Living-learning communities and ethnicity: A study on closing the achievement gap at Regional University
Description: This quasi-experimental study examined the impact of living-learning communities on GPA and fall-to-fall retention rates for college freshmen at Regional University (RU). The specific focus of this study was the effect of these communities on students of different ethnic groups and on the potential of these communities to reduce the academic performance gap. RU was a small public university that offered both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. RU required all freshman students to live on campus in living-learning communities beginning with the 2007-2008 academic year. This study utilized the 343 student freshman cohort class of 2008 in the living-learning communities as the treatment group. This treatment group was compared against the 193 student freshman cohort class of 2008 living off campus and against the 643 student freshman cohort class of 2006 living on campus prior to the implementation of living-learning communities. In addition, the statistics were analyzed by ethnicity to examine the impact of these communities on White, Hispanic, African American, and Native American students and their ability to reduce the academic performance gap. The research revealed that the communities implemented at RU were not statistically significant at improving academic performance or at reducing the achievement gap. The results of this study were not consistent with the literature available on living-learning communities. Current research identifies six fundamental factors critical to the success of living-learning communities: positive working relationship between academic affairs and student affairs, involvement of faculty in the residence halls, appropriate funding, assessment strategies, university wide buy-in to implementing these communities, and commitment from institutional leadership. Examination of the inputs and processes on which these learning communities developed and operated indicated that the majority of these were not well developed to sustain these communities. The divergence of these findings from the literature may be attributed to key departures from ...
Date: May 2010
Creator: Bewley, Jason Loyd
Partner: UNT Libraries