Midterms key for retention

Heather Scarlett

Freshmen success in college hinges on first semester exam grades

Freshmen midterm grades may predict whether students will stay at Kent State past their first year, according to a study conducted by the university.

Wayne Schneider, senior institutional research information officer in the Office of Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, conducted the study from 1999 to 2003 trying to find what drives retention and how students change academically from high school to college.

“(It was found that) first fall midterm GPA is what drives the retention,” Schneider said.

Having to deal with midterms is one of the first big academic changes that new freshmen have to handle, he said.

“That is their first taste of exams and evaluations,” Schneider said.

Freshman architecture major Eleno Ramos said he thinks midterms are just to see what you have learned so far and aren’t a big deal to him.

The research conducted contained only freshmen grades because they are the only students with reported midterm grades, Schneider said.

Because of the results of the study, Schneider decided this was a clear area where all freshmen students on campus could be affected, he said.

A campus-wide campaign was initiated last fall to get freshmen motivated to do well on their first college exams. The campaign is also in effect for this semester.

“The number of students that had above a 2.0 GPA was the highest since 1999,” he said of the efforts of the campaign.

Schneider said this year’s campaign will include:

• Having faculty stress to their students the importance of midterms.

• Putting banners in the Student Center: one at five weeks, at three weeks and at one week before midterms.

• Sending postcards to commuter students and to the families of commuter students encouraging them to talk to the student about midterms.

Contact academic affairs reporter Heather Scarlett at [email protected].