i s a l s o shows t h a t , except f o r students i n Group Peer (who r e c e i v e d a welcoming 187 Table 6.5 Percentages of Examination Attendance by F i v e Treatment and One C o n t r o l Groups Group Means % SD n Welcome+Guide 88 45 30 82 178 Peer 82 38 36 36 181 Encouragel 84 42 34 50 183 Encourage2 90 56 28 00 170 Encourage3 85 20 34 15 173 C o n t r o l 84 40 35 57 194 T o t a l sample 85 35 35 57 1079 l e t t e r , a study guide brochure and a l i s t of peer's names and a d d r e s s e s ) , students i n the treatment groups had h i g h e r means of examination attendance than those i n the c o n t r o l group. As w i t h the a n a l y s i s of s e l f - t e s t submission, SPSS/PC ANOVA with c o v a r i a t e s t e s t e d whether these d i f f e r e n c e s were s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t (Table 6.6). Table 6.6 shows t h a t , a f t e r removing the v a r i a n c e due to the p r e d i c t o r c o v a r i a t e s , the mean r a t e s of examination attendance among a l l groups (TREATMENTS) were not s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t from each other. In o t h e r words, as on s e l f - t e s t submission, the treatments d i d not have s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t s on examination attendance. T h i s t a b l e a l s o shows t h a t o n l y p r e v i o u s e d u c a t i o n (p_<.02) and number of r e g i s t e r e d courses (p_<.001) were s i g n i f i c a n t l y r e l a t e d to the 188 Table 6.6 The E f f e c t s of Treatment and E i g h t C o v a r i a t e s on Examination Attendance at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka, Indonesia, 1993-1994. Semester 93.2-94.1 Source Of Sum of Mean S i g v a r i a t i o n squares df square F of F Main E f f e c t s 33957 . 15 13 2612 . 09 2 .43 E< 004 Treatments 8296 .10 5 1659 .22 1 .54 Age 75 .33 1 75 . 33 . 07 Gender 861 .46 1 861 .46 . 80 M a r i t a l s t a t u s 209 . 58 1 209 . 58 2 . 00 # of c h i l d r e n 921 . 13 1 921 . 13 . 86 Employment 10 . 00 1 10 . 10 . 01 Previous educ 7414 . 74 1 7414 . 74 6 . 90 E< 02 Timelag 344 . 71 1 344 . 71 .32 # of courses 13295 . 44 1 13295 .44 12 .37 B< 001 E x p l a i n e d 33957 . 15 13 2612 .09 2 .43 E< 004 R e s i d u a l 1144402 . 76 1065 1074 . 56 T o t a l 1178359 . 91 1078 1093 . 10 r a t e of examination attendance: students who had a somewhat lower l e v e l of p r e v i o u s e d u c a t i o n and fewer number of courses were more l i k e l y t o w r i t e h i g h e r percentages of examination. Treatment e f f e c t s on r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n . The o t h e r measurement of student p e r s i s t e n c e i n t h i s study was r e -r e g i s t r a t i o n f o r students' second semester without any i n t e r r u p t i o n . As d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r , UT's p o l i c y a l l o w s students t o break t h e i r f i r s t semester's course l o a d a c r o s s 189 two semesters (Semester 93.2 and 94.1 wit h examination times i n December, 1993 and June, 1994). Th e r e f o r e , students might r e - r e g i s t e r f o r t h e i r second semester i n e i t h e r Semester 94.1 (immediately f o l l o w i n g the f i r s t semester) or Semester 94.2 and s t i l l be c a t e g o r i z e d as c o n t i n u i n g without i n t e r r u p t i o n . However, data show t h a t students who d i d not complete t h e i r r e g i s t e r e d courses i n Semester 93.2 (the semester of f i r s t r e g i s t r a t i o n ) d i d not complete them i n Semester 94.1 e i t h e r (the second semester, when students were s t i l l allowed to w r i t e the examination without r e - p a y i n g t u i t i o n f e e s ) . No students wrote examinations of the non-completed courses i n June 1994. T h i s means t h a t none of the student sample expanded t h e i r s t u d y i n g time i n t o two semesters. Thus, students who r e - r e g i s t e r e d i n Semester 94.1 were