This study compared the outcomes for less prepared and well prepared first year college students enrolled in learning communities at the University of Minnesota. Less prepared students were retained at the same rate, though their first year grades were significantly lower. In a second study the less prepared students were compared to an earlier cohort of matched pairs. The matched pairs had similar rates of retention and similar grades. A third study compared the responses of less prepared and well prepared students to items on the SERU survey. Less prepared students reported more gains in items related to the learning outcome communicating effectively. Less prepared and more prepared students reported similar gains on the outcome appreciating diversity. Less prepared students were as satisfied as well prepared students with their sense of belonging to the institution and were as likely to say they would choose to attend the same institution again, but they were less satisfied with their grades, social experience and academic experience.
Presented at the annual Association of Institutional Research (AIR) forum, Toronto, Canada, May 25, 2011.
Wambach, Cathrine; Huesman, Ronald L. Jr..
Assessing the Impact of a First Year Learning Community for Less Prepared and Well Prepared Students at a Research University.
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