Predictors of Career and Technical Degree Completion Among Students Enrolled in Virginia's Community Colleges




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Gary W. Kuhne


Academic Integration, Background Characteristics, Career and Technical Education (CTE), College Dropout, Community College Degree Completion


Community College Leadership | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Education Economics | Higher Education | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education


College dropout in America is a problem that is growing in significance. With nearly 54% of students not completing their degrees at four-year institutions and a 70% dropout rate at community colleges, the U.S. is losing its footing in the worldwide educational arena and global workforce competitiveness (Hira, 2009; “Rebuilding America’s,” 2011; Weissmann, 2012). The purpose of this study was to examine predictors of career and technical education (CTE) degree completion at Virginia’s Community Colleges. The information gained may be valuable for educational leaders charged with increasing student completion rates. A predictive correlational design was employed to examine how accurately measurable constructs predicted degree completion rates for students enrolled in CTE associate’s degree, diploma, and certificate programs of study. The predictor variables were defined as students’ background characteristics (age, gender, race, parents’ education level, and income level) and academic integration (enrollment status, prior dual enrollment, remedial coursework, and first semester GPA). The criterion variable was degree completion rates for students. Student records (n = 4,028) were obtained using the VCCS Student Information System (SIS). These archived records consisted of first-time, CTE program placed students enrolled in the fall 2010 semester. Data were analyzed using logistic regression. Results suggested that race, parents’ education level, enrollment status, prior dual enrollment, and first semester GPA were significant predictors of CTE degree completion. Recommendations for further research included investigating students who changed majors, examining the impact of income for all students, determining the impact of prior college coursework aside from dual enrollment, and looking into CTE as a cohort model.

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