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National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition

Publication Details

Learning communities and their effect on students’ cognitive abilities

Author(s): Walker, A. A.

Citation: Walker, A. A. (2003). Learning communities and their effect on students’ cognitive abilities. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 15(2), 11-33.



This study investigated the effects of learning communities on the cognitive development of first-year college students at a large, urban, highly selective, research university. Surveys administered during the fall and spring of the first college year determined that cluster participation was significantly and positively associated with all four cognitive outcomes: critical thinking, analytical thinking/problem solving, reading skills, and writing skills.


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