Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy





First Advisor

Linda S. Hagedorn


This study’s purpose is to examine how institutional intervention and college readiness impact GED (General Education Development) credentialed students’ intent to persist at community college. Specifically, the study examines a) differences in background information between students possessing GED credentials vs. traditional high school diploma regarding intent to persist at community college, b) factors influencing persistence, and c) possession of a GED credential’s impact upon intention to persist.

Three theories were foundation of this study’s conceptual framework including 1) Knowles’ (1984) andragogy, Ryan & Deci’s (2000) self-determination, and Ajzen’s (1991) planned behavior. The theory of andragogy informs institutional representatives regarding adult learner need. Self-determination theory reveals GED credential students’ life situations and their need for autonomy resulting in academic persistence. Theory of planned behavior reminds administrators that control and volition must include learning environments conducive to task accomplishment.

This study employed a quantitative method using the 2014 SENSE survey. Student demographics including background, socioeconomic, and enrollment patterns were analyzed through descriptive statistics. Comparison between students possessing GED credentials and traditional high diplomas was accomplished using t-test and crosstabulation methods. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to assess the probability to which college readiness and institutional intervention predicts students’ intent to persist in community college.

The results indicate a greater percentage of GED credentialed students were non-traditional aged, married, had children living in the home, had a greater instance of self-reported lower grades, and were first generation students. Results of independent samples t-tests and cross-tabulation tests indicated statistically significant difference in age, self-reported high school GPA, college readiness, and institutional intervention, between students who possessed GED credentials vs. those who earned a traditional high school diploma. The logistic regression analysis revealed that gender, race/ethnicity, 1st generation enrollment status, student enrolled in at least one developmental class, advising, and faculty support were statistically significant factors on GED credentialed students’ intent to persist.

Community college faculty intervention has great impact upon intention to persist for GED credentialed students. This study demonstrated the importance of syllabi containing clear student expectations, student-centered pedagogical method, and direction to obtain instructor assistance. Further research would benefit GED credentialed community college students.


Copyright Owner

David Carson



File Format


File Size

164 pages