Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Dr. James McMillan


Event history analysis is the most prevalent modeling technique used to model event occurrence with longitudinal data (Cox & Oakes, 1984; Menard, 1991; Singer & Willett, 1993, 2003). An alternative is to model longitudinal data within the SEM framework, known as latent variable growth modeling (McArdle, 1988; Meredith & Tisak, 1990), which can provide a more robust framework. Whether or not a student remains in college presents an appropriate context within which to examine the modeling of event occurrence with longitudinal data. The purpose of the study was to compare event history and latent growth modeling as for predicting change in college student perseverance, with college student persistence literature serving as the framework. Students are defined as having persevered if they have earned hours and the end of the semester rather than if they are enrolled at the beginning of the semester, which is the traditional definition of persistence.The population for the study was the 2001 and 2002 cohorts of first-time, full-time freshmen at a large mid-Atlantic urban research university. Stopouts and transfer students were excluded. Data was analyzed for the first five semesters for each cohort. The results showed that parameter estimates were quite consistent across model type and time frame and were mostly consistent with previous research. No one method outperformed the others in terms of predicting correct classification. Using event history analysis with the structural equation modeling framework, however, appeared to be a very promising alternative to event history analysis with logistic regression since one can model error term and examine the differential effects of predictors at each time period. Finally, while latent growth modeling did not outperform the other methods in predictive classification, the study demonstrated it can be used for event occurrence analysis to test more complex theories.


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Date of Submission

June 2008

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