d e f i n e d t o be c o n t i n u i n g t h e i r s t u d i e s without i n t e r r u p t i o n and those who d i d not were d e f i n e d as suspending t h e i r r e g i s t r a t i o n s t a t u s . A c c o r d i n g l y , r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n as the proxy of p e r s i s t e n c e without i n t e r r u p t i o n was based o n l y on students' r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n i n Semester 94.1, the semester immediately f o l l o w i n g t h e i r f i r s t r e g i s t r a t i o n . Table 6.7 shows the means and standard d e v i a t i o n s of r e -r e g i s t r a t i o n r a t e s f o r the c o n t r o l and experimental groups. The t a b l e shows t h a t on average 67 percent of the student sample co n t i n u e d to t h e i r second semester without i n t e r r u p t i o n . T h i s r a t e was b e t t e r than UT's g e n e r a l r a t e s i n the p r e v i o u s years (see Table 1.2) when l e s s than 60 percent of new e n r o l l e e s continued t o t h e i r second semester 190 Table 6.7 Percentages of R e - r e g i s t r a t i o n by F i v e Treatment and One C o n t r o l Groups Group Means % SD n Welcome+Guide 63 39 48 31 178 Peer 65 57 47 64 181 Encouragel 63 64 48 23 183 Encourage2 71 10 45 46 170 Encourage3 74 43 43 75 173 C o n t r o l 68 00 46 76 194 T o t a l sample 67 60 46 82 1079 immediately f o l l o w i n g t h e i r f i r s t one. In g e n e r a l , the t a b l e shows t h a t the means of r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n of students i n treatment groups Encourage2 and Encourage3 (who r e c e i v e d the two h i g h e s t l e v e l s of c o n t a c t : encouragements to r e - r e g i s t e r ) were g r e a t e r than t h a t of those i n the c o n t r o l group. In o r d e r t o t e s t the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the treatment e f f e c t s on r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n , data were analyzed u s i n g the SPSS/PC L o g i s t i c R e gression method. L o g i s t i c r e g r e s s i o n i s a s t a t i s t i c a l technique t h a t i s able to analyze a dichotomous dependent v a r i a b l e which has o n l y two v a l u e s ( r e - r e g i s t e r e d or not r e - r e g i s t e r e d ) . T h i s technique r e q u i r e s f a r fewer assumptions about the n o r m a l i t y of data v a r i a n c e s than, f o r example, d i s c r i m i n a n t a n a l y s i s which allows d i r e c t p r e d i c t i o n of group membership (Norusis, 1990b). F u r t h e r , t h i s technique 191 i s able t o show the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the e f f e c t s of i n d i v i d u a l treatment l e v e l s on the dichotomous dependent v a r i a b l e . Table 6.8 shows the r e s u l t s of the l o g i s t i c r e g r e s s i o n a n a l y s i s . Table 6.8 The E f f e c t s of Treatment and E i g h t C o v a r i a t e s on Re-r e g i s t r a t i o n at U n i v e r s i t a s Terbuka, Indonesia, 1993-1994, Semester 93.1-94.2 V a r i a b l e Standard Wald df S i g Exp(B) E r r o r S t a t s Treatments 6 . 58 5 Welcome+Guide .22 .86 1 .81 Peer .22 .34 1 .87 E n c o u r a g e l .22 .64 1 .84 Encourage2 .23 .29 1 .13 Encourage3 .23 1 .44 1 — 1.32 Age . 03 . 72 1 — . 97 Gender . 16 1 .39 1 1.21 M a r i t a l s t a t u s . 22 . 14 1 . 91 # of c h i l d r e n . 10 . 12 1 1. 03 Employment . 16 5 .47 1 p_< . 03 1.46 Previous e d u c a t i o n . 09 . 17 1 1. 04 Timelag . 03 2 . 52 1 1. 06 # of courses . 06 1 . 02 1 . 94 Constant . 