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ERIC Number: EJ804747
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 87
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 192
ISSN: ISSN-1551-6970
Theoretical Perspectives on Student Success: Understanding the Contributions of the Disciplines
Perna, Laura W.; Thomas, Scott L.
ASHE Higher Education Report, v34 n1 p1-87 Sum 2008
Over the past fifty years, federal and state governments, colleges and universities, and other organizations have developed and supported numerous policies and practices that are designed to promote student success. Among the most extensive and visible efforts are the federally sponsored programs established under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, including the federal Pell grant program, Stafford student loan program, and TRIO programs. Despite the substantial investment in these and other programs, gaps in student success persist. Based on its review of student success research, the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) noted the need "for a more conceptual and reflective approach to notions of access, retention, success, and opportunity that takes into account the multiple pathways that individuals take to postsecondary attainment and acknowledges the variability of how these terms are defined by different consumers, communities, and policymakers" (2005, p. 21). This monograph addresses this need by proposing an overarching conceptual framework that policymakers, practitioners, and researchers may use to guide the development, implementation, and evaluation of policies and practices for improving success for all students and reducing persisting racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic gaps in student success. The framework does not provide a model for understanding any specific student success outcome or stage, but it is designed to bring order to the wide array of theoretical and methodological approaches that, only when considered together, provide a comprehensive understanding of the ways that policymakers and practitioners may more usefully intervene to effectively promote student success. After describing the authors' approach and procedures, the monograph presents the results of a multidisciplinary examination of the theoretical and methodological approaches that researchers have used to inform knowledge and understanding of student success. Then, the monograph presents and describes a conceptual model for tying these perspectives together. The monograph concludes with recommended uses of the proposed model for policy, practice, and further research. (Contains 2 figures.)
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:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Higher Education Act 1965; Pell Grant Program; Stafford Student Loan Program