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Courses Associated with Freshman Learning

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This study considers the associations of freshman courses with reading, mathematics and critical thinking skill gains for college freshmen. Course groups, arranged in large and medium groupings down to individual courses, are used as units for analysis. Progress in mathematics was connected with both pure and applied scientific-paradigm courses, but no large groupings were associated with progress in reading or critical thinking. For medium-sized course groupings, applied science courses and pure humanities courses contributed to reading gain, applied science and pure math and science courses contributed to math progress, and the soft social science courses had a significant but negative association with critical thinking gain. Individual course effects are also reported.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1994

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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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