Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Richard Hammett


Honors programs (HP) play an important role in defining the organizational culture of colleges and universities. In the college selected for this study, 30% of its honors students attrite to nonhonors programs, usually due to subpar grade point averages (GPAs). Using Sternberg's augmented theory of successful intelligence, a mixed-methods approach was employed to better understand how selection metrics related to HP student success. The ex post facto design included a 5-year (2009-2014) census sample of 375 HP students. Correlation and regression analyses were used to examine the relationship between college GPA and HP admissions metrics such as standardized test scores and measures of high school quality, schedule strength, rank, and GPA. The quantitative results indicated that only ACT test scores and high school GPA were weakly predictive of college GPA. The qualitative component focused on Sternberg's creative and practical intelligences to guide an exploration of HP admissions criteria with 2 admissions officers and 5 HP faculty members who were chosen for participation because of their direct involvement with selecting and teaching HP students. The qualitative results indicated the participants were interested in adding 3 components to the HP admissions criteria: art and music grades from high school, advanced epistemological thinking, and the ability to connect to faculty and resources. A white paper is included at the end of this study to help guide the process of revisiting admissions criteria to improve HP student completion. Positive social change is achieved, and both students and colleges benefit, when colleges more accurately enroll students into the academic programs they are most likely to complete.