Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Research


The purpose of this study was to a;sess two measures of accountability (i.e., time- to-degree (TTD) and credits-to-degree (CTD)). A total of 800 University of Wisconsin- Stout (UW-Stout) graduates, 200 from each graduating class from 1990 to 1993 were surveyed to determine the obstacles to four year degree completion and to determine why they completed excess credits beyond what was required to complete a degree program. Four hundred and twelve graduates returned the survey. Data were obtained from student transcripts and from the Bursar’s Office for only those graduates who returned the survey. The data were segmented in order to answer questions relating to validity, credits-to- degree, gender and success, major and degree program, academic preparedness, learning, and cost. The two measures of accountability were evaluated against the following predictors: cost of the degree (dollar amount), GPA, self-rating, post baccalaureate salary, post B.A./B.S. degree or education, parental education, and the student’s rating of post B.A./B.S. success.

A significant negative correlation was obtained between overall GPA and TTD. TTD appears to be a better indicator of educational achievement using the criterion of overall GPA. The TTD measure of accountability appears to be a better indicator than CTD using the criteria of cost of the degree.

Overall 65% of UW-Stout’s graduates who participated in this study remained in their initially selected majors. Graduates who switched majors were found to have higher TTD and CTD. Women appeared better prepared to succeed in courses at UW-Stout. Men withdrew from more courses, repeated more courses, and averaged slightly more semesters than women.

UW-Stout graduates earned more credits than were required for a degree program. The top three reasons for completing more credits than required was: “other”(e.g., difficulty getting required courses and courses were not offered), changed major, and took additional courses that would benefit their career opportunities. The top three reasons indicated for taking longer to complete a degree program were: academic, institutional efficiency, and personal. Within the academic factor, the top four influences on extending TTD were: a) intemship/cooperative educational experience, b) decided to take fewer credits per semester, c) repeated courses, and d) keep GPA high.

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Psychology Commons