The Association of Multiple Experiential Learning Courses and Graduation Rate

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Swayze, Anita Carol
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Middle Tennessee State University
During the past several years, the federal and state governments have adopted a college completion agenda using graduation rates as evidence of student success. With the demand for increased accountability on colleges and universities to ensure student success, institutions of higher education are searching for more effective ways to help students achieve their academic and professional goals. Experiential learning has risen to the forefront as a high impact practice for increasing student persistence and ultimately graduation numbers. Although there has been significant research on the positive impact of experiential learning on student success, there is little research regarding the association between the number of experiential learning credit hours (courses) taken and graduation likelihood. This study was conducted to explore the relationship between the number of experiential learning courses taken and student graduation likelihood. Utilizing retrospective data obtained from a large public university in Tennessee, Pearson Chi- square tests were performed to analyze race, sex and number of experiential learning (EXL) credit hours on graduation likelihood. In addition, the researcher performed strength of association and effect size tests for each Chi-square analysis. Results demonstrate that there was a very significant association between EXL credit hours and graduation. The likelihood of student graduation showed strong incremental significance with each additional level of credit hours completed.
Experiential Learning, Hands-on Learning, High Impact Practices, Service Learning, Student Success, Work-based Learning, Higher education