Friday, September 25, 2009

Reflection on Perry’s Model

Perry’s model divides intellectual development into nine positions. With the development, the authority plays less and less important roles in students’ thoughts. Culver mentioned that most students appear to leave college in Position 3 or 4, because at this point, students admit a lot of alternative views but do not take a stand or commitment towards any of these ones. Some students also quit at later positions because they do not have the strong will to take the commitments. From Culver’s view, students’ willing to commit is a very important factor that dominates students’ retention. This makes me to think about what is related to willingness to commit or what “commitment” means. From my own experience, I would like to commit because the benefit covers the effort in the long run. I think this also applied to the students. If a student thinks continuing can bring more benefit, he or she probably will stay. But the decision and situation varies for different students. For example, getting a degree may help a student to find a better job. However, a report mentioned that fewer students stay in engineering because they find engineering hard and requiring more effort than other disciplines. So their decisions are much dependent on how they balance a better job and the effort they will spend during degree pursuing.

I like Perry’s model very much. It describes the changes happen in students mind so that we can analyze the key factors behind students’ quit. We can also think about what should we do at certain positions to prevent their quit. My research topic also involves analyzing factors that affect the retention of engineering students. Perry’s model is a good reference for me.