A Comparative Analysis of Factors Promoting Academic and Social integration in First-Year Seminars At Three Regional Institutions in Texas

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Higher Edu and Learning Technology

Date of Award

Spring 2012


Approximately half the students who enroll at an institution will complete a bachelor's degree within six years (Kuh, Cruce, Shoup, Kinzie, & Gonyea, 2008). The majority of the students who decide to leave their initial institution do so during their first year (Tinto, 1993). Tinto reported that the withdrawal rate is highest during the first year for two reasons: lack of integration into campus life, and lack of academic preparation. Many institutions have implemented first-year seminars to assist students' academic and social integration. Correlational studies have specified the benefits of first-year seminars range from grade point average increases and higher levels of persistence to graduation. The purpose of this study was to examine differences in the effectiveness of first-year seminar sections by comparing sections taught by faculty, student affairs and institutional staff. The instrument used in this study was the College Learning Effectiveness Inventory (CLEI), and a demographic questionnaire was collected. There was a sample size of 285 from the three, 4-year, public, regionally-accredited institutions in Texas. This study tested three hypotheses and examined three research questions. Data related to the three hypotheses were analyzed using a Kruskal-Wallis test at a .05 significance. No significant difference in first-semester grade point averages was found between the three groups. There was no significant difference in the students' persistence rate between the three groups. No significant relationship was found for five of the six CLEI scores. However, there is a difference in the stress and time pressure score at one of the three institutions, with the difference occurring between the faculty-taught and other institutional staff-taught sections. Based on the findings, recommendations and implications are provided.


Madeline Justice

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Technology