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.
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The correlation matrix is available upon request to the first author.
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The research on which this study was based was supported by a generous Grant from the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College to the Center for Research on Undergraduate Education at The University of Iowa.
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Kilgo, C.A., Ezell Sheets, J.K. & Pascarella, E.T. The link between high-impact practices and student learning: some longitudinal evidence. High Educ 69, 509–525 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-014-9788-z
- Learning outcomes
- Liberal arts education
- High-impact practices
- College impact
- Active and collaborative learning
- Undergraduate research