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Tools of Engagement: Success Course Influence on Student Engagement

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Improving student outcomes requires better tools for assessing program effectiveness. Student success courses are offered on most college campuses. However, extant research is overwhelmingly summative, of mixed rigor, and focused on four-year colleges, providing limited support for improving practice in community colleges. This study examined relationships between participation in an extended orientation student success course and engagement as measured by the Community College Survey of Student Engagement. Findings showed (a) modest but positive course influence on use of support services, faculty interaction, and active and collaborative learning; (b) limited understanding of the influence of success courses on students indicated by weak alignment between course goals and engagement outcomes; and (c) connections between course instructional attributes and engagement gains.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • The Journal of The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition is a semiannual refereed journal providing current research on the first college year and other significant student transitions. The primary purpose of the Journal is to disseminate empirical research findings on student transition issues that inform practice in all sectors of postsecondary education, such as explorations into the academic, personal, and social experiences (including outcomes related to success, learning, and development) of students at a range of transition points throughout the college years; transition issues unique to specific populations (e.g., non-traditional, traditional, historically underrepresented students, transfer students, commuters, part-time students); and explorations of faculty development, curriculum, and pedagogical innovations connected to college transitions.
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