Academic Performance Among First-Generation Students In Occupational Therapy

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Johns Hopkins University
First-generation students at U.S. universities have lower academic performance than their continuing-generation counterparts. Low academic performance among students in allied health programs places students at high risk for attrition, leaving the healthcare community with a shortage of healthcare professionals, which has negative repercussions on the community. This study examined the factors contributing to low academic performance among first-generation students in higher education. A mixed-methods needs assessment revealed that first-generation students in occupational therapy had low academic engagement, social integration, and academic self-efficacy as it pertained to their self-regulatory processes. The intervention focused on improving the use of academic self-regulatory strategies and confidence using those strategies for first-generation students in occupational therapy. The program encompassed components of Zimmerman’s self-regulated learning model: forethought (task analysis and setting goals), performance (self-monitoring performance), and self-reflection (evaluating one’s progress and adjusting one’s strategies). Ten students participated in the academic self-regulation program. A mixed methods study examined the process and outcome evaluations using a qualitative open- ended questionnaire and quantitative survey. Quantitatively, a one-group pretest-posttest quasi- experimental design was used to examine any changes in the participants’ use of the academic self-regulatory strategies and level of confidence in using those strategies via quantitative surveys. The program improved the participants' use of academic self-regulatory strategies and confidence using those strategies. Findings from this study can inform occupational therapy programs about the benefits of an academic self-regulation program on the students’ learning, which has implications for their academic performance and overall success in the program.
first-generation college student, first-generation student in higher education, first-generation students in occupational therapy, first-generation students in allied health, self- regulation, academic self-regulation, self-regulated learning, academic self-efficacy, self- regulatory processes, academic self-regulatory strategies, self-regulated learning, needs assessment, program evaluation, intervention