ERIC Number: EJ771702
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jun-15
Reference Count: 0
How to Help Students Achieve
Kuh, George D.
Chronicle of Higher Education, v53 n41 pB12 Jun 2007
As many as four-fifths of high-school graduates will need some form of postsecondary education if they are to become self-sufficient and the nation is to remain economically competitive. At the same time, policy makers, business leaders, and national study groups say the quality of student learning is subpar and want measures of institutional and student performance made public. Yet relatively little attention focuses on what higher-education institutions can do to help students survive and thrive in college. The situation is complicated as tens of thousands of undergraduates today must deal with one or more circumstances that seriously challenge their ability to succeed. Socioeconomic background, financial means, college readiness, and support from home substantially influence whether a person will earn a credential or degree. One of the key findings of the annual National Survey of Student Engagement directed by the author at the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University at Bloomington and by other research indicates that the time and energy that students devote to their studies and other educationally purposeful activities positively influence their grades and persistence. In other words, a key to academic success for students is their engagement. By being engaged -- something not represented in outcomes measures -- students develop habits that promise to stand them in good stead for a lifetime of continuous learning. Kuh discusses six concrete steps that institutions can take to engage students: (1) Teach first-year students as early as possible how to use college resources effectively; (2) Make the classroom the locus of community; (3) Develop networks and early-warning systems to support students when they need help; (4) Connect every student in a meaningful way with some activity or positive role model; (5) If a program or practice works, make it widely available and (6) Remove obstacles to student engagement and success. Kuh recognizes that even when institutions establish programs like those outlined and faculty members use effective teaching and learning approaches, such efforts will not in every case make up for every case of inadequate academic preparation in elementary and secondary school. Still, advocates the writer, colleges can do better by engaging students in purposeful activities that enhance their learning and personal development.
Descriptors: Teaching Methods, Socioeconomic Background, Teacher Effectiveness, Role Models, Faculty, Academic Achievement, Student Experience, Cooperative Learning, Intervention, College Freshmen, Program Effectiveness
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: National Survey of Student Engagement; Indiana; National Survey of Student Engagement