ERIC Number: EJ936340
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 27
How Well Do Undergraduate Research Programs Promote Engagement and Success of Students?
Fechheimer, Marcus; Webber, Karen; Kleiber, Pamela B.
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v10 n2 p156-163 Sum 2011
Assessment of undergraduate research (UR) programs using participant surveys has produced a wealth of information about design, implementation, and perceived benefits of UR programs. However, measurement of student participation university wide, and the potential contribution of research experience to student success, also require the study of extrinsic measures. In this essay, institutional data on student credit-hour generation and grade point average (GPA) from the University of Georgia are used to approach these questions. Institutional data provide a measure of annual enrollment in UR classes in diverse disciplines. This operational definition allows accurate and retrospective analysis, but does not measure all modes of engagement in UR. Cumulative GPA is proposed as a quantitative extrinsic measure of student success. Initial results show that extended participation in research for more than a single semester is correlated with an increase in GPA, even after using SAT to control for the initial ability level of the students. While the authors acknowledge that correlation does not prove causality, continued efforts to measure the impact of UR programs on student outcomes using GPA or an alternate extrinsic measure is needed for development of evidence-based programmatic recommendations. (Contains 1 figure and 4 tables.)
Descriptors: Undergraduate Students, Student Research, Grade Point Average, College Credits, Enrollment, Learner Engagement, Academic Achievement, Program Effectiveness
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Georgia