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Effects of Participation in Multiple High-Impact Practices on Student Success

Author: Bettina Huber, California State University, Northridge


Building on the insights of AAC&U reports on high-impact practices, this research combines NSSE data with persistence data from a single campus to examine whether participation in high-impact practices has a positive effect on several measures of student success.

Although based on a series of regression analyses, the brief report presented here summarizes major findings rather than detailing techniques. It highlights the differential value a set of seniors at Cal State Northridge derive from participating in selected high-impact practices: service learning, internships, senior experience, research with faculty, and study abroad. Rather than examining the effect of these practices individually, the report focuses on the value of participating in more than one of them. The findings suggest that access to these practices does not vary by the socio-economic background of the diverse students at Cal State Northridge, but that students from disadvantaged backgrounds benefit disproportionately by participating in multiple high-impact practices.

Findings based upon a single set of NSSE data and from one campus can be no more than suggestive. It is hoped, however, that the approach described in the attached report may prove informative to campuses interested in understanding whether and how participation in high-impact practices affects the success of their students.