Effective Instruction and College Student Persistence: Some new evidence

E. T. Pascarella
T. A. Seifert
E. J. Whitt


An extensive body of correlational and experimental evidence has demon- started the positive (and perhaps causal) link between different dimensions of effective postsecondary classroom instruction and both course-level learning and more general cognitive growth (for a summary of this research, see Pascarella and Terenzini, 1991, 2005). In this chapter, we present evidence from a longitudinal study of first-year students at a large research university to suggest that overall exposure to organized and clear classroom instruction may also have positive net effects on the probability of returning to an institution for the second year of college.



Students who are exposed to well organized and clear instructions are positive indicators for first-year college students to enroll in a second year. This is true even holding post-graduation education plans and cumulative GPA after the first year when holding other variables constant including ACT scores and other experiences and involvements.

Because classroom organization and instructional organization is important to retention, faculty-to-student interactions are highly important for students to reenroll in a second year of college. As such, it is seen that positive-faculty interaction and positive experiences in the classroom are salient issues when students are deciding to continue their education at an intuition. For this reason, the researchers suggest increased resources be spent on faculty pedagogical and teaching skills and training.

This study was done as an extension of Braxton, Bray, and Berger (2000), and follows 1,353 first-year students at a large midwestern public university over the course of their first two years. Most students reenroll for a second year (90.8%).

APA Citation

Pascarella, E. T., Seifert, T. A., & Whitt, E. J. (2008). Effective instruction and college student persistence: Some new evidence. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, (115), 55-70.

About the Study

Links to Article https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=5%2C50&sciodt=0%2C50&cites=1630230281458901912&scipsc=&q=Effective+instruction+and+college+student+persistence%3A+Some+new+evidence&btnG=
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication New Directions for Teaching and Learning
Type of Research Quantitative
Research Design Survey research (qualitative or quantitative)
Intervention/Areas of Study Engagement, Instructor-student interactions, Student motivation
Level of Analysis Student-level
Specific Populations Examined First-year students, Undergraduates
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest 4-year Institution, Doctorate-granting, Public
Specific Course or Program Characteristics Large enrollment
Outcome Variables of Interest Academic achievement or performance, including assessment scores and course grades, Persistence, Retention, Satisfaction
Student Sample Size 500 +
Citing Articles https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=7904628726068872451&as_sdt=5,50&sciodt=0,50&hl=en