ENGAGEMENT, ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT, AND GRIT AS COMPONENTS OF COLLEGE FRESHMAN SUCCESS
Johnson, Janine L.
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The purpose of this study was to examine the association between freshman first semester retention and intelligence, involvement, and the non-cognitive construct of grit. There was also interest in illustrating these relationships in freshmen students enrolled in the West Texas A&M University Department of Agricultural Sciences. The best known predictors of student retention are academic performance and grades (Burton & Ramist, 2001). However, with these variables yielding low and moderate correlations, the contribution of non-cognitive factors have been considered (Chang, 2014). Specifically, grit has been touted as a potential tool for predicting student success (Credé et al., 2017). Grit measures passion and perseverance over long terms goals (Duckworth et al., 2007). The target population was the 2018/2019 freshman cohort, with a specific interest in capturing agricultural science majors. Data for the grit and involvement portions of this study was collected via a survey instrument, administered both online and in person. Duckworth’s (2007) 12 question grit scale determined grit and academic information was obtained through the institution. The study yielded 342 qualifying responses. Responses indicated grit and involvement were not significantly associated with retention between the first and second semester. ACT scores were significantly correlated with retention (r = .178, p < .01). Grit expressed a positive, significant correlation to both high school GPA and first semester GPA.