Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Organization and Leadership (O&L)


School of Education

First Advisor

Patricia Mitchell

Second Advisor

Walter Gmelch


The research examined the impact of the pace requirement of the 2010 program integrity legislation at a single graduate institution to gauge its potential for fulfilling the legislation’s stated purpose of increased likelihood of student success. The study determined that there have been changes in registration behavior (particularly in course drop behavior that reduces the number of credits calculated as attempted each semester) since the case institution introduced the pace requirement in Fall 2011. An increase in course completion efficiency was also found. The doctoral candidacy qualifying phase was singled out for a more refined examination, which was loosely tracked prior to the introduction of the pace measure of progress. While speed of progression through the phase does not appear to have appreciably changed, data suggest a trend from concurrent to more sequential progression through the four candidacy qualifying courses after the courses became subject to pace performance measurement. Student motivation was identified as a proxy for eventual degree attainment. Academic progression was consistent with relative student motivation. However, neither the pace requirement, nor its consequences, directly motivated students to succeed. While there is some indication that the threat of federal financial aid ineligibility may enhance feelings of desire for the degree objective or the desire to avoid failure, the effects are not universal and instead depend on the motivational predisposition of the student.