79 1 .47 1 The v a l u e s of the Exp(B) column can be i n t e r p r e t e d as a measure of a s s o c i a t i o n which approximates the l i k e l i h o o d of an outcome to be present among one of the treatment group compared to the c o n t r o l group (Hosmer and Lemeshow, 1989). For example, the v a l u e of Exp(B) of employment s t a t u s 192 (Employment) = 1.46 i n d i c a t e s t h a t r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n o ccurs approximately 1.5 times as o f t e n among working students than i t does among non-working students i n the sample. The Exp(B) v a l u e s of l i s t i n g s under "Treatments" show the i n d i v i d u a l e f f e c t of each treatment l e v e l on r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n compared t o the c o n t r o l group. They show the i n c r e a s e (or decrease) i n the p r o b a b i l i t y of students' r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n as a r e s u l t of each l e v e l of the treatment. For example, the Exp(B) v a l u e of treatment group Encourage3 (which r e c e i v e d the hi g h e s t l e v e l of contacts) was 1.32. T h i s means th a t the treatment i n c r e a s e d the p r o b a b i l i t y of students i n Group Encourage3 t o r e - r e g i s t e r 1.32 times h i g h e r than i f they d i d not r e c e i v e any treatment at a l l ( C o n t r o l ) . In g e n e r a l , the r e s u l t s show th a t o n l y the treatment l e v e l which i n c l u d e d a l l i n t e r v e n t i o n s , p l u s two encouragement l e t t e r s t o r e - r e g i s t e r (Encourage3) s l i g h t l y i n c r e a s e d the p r o b a b i l i t y of r e -r e g i s t r a t i o n . T h i s means that lower l e v e l of treatment d i d not have much i n f l u e n c e on r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n . Furthermore, even though the treatments i n c r e a s e d the p r o b a b i l i t y of r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n of students i n group Encourage3, the i n c r e a s e was not s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a r i t . The Wald s t a t i s t i c v a l u e s t h a t t e s t the s i g n i f i c a n c e l e v e l of i n d i v i d u a l c o e f f i c i e n t s suggest t h a t none of the experimental i n t e r v e n t i o n s had a s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t on r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n . The s i g n i f i c a n c e l e v e l of the Wald S t a t i s t i c s p r e s e n t e d i n column " s i g " show th a t none of the i n d i v i d u a l treatment's c o e f f i c i e n t s were s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t . 193 Of a l l o t h e r p r e d i c t o r v a r i a b l e s e n t e r e d i n t o the l o g i s t i c model, the o n l y s i g n i f i c a n t c o n t r i b u t o r s t o the e x p l a n a t i o n of students' a c t u a l r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n was employment s t a t u s (p_<.03) • T h i s suggests t h a t working students were more l i k e l y t o r e - r e g i s t e r than were non-working students. Treatment E f f e c t s on Grade Point Average Grade P o i n t Average (GPA) was measured as an a d d i t i o n a l element of student p r o g r e s s . Even though GPA does not d i r e c t l y measure p e r s i s t e n c e , i t g i v e s i n f o r m a t i o n r e g a r d i n g students' l e v e l s of achievement, which i n t u r n , was found to be s i g n i f i c a n t l y c o r r e l a t e d to students' d e c i s i o n s t o r e -r e g i s t e r (see Table 6.2). GPA was c a l c u l a t e d based on students' examination grades (A=4, B=3, C=2, D=l, E or f a i l = 0 ) times the t o t a l courses' c r e d i t s d i v i d e d by the t o t a l earned c r e d i t . For example, students who wrote two examinations of t h r e e c r e d i t courses and o b t a i n e d grades C (or 2) and D (or 1) would have the GPA of ((2x3)+(1x3))/6 = 1.5. Students who f a i l e d i n a l l t h e i r examinations and who d i d not w r i t e any examinations at a l l would have a grade p o i n t average of zero. To exclude students who d i d not w r i t e examination at a l l (had GPA = 0), the a n a l y s i s of treatment e f f e c t s on GPA was based o n l y on data from examination w r i t e r s (which s t i l l i n c l u d e d students who had GPA = 0 due to f a i l u r e , i f any). The means of GPA of each group are p r e s e n t e d i n Table 6.9. 