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Helping First-Year Students Get Grit: The Impact of Intentional Assignments on the Development of Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance

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College student persistence is of the most challenging issues currently facing higher education. This study is an exploration of grit, tenacity, and perseverance as demonstrated by 43 first-year students at a small, teaching-intensive university in South Texas in response to two required exercises assigned in a first-year seminar. Student assignments showed all three of these characteristics, with some differences between first-generation college students and non-first-generation college students. Further analysis revealed themes of engaging with the assignment, evidencing grit, persevering past hurdles, and understanding what was learned. The study suggests that intentional assignments in a first-year seminar class can facilitate the development of grit, tenacity, and perseverance. Implications for first-year seminar instructors are presented.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • 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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