Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Wendy Edson


As there continues to be a nursing shortage and a lack of diversity in the nursing profession, it is important to retain at-risk students who have been admitted to nursing programs. The purpose of this program evaluation was to compare at-risk students who had not received retention services to at-risk students who had received retention services at a Midwestern college. A formative evaluation was conducted using information from three sources: the college, the students, and the community. Guided by a constructivist theory defined by Ponticell, this study examined the effectiveness of the retention program in terms of its impact on course completion rates, semester, and cumulative GPAs, and number of students on probation and dismissed from the college. Using a retrospective quasi-experimental design, data from 72 students in 2 groups were compared using chi-square, t tests, and one-way repeated-measures ANOVA. Although the results were not significant, students who received retention services were less frequently on probation and dismissed, had higher course completion rates, and had higher GPAs. In addition, 54 graduating students were surveyed, and their perceptions of the retention services were positive, with an overall mean score of 4.02 out of 5.0. Themes identified through a community key informant interview included student/personal responsibility, family responsibility, and community responsibility. The program evaluation was summarized in an evaluation report that included the results and recommendations for continuation or the addition of retention services. This study may impact social change as the retention services are reviewed and adjusted in order to produce an increased number of qualified, diverse registered nurses.