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

Publication Details

First-Generation College Student Achievement and the First-Year Seminar: A Quasi-Experimental Design


Author(s): Vaughan, A., Parra, J., & Lalonde, T.

Citation: Vaughan, A., Parra, J., & Lalonde, T. (2014). First-Generation College Student Achievement and the First-Year Seminar: A Quasi-Experimental Design. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 26(2), 51-67.

 

Abstract

Research has shown consistently that first-generation college students are less prepared academically for college, have a higher risk for dropping out, and are less likely to obtain a degree. This study investigated the effect of first-generation students’ participation in a first-year seminar (FYS) on academic achievement and persistence to the second semester compared to nonparticipants. The authors collected data from 266 first-generation students in an FYS and used a quasi-experimental design incorporating hierarchical propensity score matching techniques to form quasi-control groups. The results show the seminar had a significant positive effect on achievement (an overall GPA difference of 0.71 points) and persistence (an overall 17% difference).

 

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