Innovative Higher Education

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 387–395 | Cite as

Examining the Relationship between Student Learning and Persistence

  • Shouping Hu
  • Alexander C. McCormick
  • Robert M. Gonyea


Using data from the 2006 cohort of the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, we examined the relationships between three approaches to measuring student learning outcomes (direct-assessment learning gains, self-reported gains, and college grades) and student persistence from the first to second year. Results from a series of logistic regressions indicated that students’ grade-point averages had the largest explanatory power in student persistence, followed by self-reported gains. Direct-assessment learning gains had the least power in explaining persistence. The findings have implications for the national conversation on student success in college.

Key words

Student learning Persistence College outcomes 



The authors wish to thank Charles Blaich and the Wabash Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts for granting access to the data used in this study. The findings reported here reflect only the authors’ analyses and interpretations, and not official positions of the Center of Inquiry or its sponsoring organizations.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shouping Hu
    • 1
  • Alexander C. McCormick
    • 2
  • Robert M. Gonyea
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, College of EducationFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Center for Postsecondary ResearchIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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