Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


STEM Education & Professional Studies

Committee Director

Jill E. Stefaniak

Committee Member

Dana Burnett

Committee Member

Tian Luo

Committee Member

Tisha Paredes


The purpose of this study was to determine if the National Survey of Student Engagement indicators (NSSE), High-Impact Practices, demographic variables and non-involvement factors can significantly predict student achievement, satisfaction, and retention. The sample included data from 493 freshmen from a large public university in the Southeastern United States who participated in the National Survey of Student Engagement in 2015 and 2016. This study seeks to benefit instructional designers, educators, and educational institutions to maximize their resources and efforts to achieve maximum achievement, retention, and satisfaction.

The study concluded that achievement is highly correlated with higher-order learning, learning strategies, effective teaching practices, quality of interactions, and ethnicity. Retention is highly correlated with effective teaching practices. A positive student experience is highly correlated with quality of interactions and a supportive environment. A student being willing to choose the same school again is highly correlated with quality of interactions and a supportive environment.

These findings can guide institutions of higher learning in the use of limited resources to maximize student retention, achievement, and satisfaction. An institution can choose to focus on achievement, retention, student satisfaction, or all three outcomes, depending on the type and allocation of institutional resources.


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