Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology

Subject Categories

Educational Psychology


Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


Counseling and Educational Psychology

Thesis Advisor

Jerome A. Ouano

Defense Panel Chair

John Addy S. Garcia

Defense Panel Member

Christine Joy A. Ballada
Violeta C. Valladolid
Ma. Alicia Bustos- Orosa
Jonathan V. Macayan


The present study aimed to define and explore choice and engagement behaviors underlying academic persistence of students in challenging programs, using the theory of personal investment. Academic persistence has been a popular topic of research because of prevalent problems of attrition and drop-out that face educational institutions, especially in challenging programs, identified as those which possess stringent entry level requirements, high performance standards, and heavy academic workload. Despite the nature of these challenging programs, still a substantial number of students persist in taking the course, even going beyond the expected tenure. While a number of educational models have been introduced to explain academic persistence, studying the unique context of challenging programs and the learners enrolled to these programs may provide a deeper understanding of the phenomenon, anchored on sense of self, sociocultural environment, and patterns of behavior. Thus, this sequential exploratory study explored academic persistence, including choice, school settings and conditions, and behaviors, which may lead learners to persist in challenging programs. The qualitative phase follows the multiple case study design, focused on experiences of eleven (11) learners, generating 714 codes, from which themes were generated to account for personal investment perspectives. Subsequent analyses were derived through quantitative measures, and subjecting data to mediation analysis. Choosing to stay and school settings and conditions have interaction effects on Persistence behaviors. Positive Socializations with Peers and Mentors (PSPM) and Positive Appraisal of Curriculum (PAC) were found to be significant mediators of some factors in choosing to stay and persistence behaviors. Results of the study provide substantial support to the motivational framework of academic persistence, through the lens of the Personal Investment Theory. Promising directions for future research are also mentioned. Conclusions and recommendations were highlighted, which may be utilized for policy making, program development, and future research.

Abstract Format






Physical Description

251 leaves


Persistence; Motivation in education; Educational psychology; Personality and academic achievement

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