A validity study of the new student matriculation risk survey at an online high school
The purpose of this study is to determine if the modified version of the New Student Risk Matriculation Survey used at National High School is a reliable measure of those risk factors that affect retention. The study seeks to validate a survey tool that has limited research to support validity beyond face validity. Several researchers have conducted studies examining retention roles at online schools or traditional schools with online components. However, there is limited information regarding retention in fully online high schools. The New Student Risk Matriculation Survey was given to 335 online high school students enrolled in a virtual school. National High School is a private, regionally accredited, fully online high school. Principal component analysis was conducted on the survey instrument to determine validity and reliability. Although the survey had three components which proved to be reliable and 11 items that accounted for most of the variance, the instrument was determined to be unreliable and not valid based on the research analysis. The evidence suggests that the NSRMS is not a valid and reliable tool for identifying risk factors that predicts completion in the online high school format. The use of this instrument by online programs at the high school level or any program should be reconsidered. The survey carries only 11 items that shared any siginificant variance and only three components proved reliable. Therefore, schools looking to use this tool should seek alternative methods to identify risk.