Reflections on retention and persistence: Institucional actions on behalf of student persistence
Citing Jardine (forthcoming), Krause correctly points out the difference between the terms ‘retention’ and ‘persistence’. Whereas the former is typically used in reference to the actions and responsibilities of the institution, the latter focuses on the actions of the student and, as Lawrence reminds us, requires us to take on the perspective of the student as she/he seeks to persist within the institution. Retention as a goal reflects the interests of the institution, while persistence mirrors the desires of the student. As Simpson details, increasing retention has substantial immediate economic benefits for the institution, if not the society generally, and persistence, if it leads to completion, substantial immediate and long-term benefits for the individual. < Back
But while discourses about the nature of retention and persistence and the actions that institutions and individuals should take on behalf of retention and persistence continue to be largely separate from each other, it is necessarily the case that the two forms of behaviour intersect. This is the case because increasing retention at the level of the institution necessarily involves increasing persistence among students. Unfortunately few efforts have been made to join the two.