A Curricular Intervention for Teaching and Learning: Measurement of Gains of First-Year Student Learning

Thomas D. Cox, Mark A. Lemon


There is continued debate about the changing and varied nature of first year courses in American higher education institutions. Therefore more current research is needed to inform faculty and institutions as to the important areas of focus for teaching and learning in first year courses. This study is one possible approach to easily determine student “gains” as described by measured improvements in the selected areas. The purpose of this paper was to examine the observed gains of first year experience course students as measured by the College Student Success Factor Index (CSFI). The CSFI pretest and posttest was administered in the summer 2013 and summer 2014 semesters. The ten success indices of the CSFI were measured and gains were observed. The summer 2013 course taught as it had always been taught without focus on targeted factors of success. A curricular intervention was introduced into the summer 2014 course that includes the ten indices in the course learning assignments and outcomes. Possible differences or “gains” in learning will be described and includes implications for first year teaching and program design in colleges and universities.


college success, curriculum design, first-year experience, student learning, education, higher education

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14434/josotl.v16i3.19268

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ISSN 1527-9316