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Undermatching and Noncognitive Development during the First Year of College: A Longitudinal Study of College Students in the Netherlands

Gregory C. Wolniak () and Marjolein Muskens ()
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Gregory C. Wolniak: University of Georgia
Marjolein Muskens: Maastricht University

Research in Higher Education, 2021, vol. 62, issue 6, No 5, 855-884

Abstract: Abstract The study focuses on the phenomenon of “undermatching” in relation to the development of noncognitive attributes during the first year of college. Particular attention is paid to examining the role of first-generation college student status in moderating these relationships. The analyses utilize longitudinal data from the Netherlands (N = 14,540), to test whether undermatching is associated with noncognitive development, based on measures of academic motivation, college satisfaction, and academic self-efficacy. Results indicate among first-generation students, undermatching predicts positive development of satisfaction with college and academic self-efficacy, net of other social status, demographic, and educational measures. Alternatively, among continuing-generation students, undermatching does not affect noncognitive development. The results were found to be robust to model selection. The discussion and conclusion suggest that undermatching may, in fact, promote positive development of noncognitive attributes for socially mobile students (i.e., students from families with less educational attainment).

Keywords: Undermatch; Noncognitive development; College students; Netherlands (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s11162-020-09620-w

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