The Impact Of Clustering Freshman Seminars With English Composition Courses On New Students’ Grade Point Average And Retention Rates

Open Access
Author:
Crissman, Jennifer Lynne
Graduate Program:
Higher Education
Degree:
Doctor of Education
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
April 16, 1999
Committee Members:
  • Carol L Colbeck, Committee Member
  • Robert M Hendrickson, Committee Member
  • M Lee Upcraft, Committee Chair
  • Roger Lewis Geiger, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • Academic Achievement
  • Retention
  • Freshman Seminars
  • Clustering
Abstract:
This study evaluated the impact of clustering freshman seminars with English composition courses on new students’ first semester grade point averages and retention rates. The study occurred at a small, independent college in the northeast. To evaluate the impact of the cluster program (5 clustered sections, n = 90; 13 nonclustered sections, n = 237), both quantitative and qualitative research methods were utilized. This study produced mixed results. Quantitatively, using multivariate regression models, no statistical difference was found between the clustered and nonclustered students in their first semester grade point average or in their retention rates. Qualitatively, differences did exist. Students interviewed in a focus group settings offered varying opinions about their clustered experience. Overall, clustered students reported being more active learners, gaining more academic skills, developing closer friendships with peers, establishing more meaningful relationships with faculty members, and participating more in campus life than the nonclustered students.