Toward a Holistic Theoretical Model of Momentum for Community College Student Success



In this chapter, I advance a new theoretical model of momentum for community college student success. I first offer a comprehensive review and critique of the academic momentum literature within the context of research on community college student outcomes, describing both conceptual perspectives and empirical studies in this vein, reviewing their strengths and limitations, and assessing their contributions to the knowledge base on community college student success. Based on this review, I argue that the notion of momentum from Newton’s classical mechanics holds great theoretical promise for further advancing the research on this important topic, but two key dimensions of momentum are missing from the current literature: teaching and learning within the community college classroom, as well as students’ motivational attributes and beliefs. The chapter culminates in a new holistic theoretical model of momentum for community college student success. By deeply situating students’ momentum within their course-taking trajectories and their experiences within courses, and by framing the cultivation of students’ attitudes and beliefs as a core part of building momentum, the new model accounts for a fuller and richer meaning of momentum and can be used to better inform research, policy, and practice aimed at fostering community college student success.


Community colleges Two-year colleges Student success Momentum Academic momentum Transcript analysis Data mining Course-taking Teaching Learning Curriculum Remediation Developmental education Contextualization Active learning Metacognition Noncognitive skills Psychological development Motivational attributes Motivational beliefs Growth mindset Perseverance Agency 

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational Leadership and Policy AnalysisUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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