Fall/Spring First-Year Student Success Efforts

Since last summer, OIRA has provided data to Associate Provost Scott Marzilli as he coordinated support for the fall 2023 first year students. This collaboration began with data analysis to identify a set of factors correlated with lower success rates that could be helpful for identifying students who would potentially need extra support to succeed in courses and be retained. A set of five pre-enrollment factors were found to be potentially useful for targeting support efforts and Associate Provost Marzilli coordinated efforts on campus to provide additional support to students with two or more of these factors. Further, early alert campaigns were used to collect information for all first-year students to identify those in need of additional support. 181 instructors provided 2-week and mid-term progress reports to alert students to issues with attendance, participation, or poor grades. Each alert triggered individual support from a success team, with 81 faculty and staff providing support to 742 first year students through the fall and spring campaigns.

Through the fall and spring, OIRA analyzed data from early alert campaigns and generated a series of infographics to keep Associate Provost Marzilli and the success teams informed about the impacts of the campaigns. Early analysis was used by Provost Marzilli to make adjustments, including adjusting the timing for the spring campaign and calling on success teams to make extra efforts to reach out to a group of students with alerts from multiple campaigns.

After the fall term, data analysis was completed to investigate academic outcomes for first-year students, with promising results. Overall, fall term GPA for the 2023 first-year full-time cohort was 3% higher than fall term GPA in 2021 or 2022, after adjusting for differences in pre-enrollment factors including high school GPA and percentage of students with one or more of the following characteristics (which we have labeled “barriers to success” due to their statistical correlation with less-favorable academic outcomes in prior cohorts): high school GPA below 3.0, first-generation, Pell eligible, underrepresented minority, and rural. Fall 2023 term GPA was 6% higher than fall 2021 or 2022 for students with two or more barriers to success. (Note: The statistical analyses are correlational in nature and cannot be interpreted as demonstrating a causal relationship between the success efforts and these outcomes.)