ERIC Number: EJ791131
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Reference Count: 6
Assessing a Learning Community Program through a Student Survey
Pastors, Charles R.
Assessment Update, v18 n3 p1-2, 7-8 May-Jun 2006
American higher education is being asked to do more with less at a time when more students with different backgrounds, experiences, and expectations are seeking the support they need to improve their personal, professional, and civic lives. Learning communities (LCs) support the success of diverse learners, and learning community literature argues that participation in learning communities has been shown to be associated with greater student persistence, greater student interaction with faculty, increased interaction among students, and improved capacity to integrate segmented undergraduate experiences into an organized learning process. After several years of sporadic and isolated experiments with learning communities at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), in Fall 2001, two faculty codirectors and college administrators designed a program of faculty development, ongoing support, and substantial commitment to thorough assessment of the outcomes of the initiative. Twelve successful learning communities in the 2002-03 academic year, enrolling about 200 students, and thirteen learning communities in 2003-04, with another 200 students, provide an institutional base both for assessing what LCs have to offer in support of successful student learning at NEIU and whether and how those contributions are cost-effective. Results of a survey given in the last week of classes in the Fall 2003 term at NEIU indicated that LC students were more likely to report feeling good about how the term had gone, having a better experience at NEIU than expected, being challenged in their courses, and being likely to recommend NEIU to friends. The author contends that student surveys can be an important element in maintaining and improving efforts to enhance the educational experiences and opportunities of students. In addition, they can help make the case to those who must allocate increasingly stretched resources that the commitment to learning communities on a particular campus is worth it, both to the students involved and to the achievement of the institutional mission.
Descriptors: Academic Persistence, Academic Achievement, Community Programs, Student Surveys, Educational Experience, Faculty Development, Higher Education, Teacher Student Relationship, Undergraduate Students, Learning Processes, Active Learning, Test Anxiety
Jossey Bass. Available from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/86511121
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Survey of Student Engagement