WWC review of this study

Against the odds: The impact of the key communities at Colorado State University on retention and graduation for historically underrepresented students.

Nosaka, T., & Novak, H. (2014). Learning Communities Research and Practice, 2(2), 3.

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
     examining 
    3,982
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: June 2020

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Progressing in college outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Second-Fall Retention

Key Communities (Key) program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
3,982 students

88.24

80.40

Yes

 
 
9
 


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 64%
    Male: 36%

  • Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    Colorado
  • Race
    Other or unknown
    100%

Setting

"Key" is a first-year program that was implemented at Colorado State University. Students enrolled in the Key program participated in one of five communities: Key Academic; Key Culture, Communication, and Sport; Key Explore; Key Health Professions; and Key Service. Students within each community were organized into smaller clusters of 19 students.

Study sample

Based on the descriptive statistics presented in the study for Key students, 64% were female, 45% were minority; and 32 percent were Pell grant recipients.

Intervention Group

Key was a first-year program that was implemented at Colorado State University. Students enrolled in the Key program participate in one of five communities: Key Academic; Key Culture, Communication, and Sport; Key Explore; Key Health Professions; and Key Service. The intervention included a two-day Key Orientation that took place prior to the start of the fall semester of the first year. Key also included a shared residential experience, where all first-year Key students lived together in a centrally located hall. The intervention also included learning communities, where clusters of 19 students attended the same freshman seminar and one-to-two university core courses.

Comparison Group

The comparison group included non-Key students who received business-as-usual curriculum and services provided by Colorado State University.

Support for implementation

Key staff included mentors, full-time Key coordinators, and Key seminar faculty.

 

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