A study of student characteristics, attitudes, and attrition from secretarial science programs in seven selected two-year post-secondary educational institutions in Alberta Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/qz20sw252

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  • Mounting inflationary economic pressures and the obvious spiralling costs of education, at all levels, has drastically augmented public, administrative, and government concern regarding the effectiveness of many educational training programs. Secretarial Science, which is designed to provide occupational-level training represents such a program. Therefore, this study was conducted in order to gather pertinent information about secretarial science students who attend post-secondary non-university institutions in Alberta. Specifically, an attempt was made to: 1. identify student characteristics and attitudes. 2. identify differences between students attending "public colleges" and "other institutions." 3. determine whether or not identifiable differences exist between secretarial dropout students and secretarial persister students. 4. determine the reasons why secretarial science students withdraw from the secretarial programs. The sample population consisted of 308 secretarial science students enrolled in seven institutions in Alberta--three public colleges, a technical institute, an agricultural/vocational college, and two vocational centers. The data emanated from the administration of the College Auto- Biographical Inventory, a 110-question forced-choice personal and attitudinal inventory and from follow-up data collected on withdrawal students. Statistical treatment included frequency counts, percentage distributions, chi square analysis, and discriminant function analysis. The results of the findings indicated that 99 percent of the students surveyed were females with an average age of 21.84 years-- two- thirds were single. One-half of the students came from rural areas or small towns, and four-fifths had attended a small high school. Nine out of ten students had taken at least one "business or commercial" course during high school. Three-quarters of the students entered college within a year of completing high school. Two-fifths of the students lived within 10 miles of the institution they attended. As for attitudes, four-fifths of the students indicated that they had family support for choosing secretarial training. At least two-thirds of the students reported positive responses to their decision to attend a college for their post-secondary education, to enroll in a secretarial program, and to attend that particular institution. A chi square analysis of the data identified 18 variables (15 personal characteristics and 3 attitudinal) which differentiated between "public colleges" students and "other institutions" students. An additional 18 variables (12 attitudinal and 6 personal characteristics) were also identified which differentiated between secretarial dropout students and secretarial persister students. A stepwise discriminant function analysis identified 12 variables which differentiated between dropout and persister students and produced two Discriminant Function Coefficient equations which accurately categorized 82 percent of the students into either the persister or dropout groups. The major conclusions reached indicated that: 1) Alberta secretarial science students share a high percentage of common personal characteristics and attitudes with their peers across Canada and the United States. 2) employment, transfer, and domestic reasons accounted for one-half of the attrition students, although 12 distinct attrition categories were identified.
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