Impact Study

Joshua Schutts, the Associate Director for Institutional Effectiveness at the University of
West Florida (UWF), conducted this study to determine whether student participation
in UWF Housing and Residence Life served as a viable predictor of student
achievement and persistence on four specific measures.
Data from newly enrolled, full-time, degree-seeking, freshman, first-time-in-college
(FTIC) students were aggregated into a single dataset composed of records from the Fall
2010, Fall 2011, and Fall 2012 cohort years. To reduce bias from potential confounding
factors, the researcher matched residential and commuter students with similar
characteristics (covariates) prior to analysis. The researcher then tested the resulting
subset of students, with the characteristics themselves further serving as control
variables. Summary-level data from the analyses are presented in the following table.
Relationships are also described and interpreted for each research question.
Overall, the results of these analyses provided strong evidence to suggest that student
participation in UWF Housing and Residence Life during one’s first year had an effect
on several of the student success outcomes under study. When living in residence is
tested in isolation, it significantly predicted GPA and earned credit hours in the first fall
semester, persistence into the first spring semester, and retention into the 2013-2014
academic year. Students living in residence made significantly lower GPAs; however,
they earn more credit hours in the first fall semester, were more likely to persist to the
first spring semester (until one accounts for first semester GPA), and were more likely
to be retained into the 2013-2014 academic year than first-year commuter students.
Ultimately, living in residence one’s first-year had a significant unique effect on the
majority of these outcomes. Based on results from this sample, personnel should begin
focusing efforts to increase GPA in the first fall semester, which was the only negative
outcome of students living in residence during their first year at UWF. Personnel
should also begin identifying creative and effective methods of increasing earned credit
hours and retention within first-year commuter student populations., Accreditation, Strategic Planning, and Institutional Research & Effectiveness
(ASPIRE)
Download pdf
Abstract/Description: Joshua Schutts, the Associate Director for Institutional Effectiveness at the University of West Florida (UWF), conducted this study to determine whether student participation in UWF Housing and Residence Life served as a viable predictor of student achievement and persistence on four specific measures. Data from newly enrolled, full-time, degree-seeking, freshman, first-time-in-college (FTIC) students were aggregated into a single dataset composed of records from the Fall 2010, Fall 2011, and Fall 2012 cohort years. To reduce bias from potential confounding factors, the researcher matched residential and commuter students with similar characteristics (covariates) prior to analysis. The researcher then tested the resulting subset of students, with the characteristics themselves further serving as control variables. Summary-level data from the analyses are presented in the following table. Relationships are also described and interpreted for each research question. Overall, the results of these analyses provided strong evidence to suggest that student participation in UWF Housing and Residence Life during one’s first year had an effect on several of the student success outcomes under study. When living in residence is tested in isolation, it significantly predicted GPA and earned credit hours in the first fall semester, persistence into the first spring semester, and retention into the 2013-2014 academic year. Students living in residence made significantly lower GPAs; however, they earn more credit hours in the first fall semester, were more likely to persist to the first spring semester (until one accounts for first semester GPA), and were more likely to be retained into the 2013-2014 academic year than first-year commuter students. Ultimately, living in residence one’s first-year had a significant unique effect on the majority of these outcomes. Based on results from this sample, personnel should begin focusing efforts to increase GPA in the first fall semester, which was the only negative outcome of students living in residence during their first year at UWF. Personnel should also begin identifying creative and effective methods of increasing earned credit hours and retention within first-year commuter student populations.