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Paper No. 14-16

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CA Vallejos and MFJ Steel

Bayesian Survival Modelling of University Outcomes

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to model the length of registration at university and its associated academic outcome for undergraduate students at the Pontificia Universidad Cat´olica de Chile. Survival time is defined as the time until the end of the enrollment period, which can relate to different reasons - graduation or two types of dropout - that are driven by different processes. Hence, a competing risks model is employed for the analysis. The issue of separation of the outcomes (which precludes maximum likelihood estimation) is handled through the use of Bayesian inference with an appropriately chosen prior. We are interested in identifying important determinants of university outcomes and the associated model uncertainty is formally addressed through Bayesian model averaging. The methodology introduced for modelling university outcomes is applied to three selected degree programmes, which are particularly affected by dropout and late graduation.

Keywords: Bayesian model averaging; Competing risks; Outcomes separation; Proportional Odds model; University dropout.