Date of Award

Winter 1993

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Dana Burnett

Committee Member

James Calliote

Committee Member

Garrett McAuliffe

Committee Member

J. Worth Pickering

Committee Member

Jane Hager


This study identified a set of noncognitive variables, indicators of attitudes, habits, and beliefs as they relate to an individual's educational pursuits, in the form of Probation and Attrition Scores, to be used as alternatives to the exclusive use of cognitive variables to identify freshman student-athletes who are at risk of academic difficulty or attrition. Data were collected at an urban, public university of approximately 17,000 students using the University's Freshman Survey, an instrument that combines a number of scales designed to measure specific sets of noncognitive indicators.

Noncognitive survey data, as well as demographic information and cognitive admissions data, for 294 student-athletes from the incoming classes of 1988 through 1991 were compared with indicators of collegiate academic success; grade point average at the conclusion of their freshman year and retention status into their sophomore year. Responses on the Freshman Survey to be used in the calculation of the Probation and Attrition Scores were first identified. A review of these responses indicated a pattern of emphasis on the social and nonacademic aspects of high school and college for student-athletes. The primary method of statistical analysis used in this study was discriminant analysis. As expected, the Probation and Attrition Scores proved to be the most successful in predicting academic difficulty and attrition of freshman student-athletes, when compared to the predictions provided by either demographic or cognitive variables alone, or any combinations of those variables.

It appears that a set of noncognitive predictors for academic difficulty and attrition, defined as Probation and Attrition Scores, can be statistically produced and, given those predictors, subsequent incoming at-risk student-athletes can be identified. Predictive ability can be enhanced through the inclusion of noncognitive indicators along with the cognitive data required by the NCAA for the determination of freshman athletic eligibility, thus improving the possibilities for the academic success and retention through graduation of college student-athletes.


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