Student statisfaction and student engagement in a school psychology graduate program: Differences between program formats, primarily campus-based, primarily online
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While total higher education enrollment is declining, online enrollment is increasing (Lee & Martin, 2017). Educational leaders have developed online options to meet student requirements, but online retention rates are lower than those of campus-based rates (Arhin & Wang’eri, 2018). Academic leaders, students, and future employers could benefit from higher retention rates for online learners. Muljana and Luo (2019) indicated that, despite the many studies related to this topic, academic leaders are searching for solutions to this problem. Existing literature related to retention rates in school psychology programs is lacking. This quantitative study, conducted with a causalcomparative design, was designed to investigate student engagement and student satisfaction between a primarily online format versus a primary campus-based format in a school psychology graduate program from one university. A census of students from three years (enrollment between 2014-2016) were invited to participate. The participants were asked to complete an online survey. Although not a research question, chi-square was used to analyze retention data by program format. The results of the analysis reveal a significant relationship between these variables, with primarily campus-based students having higher retention rates and primarily online students having lower retention rates. Pearson’s correlation was used to investigate the relationship between student perceived satisfaction and student perceived engagement in four groups: all participants, program finishers, non-finishers, and participants still enrolled. Significant relationships were found between student perceived engagement and student perceived satisfaction for participants still enrolled and all participants, but not for finishers or non-finishers. Additional analyses using analysis of variance (ANOVA) were completed to identify any mean difference in student perceived engagement and any mean difference in student perceived satisfaction between two program formats (primarily online and primarily campus-based). The mean differences between groups were not significant for both variables. No mean difference was found in student perceived or student perceived engagement and program format. Significant mean differences between groups were not discovered between student satisfaction. Situational leadership frameworks are recommended for school psychology program leaders and instructors. Instructors may wish to solicit individual engagement preferences for students and structure their support accordingly.