Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Donald W. Good

Committee Members

Jill Channing, James H. Lampley, Heidi Leming


The purpose of this nonexperimental, quantitative study was to analyze relationships between three learning mindset dimensions (growth mindset; purpose and value; and sense of belonging) to retention and persistence to graduation among first-time, full-time Tennessee community college student graduates and nongraduates who attended one of 13 institutions in Fall 2019. In addition to comparing Tennessee community college graduates and nongraduates’ learning mindset dimensions, I analyzed student subgroups to explore those dimensions with regard to gender and race. Additional analyses included correlations between students’ growth mindset scores; purpose and value scores; and social belonging scores.

Analyses included Tennessee Board of Regents’ (TBR) Fall 2019 archival data of students’ completion status and student survey data related to students’ learning mindset scores from 13 Tennessee community college institutions. Archival data from Tennessee community colleges used in this study the Fall 2019 Cohort included 1,493 students over three years (2019-2022).

Results revealed that students who completed and students who did not complete had similar mindset scores, purpose and value scores, and social belonging scores. Mindset scores were significantly higher for White students than non-White students. Purpose and value scores were significantly lower for males than for females, as well as significantly higher for non-White students than White students. Social belonging scores were significantly higher for female noncompleters than male noncompleters, as well as significantly higher for female noncompleters than female completers, and significantly higher for non-White students than White students. Correlations revealed that students with strong mindset scores tend to have strong purpose and value scores, as well strong sense of belonging scores.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.