Higher Education

, Volume 69, Issue 4, pp 509–525 | Cite as

The link between high-impact practices and student learning: some longitudinal evidence

  • Cindy A. Kilgo
  • Jessica K. Ezell Sheets
  • Ernest T. Pascarella
Article

Abstract

The current paper used data from the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education—a longitudinal, pretest/posttest design—to estimate the effects of participation in the ten “high-impact” educational practices put forth and endorsed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) on a variety of liberal arts educational outcomes. The high-impact practices included in the study were: first-year seminars, academic learning communities, writing-intensive courses, active and collaborative learning, undergraduate research, study abroad, service learning, internships, and capstone courses/experiences. Findings from ordinary least squares regression analyses suggested that active and collaborative learning as well as undergraduate research had broad-reaching positive effects across multiple liberal arts learning outcomes, such as critical thinking, need for cognition, and intercultural effectiveness. Several other high-impact practices—including study abroad, internship, service learning, and capstone course/experience—had more narrowly focused positive effects on student learning. Overall, this study’s findings support AAC&U’s advocacy of high-impact practices as pathways to student success.

Keywords

Learning outcomes Liberal arts education High-impact practices College impact Active and collaborative learning Undergraduate research 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cindy A. Kilgo
    • 1
  • Jessica K. Ezell Sheets
    • 1
  • Ernest T. Pascarella
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IowaIowa CityUSA

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