A Novel Low-Cost Indicator of Student Perseverance and Its Association with College Student Academic Performance

  •  David Yerger    
  •  Amber Stephenson    


Within the research literature investigating how student characteristics related to perseverance impact academic outcomes, leading scholars have encouraged the development of new measurements, both survey and non-survey based. We introduce here an innovative non-survey-based measurement, derived from common higher education variables, that reflects the perseverance construct. The created perseverance proxy is easily created and explainable to audiences with minimal statistical background. The variable was used to analyze academic outcomes at a mid-sized public university in the United States. The perseverance proxy strongly positively associates with academic outcomes, as measured both by GPA and odds of academic probation, in multivariate analysis across both genders. The perseverance proxy explains more of the variation in academic outcomes than any of the cognitive and financial aid variables used in the analysis. The technique for constructing the perseverance proxy is easily replicated at any college or university having data on students’ high school ranking and college admission exam scores.

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