WWC review of this study

Academic advising: Measuring the effects of “proactive” interventions on student outcomes.

Finnie, R., Fricker, T., Bozkurt, E., Poirier, W., Pavlic, D., & Pratt, M. (2017). Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. https://heqco.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Effects-of-Proactive-Interventions-FINAL.pdf.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    4,687
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: September 2021

At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Progressing in college outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Leaving Rate

Proactive advising vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Aggregated sample;
4,687 students

14.03

16.00

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Leaving Rate

Proactive advising vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Group advising;
3,172 students

13.50

16.00

Yes

 
 
5

Leaving Rate

Proactive advising vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

One-to-One Advising;
3,082 students

14.60

16.00

No

--

Leaving Rate

Proactive advising vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Group Advising;
3,172 students

28.80

31.20

No

--

Leaving Rate

Proactive advising vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Aggregated sample;
4,686 students

29.67

31.20

No

--

Leaving Rate

Proactive advising vs. Business as usual

1 Year

One-to-One advising;
3,081 students

30.60

31.20

No

--


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: 49%
    Male: 51%
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    International

Setting

The study is set in Mohawk College, Ontario, Canada. The college offers programs of varying lengths, ranging from certificate courses to four-year degree programs. The study focuses on first-year students, entering in fall of 2015.

Study sample

In total, 4,715 students were randomly assigned to one of three groups: 1,614 were assigned to group advising, 1,524 were assigned to one-on-one advising, and 1,577 were assigned to a business-as-usual comparison condition. Just under half (49%) of the students were female and about one-quarter were 18 years old or younger, while about half were between 19-22 years old. Race, ethnicity, and financial status were not reported.

Intervention Group

Six weeks before the start of fall classes, students in both treatment conditions received an email with information similar to the business-as-usual comparison condition. These emails mentioned advisers and services available, provided advising materials, and encouraged students to meet with their adviser. In the group advising condition, the email also strongly encouraged students to participate in an introductory group advising session within the six-week period before the start of classes. In the one-on-one advising condition, the email strongly encouraged students to participate in a one-on-one advising appointment prior to the start of classes. In both intervention groups, students who did not participate in the offered session/appointment were sent the email a second and third time, followed by a phone call from a student leader. Students who attended the advising sessions were given advising materials, a tip sheet for student success, a checklist of items to complete before the first day of classes, and copies of admissions information previously sent from the college.

Comparison Group

Students in the business-as-usual comparison group received the same initial email as students in other groups, but while the email informed students about advising resources that would be available after the start of classes, the email did not encourage students to sign up for pre-matriculation advising.

Support for implementation

The research team coordinated the advising sessions, and sessions were all facilitated in a single location on campus.

 

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