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

Publication Details

Intended and unintended consequences of first-year learning communities: An initial investigation


Author(s): Jaffee, D., Carle, A. C., Phillips, R., & Paltoo, L.

Citation: Jaffee, D., Carle, A. C., Phillips, R., & Paltoo, L. (2008). Intended and unintended consequences of first-year learning communities: An initial investigation. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 20(1), 53-70.

 

Abstract

Most of the research on first-year student learning communities (FLCs) focuses on the impact of these programs on student success and retention. This paper reports on the investigation of the impact of FLCs on social community, peer friendships, and classroom dynamics. The researchers identify sociological principles that account for the positive effects of FLCs on these phenomena but also show how these principles predict potential unintended negative consequences of FLCs. Collecting data from three types of first-year classes, the researchers examined the relationship between student participation in learning communities and reported level and intensity of various social group dynamics. The results suggest that FLCs can produce both positive and negative consequences.

 

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