194 Table 6.9 Grade P o i n t Average by F i v e Treatment and One C o n t r o l Groups Group Means SD n Welcome+Guide 1. 34 .40 164 Peer 1. 38 .45 156 Encouragel 1. 32 .46 164 Encourage2 1. 36 .39 159 Encourage3 1. 32 .36 154 C o n t r o l 1. 30 .40 170 T o t a l sample 1. 34 .41 967 a S c a l e : 1 - 4 (l=Low Pass, 2 = Pass, 3=Good, 4=Very Good) Table 6.9 shows t h a t o v e r a l l , students i n the f i v e treatment groups o b t a i n e d s l i g h t l y h i g h e r means of GPA than those i n the c o n t r o l group. The t a b l e a l s o shows t h a t o v e r a l l , students o n l y o b t a i n e d l e s s than 1.5 GPA (on 1-4 scale) which means a low pass. These f i g u r e s would seem u n b e l i e v a b l y low to western educators. However, these were q u i t e normal f i g u r e s f o r UT which d e f i n e s D as pass. Students, however, u s u a l l y improve t h e i r grades i n the subsequent semesters as recommended by the u n i v e r s i t y . Again, SPSS/PC ANOVA wit h c o v a r i a t e a n a l y s i s was used t o t e s t whether the d i f f e r e n c e s among the groups' performances were s i g n i f i c a n t (Table 6.10). Table 6.10 shows t h a t the average GPA of treatments groups were not s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t from each o t h e r . T h i s 195 Table 6.10 The E f f e c t s of Treatment and E i g h t C o v a r i a t e s on GPA Source Sum of Mean S i g n i f of v a r i a t i o n squares df square F - 1 of F Main E f f e c t s 9 .46 13 . 73 4 . 49 p_< . 0 01 Treatments .58 5 .12 72 Age 3 . 78 1 3 . 78 23 . 35 p_< . 001 Gender 1 .20 1 1.20 7 . 43 P< . 02 M a r i t a l s t a t u s . 01 1 . 01 07 # of c h i l d r e n . 01 1 . 01 05 — Employment . 02 1 . 02 12 Previous educ 2 .36 1 2 .36 14 . 59 p< . 001 Timelag 1 . 92 1 1 . 92 11 . 83 p_< . 002 # of courses 1 .48 1 1.48 9 . 13 P< . 004 E x p l a i n e d 9 .46 13 . 73 4 . 49 p< . 0 01 R e s i d u a l 151 . 97 938 . 16 T o t a l 161 .432 951 . 170 means t h a t , as on p e r s i s t e n c e , treatment d i d not have any s i g n i f i c a n t d i r e c t e f f e c t on GPA. The t a b l e a l s o shows that age, gender, p r e v i o u s education, t i m e l a g and number of courses were s i g n i f i c a n t l y r e l a t e d to students' GPAs ( a l l but gender at p_<.004) . These r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n d i c a t e t h at students who were younger, female, unmarried, had a somewhat h i g h e r l e v e l of p r e v i o u s education, had r e l a t i v e l y s h o r t e r t i m e l a g between high s c h o o l g r a d u a t i o n and UT r e g i s t r a t i o n , and had a somewhat hi g h e r number of r e g i s t e r e d courses were more l i k e l y t o o b t a i n h i g h e r GPA. I t was i n t e r e s t i n g t o note (and hard t o ex p l a i n ) t h a t w hile h i g h e r numbers of courses were c o r r e l a t e d t o hig h e r 196 GPAs, they were c o r r e l a t e d to lower l e v e l of p e r s i s t e n c e ; and, on the o t h e r hand, h i g h e r GPAs were s i g n i f i c a n t l y c o r r e l a t e d to h i g h e r l e v e l s of p e r s i s t e n c e . Study Program and P e r s i s t e n c e One o t h e r independent v a r i a b l e that warranted i n v e s t i g a t i n g was study program. T h i s v a r i a b l e was a c a t e g o r i c a l v a r i a b l e and t h e r e f o r e was not a p p r o p r i a t e to i n c l u d e i n e i t h e r the ANOVA or L o g i s t i c R e g r e s s i o n .analyses as a c o v a r i a t e . One-way a n a l y s i s of v a r i a n c e was conducted to see whether there were r e l a t i o n s h i p s between p e r s i s t e n c e and study program. Table 6.11 shows t h a t the h i g h e s t e n r o l l m e n t s were i n the S t a t e A d m i n i s t r a t i o n and Management programs (408 and 471); and t h a t study programs i n which students were e n r o l l e