Students' Academic Success and Its Association to Student Involvement with Learning and Relationships with Faculty and Peers

By Ullah, Hafeez; Wilson, Mardell A. | College Student Journal, December 2007 | Go to article overview

Students' Academic Success and Its Association to Student Involvement with Learning and Relationships with Faculty and Peers


Ullah, Hafeez, Wilson, Mardell A., College Student Journal


This study examines undergraduate students' academic achievement and its association with students' involvement with learning, students' relationships with faculty and students' relationships with peers at a Midwestern public University. To examine students' academic achievement, this study uses three years of data (2003-05) collected through the administration of the National Survey of Student Engagement. Using regression analysis, the study concludes that students' active involvement with learning positively influences their academic achievement. Moreover, students' relationships with faculty influence their academic achievement significantly. The relationship between students' connection with peers and academic achievement, however, is not simple. Female students' relationships with peers influence academic achievement positively. Whereas, male students' relationships with peers influence their academic achievement negatively. These finding provide valuable information in developing curricular and co-curricular programming. However, more information is needed to determine how the male-to-male peer relationship differs from their female counterparts, and whether there is a difference in academic achievement based upon relationships that are identified as more academically based versus those that are more socially grounded.

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Discovering tangible links to students' academic success in higher education has been the cornerstone for a multitude of research projects. Today, many institutions are eager to find new ways to utilize information from some of the more popular assessment instruments to help define student success on their campuses. One such popular evaluation is the National Survey of Student Engagement. Pairing information regarding student engagement to academic achievement can provide institutions with yet another perspective of what influences academic success.

Students 'Academic Achievement

Lufi (2003) examined student persistence in higher education. She found that academic persistence was positively associated with college grades. The persistent group had significantly higher GPA than the non-persistent group. It was concluded that success in college contributes to the ability to persist while lower grades hinder the ability to persist in college.

DeBerard, Spielmans, and Julka (2004) examined predictors of first-year academic achievement. They assessed students on various dimensions during the first week of their freshmen year, and at the beginning of the following academic year. Using a multiple linear regression model, they found that GPA and SAT scores accounted for a substantial variation in academic achievement. They reported that their model was useful in identifying students at high risk for low academic performance, as well as identifying appropriate intervention strategies for improving academic performance in the first-year.

Investigating the academic performance of transfer versus native students, Johnson (2005) found no difference between the two groups. The average GPA for out-of-state transfer students was higher (by an average of 0.03 grade points) than for state resident students. However, this difference in GPA disappeared when effects of high school GPA and graduation age were controlled.

Students' Engagement with Learning

Astin (1984) examined the connection between learning and students' involvement, and presented his theory of student development - that students learn by becoming involved. He proclaimed that students' learning and developmental outcomes are directly proportional to student involvement in the college experience; and it is both the quantity and quality of involvement that students invest in their college experience that make a difference. Students' involvement may take place in several forms such as academic activities, co-curricular activities, and interaction with peers, faculty and administration. …

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