"Engagement increases the odds that any student—educational and social background notwithstanding—will attain his or her educational and personal objectives, acquire the skills and competencies demanded by the challenges of the twenty-first century, and enjoy the intellectual and monetary gains associated with the completion of the baccalaureate degree."
—George D. Kuh in High-Impact Educational Practices 

High-Impact Practices

In Disrupting Ourselves: The Problem of Learning in Higher Education, Randy Bass summarizes Kuh and expands on curricular considerations. Here's an excerpt:

In 2008, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) published a now-familiar list of what is referred to as “high-impact practices.” These are the college experiences that highly correlate to the most powerful learning outcomes. Students’ participation in one or more of these practices had the greatest impact on success, on retention, on graduation, on transfer, and on other measures of learning:

  • First-year seminars and experiences
  • Common intellectual experiences
  • Learning communities
  • Writing-intensive courses
  • Collaborative assignments and projects
  • Undergraduate research
  • Diversity / global learning (study abroad)
  • Service learning, community-based learning
  • Internships
  • Capstone courses and projects

These are called “high-impact practices” because participation in them correlates with high retention and persistence rates. These practices also have high impact because they induce, according to George Kuh, student behaviors that lead to meaningful learning gains. The important student behaviors include the following:

  • Investing time and effort
  • Interacting with faculty and peers about substantive matters
  • Experiencing diversity
  • Responding to more frequent feedback
  • Reflecting and integrating learning
  • Discovering relevance of learning through real-world application