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Assessing the Difference Between 1-, 2-, and 3-Credit First-Year Seminars on College Student Achievement

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Research examining the differences between first-year seminars (FYS) of varying credit loads has been lacking. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of 1-, 2-, and 3-credit FYS on student achievement (N = 12,482). The results indicated that all students significantly benefited from participating in any of the three FYS types as compared to nonparticipants; however, at-risk subgroups (i.e., first-generation and male students, students of color, and conditionally admitted students) benefited more from participating in FYS with greater credit loads. On measures of first-term GPA and second-year fall credit load (i.e., reflecting persistence and progress toward degree completion), the achievement gap was nearly eliminated, and students exceeded their peers when participating in the 3-credit FYS. Overall, results support student participation in FYS with higher credit loads.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2019

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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