Educators are seriously concerned about the high rate of dropouts among the doctor of philosophy candidates and the consequent loss of talent to a nation in need of Ph. D. s. Some have placed the dropouts loss as high as 50 percent. The extent of the loss was, however, largely a matter of expert guessing. Last week a well-rounded study was published. It was published. It was based on 22,000 questionnaires sent to former graduate students who were enrolled in 24 universities and it seemed to show many past fears to be groundless.
The dropouts rate was found to be 31 per cent, and in most cases the dropouts, while not completing the Ph. D. requirement, went on to productive work. They are not only doing well financially, but, according to the report, are not far below the income levels of those who went on to complete their doctorates.
Discussing the study last week, Dr. Tucker said the project was initiated ‘because of the concern frequently expressed by graduate faculties and administrators that some of the individuals who dropped out of Ph. D. programs were capable of competing the requirement for the degree. Attrition at the Ph. D. level is also thought to be a waste of precious faculty time and a drain on university resources already being used to capacity. Some people expressed the opinion that the shortage of highly trained specialists and college teachers could be reduced by persuading the dropouts to return to graduate schools to complete the Ph. D.’
“The results of our research” Dr. Tucker concluded, “did not support these opinions.”
1. Lack of motivation was the principal reason for dropping out.
2. Most dropouts went as far in their doctoral program as was consistent with their levels of ability or their specialities.
3. Most dropouts are now engaged in work consistent with their education and motivation.
Nearly 75 per cent of the dropouts said there was no academic reason for their decision, but those who mentioned academic reason cited failure to pass the qualifying examination, uncompleted research and failure to pass language exams. Among the single most important personal reasons identified by dropouts for non-completion of their Ph. D. program, lack of finances was marked by 19 per cent.
As an indication of how well the dropouts were doing, a chart showed 2% in humanities were receiving $ 20,000 and more annually while none of the Ph. D. ‘s with that background reached this figure. The Ph. D. ‘s shone in the $ 7,500 to $ 15,000 bracket with 78% at that level against 50% for the dropouts. This may also be an indication of the fact that top salaries in the academic fields, where Ph. D. ‘s tend to rise to the highest salaries, are still lagging behind other fields.
As to the possibility of getting dropouts back on campus, the outlook was glum. The main condition which would have to prevail for at least 25 % of the dropouts who might consider returning to graduate school would be to guarantee that they would retain their present level of income and in some cases their present job.
1. The author states that many educators feel that
[A] steps should be taken to get the dropouts back to campus.
[B] the fropouts should return to a lower quality school to continue their study.
[C] the Ph. D. holder is generally a better adjusted person than the dropout.
[D] The high dropouts rate is largely attributable to the lack of stimulation on the part of faculty members.
2. Research has shown that
[A] Dropouts are substantially below Ph. D. ‘s in financial attainment.
[B] the incentive factor is a minor one in regard to pursuing Ph. D. studies.
[C] The Ph. D. candidate is likely to change his field of specialization if he drops out.
[D] about one-third of those who start Ph. D. work do not complete the work to earn the degree.
3. Meeting foreign language requirements for the Ph. D.
[A] is the most frequent reason for dropping out.
[B] is more difficult for the science candidate than for the humanities candidate.
[C] is an essential part of many Ph. D. programs.
[D] does not vary in difficulty among universities.
4. After reading the article, one would refrain from concluding that
[A] optimism reigns in regard to getting Ph. D. dropouts to return to their pursuit of the degree.
[B] a Ph. D. dropout, by and large, does not have what it takes to learn the degree.
[C] colleges and universities employ a substantial number of Ph. D. dropouts.
[D] Ph. D. ‘s are not earning what they deserve in nonacademic positions.
5. It can be inferred that the high rate of dropouts lies in
[A] salary for Ph. D. too low.
[B] academic requirement too high.
[C] salary for dropouts too high.
[D] 1000 positions.
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