Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education

Arthur Chickering
Zelda Gamson


Seven principles that can help to improve undergraduate education are identified. Based on research on college teaching and learning, good practice in undergraduate education: (1) encourages contacts between students and faculty; (2) develops reciprocity and cooperation among students; (3) uses active learning techniques; (4) gives prompt feedback; (5) emphasizes time on task; (6) communicates high expectations; and (7) respects diverse talents and ways of learning. Examples of approaches that have been used in different kinds of college in the last few years are described. In addition, the implications of these principles for the way states fund and govern higher education and for the way institutions are run are briefly discussed. Examples of good approaches include: freshman seminars on important topics taught by senior faculty; learning groups of five to seven students who meet regularly during class to solve problems set by the instructor; active learning using structured exercises, discussions, team projects, and peer critiques, as well as internships and independent study; and mastery learning, contract learning, and computer-assisted instruction approaches, which required adequate time on learning


College Instruction, Educational Principles, Expectation, Feedback, Higher Education, Instructional Improvement, Learning Activities, Peer Relationship, Student Participation, Teacher Student Relationship, Time on Task, Undergraduate Study


The authors identify seven principles of good teaching which are:
1. Encourages contacts between students
and faculty.
2. Develops reciprocity and cooperation
among students.
3. Uses active learning techniques.
4. Gives prompt feedback
5. Emphasizes time on task
6. Communicates high expectations.
7. Respects diverse talents and ways of
These principles are still effective in today's educational environment whether the teaching happens online or in-person.

APA Citation

Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE bulletin, 3, 7.

About the Study

Links to Article
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication American Association of Higher Education
Type of Research
Research Design Not applicable
Intervention/Areas of Study Course design
Level of Analysis Instructor-level
Specific Populations Examined
Peer-Reviewed Unknown
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest
Specific Course or Program Characteristics
Outcome Variables of Interest Instructional effectiveness
Student Sample Size
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