Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

First Advisor

Geraldine H. Holmes


Student success and attrition in all levels of education is becoming a more important issue in an age where education dollars are diminishing while various schools of higher learning are increasing. As a result, schools are reevaluating their current programs of study in an attempt to determine if both students and universities are fulfilling their respective goals. This process of reevaluation has several fundamental considerations, one of these which is addressed in this study--the effectiveness of prerequisite requirements and other demographic variables on predicting the success of students in courses in the general education curriculum. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to determine if a specific set of factors can be used to predict whether a student will successfully complete various courses in the general education curriculum. Four first-year courses in a small rural university were studied: College Algebra, Basic Composition and Rhetoric, Basic Physical Science and Basic Biological Science. Variables studied included prerequisite requirements for the courses, student age and enrollment status at the time the courses were taken, ACT subscores and composite scores, type of high school diploma, type of high school attended and gender. Exactly 1,737 students were analyzed as part of the study. Discriminant analysis found that the model significantly identified the variables gender, type of high school attended, ACT subscores, ACT composite scores and specific prerequisites as predictors of success/failure. Ideas and suggestions were given for more research directions and for evaluators of general education programs.