The Student Retention IQ Quiz

If you’re among the thousands of professors being thrust into student success or retention duties, it can be a challenge getting up to speed on some of the vocabulary, theories and concepts thrown about. This 25-question quiz was part of the materials I created for the Nov. 20th online seminar, “What Faculty Members Need to Know about Retention.” Although presented in a light-hearted manner, the quiz helps with some of the basic definitions and serves as a simple tool for jumpstarting campus discussions.

1. Retention Rate refers to:
a. The number of full-time students retained for four years at a college.
b. The number of full or part-time students who graduate after six years from their starting date
c. The number of full-time, first-time students retained to their second year
d. The water absorbing rate of new students

2. 4-year Graduation Rate refers to:
a. The number of students graduating eight consecutive semesters after they began
b. The percentage of full-time, first-time students graduating eight consecutive semesters after they began from the same college.
c. The percentage of your total student body that graduates each year.
d. The percentage of faculty who go from ABD to Ph.D. during the first four years at a college.

3. NACADA stands for:
a. National Acorn Consortium to Advance Democracy in America
b. New American Collegians Affecting Dialogue Affiliation
c. National Academic Advising Association

4. FYE stands for:
a. First-Year Experience
b. Freshman-Year Experience
c. Final Yield of Education
d. Freshman-Year Education

5. “Attriter” refers to a student leaving college.
a. True b. False

6. TRIO programs are federally funded.
a. True b. False

7. “First generation” refers to a new retention program before it’s truly assessed.
a. True b. False

8. The majority of universities in the U.S. would be satisfied with a 50%, 4-year graduation rate.
a. True b. False

For questions 9-16, match the name of the scholar to the relevant association listed in the letters below:

9. Gardner, John ___
10. Astin, Alexander ___
11. Tinto, Vincent ___
12. Kuh, George ___
13. Anderson, Chip ___
14. Swing, Randy ___
15. Perry, William ___
16. Chickering , Arthur ___

a) Involvement Theory. b) Founder, Nat’l Resource Center for FYE (USC). c) AIR – President. d) StrengthsQuest. e) Seven Vectors. f) Cognitive & Social Integration. g) NSSE, professor at IU. h) Nine stages of intellectual & ethical development.

17. She developed the Student Satisfaction Inventory™ (SSI).
a) Janice Ian
b) Laurie Schreiner
c) Helen Astin
d) none of above

18. He developed purpose-guided education™.
a) Pascarella
b) Alfie Khon
c) Covey
d) none of above

19. Name given to parents of today’s traditional students.
a. Helicopter
b. B-52s
c. Latchkey
d. Jetsons

20. Any student born after 1981 is commonly referred to as a:
a. mook
b. millennial
c. Gen. Xer
d. Boomer

21. Author of Generation Me.
a. William Strauss
b. Neil Howe
c. Barbara Tobolowsky
d. Jean Twenge

22. Marc Prenzky’s term for traditional students always having constant high-tech access.
a. digital natives
b. Halo-ites
c. digital transfers
d. Mac-ites

23. Today’s students desire having input, and the editing process behind Wikipedia called:
a. open source
b. tagging
c. closed source
d. source PC

24. The majority of new students decide to leave within:
a. first two years
b. first year
c. first semester
d. first six weeks

25. “At-risk” in the student success arena generally refers to:
a. faculty that shouldn’t be around first-year students
b. students involved in ROTC
c. students with certain personal, family or academic profiles
d. any student without a declared major


1. C
2. B
3. C
4. A
5. A
6. A
7. B
8. A
9. B
10. A
11. F
12. G
13. D
14. C
15. H
16. E
17. B
18. D
19. A
20. B
21. D
22. A
23. A
24. D
25. C

Score Interpretation

1-5 Correct. A normal young tenure-track professor

6-10 Correct. A single tenure-track professor who has agreed to help Student Development; or, a very uninformed student development professional

11-15 Correct. A Professor who occasionally reads About Campus, or reads widely, or a good guesser; Hangs around with Student Development personnel

16-20 Correct. A Professor who has attended at least one FYE or student success workshop, or read books like Generation Me.

21-25 Correct. A tenured professor with a passion for students, or; a young professor risking tenure, or, a Student Development professional

Helpful Resources to Improve Your Knowledge of Student Retention:

Braxton, John (Fall 2008). The Role of the Classroom in College Student Persistence. New Directions for Teaching and Learning Series No. 115. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Policy Center on the First Year of College. Foundations of Excellence program. (The list serves are also very helpful.)

Kuh, George D. et al. (2005). Student Success in College: Creating Conditions that Matter. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Kramer, Gary L. et al. (2007). Fostering Student Success in the Campus Community. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

National Resource Center for First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.

Palmer, Parker (1998). Exiles from Eden: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Pattengale, Jerry (May 29, 2008). Motivating Millenials and Digital Natives. Online Seminar. Magna Publications, Madison, Wisconsin.

Pattengale, Jerry (Nov. 20, 2008). What faculty Need to Know About Retention. Online Seminar. Magna Publications, Madison, Wisconsin.

Schwehn, Mark R. (1993). Exiles from Eden: Religion and the Academic Vocation in America. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Skipper, T. L. (2005). Student development in the first college year: A primer for college educators. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.

Weimer, Maryellen (2006). Enhancing Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning: Professional Literature that Makes a Difference. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Zlotkowski, Ed (2002). Service-Learning and the First-Year Experience: Preparing Students for Personal Success and Civic Responsibility. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.