Research in Higher Education

, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 430–448 | Cite as

The Relationship Between Students’ Perceptions of “Good Practices for Undergraduate Education” and the Paradigmatic Development of Disciplines in Course-Taking Behavior

  • Cindy A. Kilgo
  • K. C. Culver
  • Ryan L. Young
  • Michael B. Paulsen


Our study uses data from the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education to interrogate the affinity disciplines hypothesis through students’ perceptions of faculty use of six of Chickering and Gamson’s (AAHE Bull 39(7):3–7, 1987) principles of good practice for undergraduate education. We created a proportional scale based on Biglan’s (J Appl Psychol 57(3):195–203, 1973) classification of paradigmatic development (with higher scores on the scale corresponding to students taking a higher proportion of courses in ‘hard’ fields compared to ‘soft’ fields), our study tests differences by the paradigmatic development of the disciplines or fields in which students take their courses within the first year of college. Our findings suggest that as paradigmatic development increases (toward a higher proportion of courses taken in hard disciplines), student perceptions of both faculty use of prompt feedback and faculty use of high expectations/academic challenge decrease, while student perceptions of cooperative learning increase. Further, no statistically significant differences were found between the paradigmatic development of fields in which students’ take their courses and students’ perceptions of faculty use of student-faculty contact, active and collaborative learning, or teaching clarity and organization. This study replicates the findings from Braxton et al. (Res High Educ 39(3):299–318, 1998) using student-level rather than faculty-level reports of faculty use of good teaching practices.


Good teaching practices Paradigmatic development Curriculum 



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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cindy A. Kilgo
    • 1
  • K. C. Culver
    • 2
  • Ryan L. Young
    • 2
  • Michael B. Paulsen
    • 2
  1. 1.The University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  2. 2.The University of IowaIowa CityUSA

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