Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The purpose of this research study was to explore how incoming first year students develop their academic performance expectations, differences between students in the development of academic performance expectations, and lastly the role of the university has in communicating expectations to students. The researcher utilized case study research to examine various perspectives related to the development of academic performance expectation. Research methodology included, participant interviews, document analysis and observation. Research findings are highlighted by ten first year college students’ experiences; half of the participants were previously higher performing and the other half were previously lower performing. Performance was based on high school GPA and ACT or SAT scores. Data analysis revealed students are considering four main factors when developing their academic performance expectations: differences between high school and college, prior academic experiences, course impressions, and required actions. There were two significant differences between the two groups in the development of academic performance expectations. First students with higher high school GPAs and ACT/SAT scores communicated they felt more prepared for college academics compared to students in the lower group. Additionally, students with higher high school GPAs and ACT/SAT scores were less likely to over predict their final course grades. Lastly, findings from the document analysis and research findings indicated the university communicated limited information about academic rigor expectations. Instead information communicated by the university about academic focused on process related tasks. The findings from this research study present several implications for secondary and post-secondary education. Potential recommendations include increase communication between secondary and post-secondary regarding academic readiness, and implementation of intentional programs to help incoming first year students better align their academic expectations. Interventions to improve the alignment of expectations are necessary to increase student’s academic success



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Secure the entire work for patent and/or proprietary purposes for a period of one year. Student has submitted appropriate documentation which states: During this period the copyright owner also agrees not to exercise her/his ownership rights, including public use in works, without prior authorization from LSU. At the end of the one year period, either we or LSU may request an automatic extension for one additional year. At the end of the one year secure period (or its extension, if such is requested), the work will be released for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Fasching-Varner, Kenneth



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Education Commons