Student Involvement: A developmental theory for higher education

Alexander Astin


A student development theory based on student involvement is presented and described, and the implications for practice and research are discussed.



The NSSE definition aligns with Astin’s classic definition of student involvement: “the amount of physical and psychological energy that the student devotes to the academic experience” (1984, p.297?) Therefore, the greater the student involvement, the greater the amount of learning. Astin contents that students’ mental and physical time and energy is finite and that all academic decisions must be based off of this, both pedagogical and administrative. This time and energy is viewed as an institutional resource and we must therefore move our attention away from content and technique towards motivation and student behavior.

APA Citation

Astin, A. (1984). Student involvement: a developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Personnel, 25, 297-308.

About the Study

Links to Article
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication Journal of College Student Personnel
Type of Research Theoretical
Research Design Not applicable
Intervention/Areas of Study Collaborative, group, or team-based learning
Level of Analysis
Specific Populations Examined Faculty, teachers, instructors, or staff
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest
Specific Course or Program Characteristics
Outcome Variables of Interest Learning effectiveness
Student Sample Size
Citing Articles,50&sciodt=0,50&hl=en