d r e l a t e d t o a l l p r o x i e s of p e r s i s t e n c e (p<.02, p_<.03 and p_<.001)) but not to GPA. Furthermore, between group d i f f e r e n c e s were found o n l y i n the r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n proxy and between students i n - t h e S t a t e A d m i n i s t r a t i o n program and the Management program (p_<.05). Although i t appears t h a t the d i f f e r e n c e i n r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n between students i n the S t a t e A d m i n i s t r a t i o n (76%) and i n the Mathematics (40%) programs was the l a r g e s t , t h i s d i f f e r e n c e was not s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t . T h i s was due to the small number of students (10) i n the Mathematics program compared to those i n the State 197 Table 6.11 R e l a t i o n s h i p s Between P e r s i s t e n c e , GPA and Study Program P r o x i e s of p e r s i s t e n c e Study program n GPA a S e l f - t e s t " Exam b • R e r e g c State Admin 408 70 89 88 99 7 5 . 9 8 1 36 Business Admin 91 67 16 81 10 61 . 54 1 41 Tax Admin 31 71 79 83 23 64 . 52 1 35 Economics 77 58 61 85 92 61 . 04 1 35 Management 471 66 82 84 05 63 . 6 9 1 29 A p p l i e d S t a t i s t i c s ' 14 39 37 64 29 57 . 14 1 36 Mathematics 10 46 33 68 00 40 . 00 1 48 T o t a l 1102 67 38 85 35 67 . 60 1 34 F - r a t i o s 2 90 2 57 4 . 01 1 49 S i g n i f i c a n c e of F E< 01 E< 03 E< . 001 f^Based on examination w r i t e r s data only. Values r e f e r t o percentages of s e l f - t e s t s submitted and examinations w r i t t e n by students. c V a l u e s r e f e r t o percentages of students who r e - r e g i s t e r e d . A d m i n i s t r a t i o n program (408); the Mathematics program d i d not o f f e r much v a r i a t i o n f o r c o r r e l a t i o n . Furthermore, i t was i n t e r e s t i n g to note t h a t students i n the S t a t e A d m i n i s t r a t i o n program submitted and wrote the hi g h e s t percentage of s e l f - t e s t examinations; the S t a t e A d m i n i s t r a t i o n program a l s o had the h i g h e s t percentage of r e -r e g i s t e r e d students (76%). On the oth e r hand, students i n the A p p l i e d S t a t i s t i c s program submitted and wrote the lowest percentage of s e l f - t e s t s and examinations, and had the lowest percentage of r e - r e g i s t r a t i o n . F i n a l l y , even though there 198 were o v e r a l l d i f f e r e n c e s i n s e l f - t e s t submission and examination attendance, no s i g n i f i c a n t two-group d i f f e r e n c e s were i d e n t i f i e d . O v e r a l l , Table 6.11 i n d i c a t e s t h a t student p e r s i s t e n c e ( i n a l l t h r e e p r o x i e s ) was s i g n i f i c a n t l y r e l a t e d to the study program b e i n g s t u d i e d . T h i s was understandable s i n c e the k i n d of program b e i n g s t u d i e d determines the l e v e l of d i f f i c u l t y and requirements of course work. Summary of Treatment E f f e c t s on P e r s i s t e n c e and GPA To summarize the r e s u l t s of a l l analyses of treatment e f f e c t s on p e r s i s t e n c e p r o x i e s and GPA p r e s e n t e d e a r l i e r , Table 6.12 shows students' performances by groups and the s i g n i f i c a n t p r e d i c t o r s of the measured p e r s i s t e n c e and GPA. The summary t a b l e shows t h a t even though t h e r e were d i f f e r e n c e s i n groups' performances ( i n terms of t h e i r p e r s i s t e n c e l e v e l s and GPA), those d i f f e r e n c e s were not s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t . The s i g n i f i c a n c e l e v e l s show t h a t treatment d i d not s i g n i f i c a n t l y a f f e c t any of the three measures of student p e r s i s t e n c e nor GPA. V a r i a b l e s t h a t were i d e n t i f i e d t o have g r e a t e r impact on students' p e r s i s t e n c e were age, gender, number of c h i l d r