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ERIC Number: EJ1094759
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0024-1822
"What Would Make This a Successful Year for You?" How Students Define Success in College
Jennings, Nancy; Lovett, Suzanne; Cuba, Lee; Swingle, Joe; Lindkvist, Heather
Liberal Education, v99 n2 Spr 2013
The New England Consortium on Assessment and Student Learning (NECASL) seeks to understand how students make important decisions during college, assess the extent to which institutional policies and practices foster student learning, and modify those policies and practices accordingly. In this article, the authors analyze interviews with a subsample of sixty-six students who entered NECASL colleges in 2006 and graduated four years later. The gender and racial composition in this smaller sample mirrors that found in the full sample of NECASL students. Two of the NECASL schools are single sex, which accounts for the large number of women (73 percent); the racial composition of the sample--65 percent are students of color or international students--reflects the over-sampling of these two groups. Each student was interviewed three times in the first year of college and once each semester thereafter. Although these interviews covered many aspects of college life, this article focuses on a question asked at the beginning of each academic year: "Thinking ahead to the end of the year, what would make this a successful year for you?" This article looks at students' definitions of success over their four years of college. The authors find that themes related to "academic achievement"--primarily "getting good grades"--predominate over themes related to "academic engagement"--the loftier aspirations voiced in institutions' mission statements, such as developing a love of learning or a breadth of knowledge. Upon reflection of the stories told by students, their preoccupation with grades comes as no surprise. Students' views of success are not dismissed as less worthy than colleges' loftier and noble principles. Many students are finding inspiration in institutions' professed values and becoming engaged learners, while at the same time defining success in terms of good grades.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A