‘F’ the College Standards: a Closer Look into Academic Probation Horton’s (2015) research states “that nationally only 70% of all students in public high schools graduate and only 32% of all students leave high school qualified (or “college ready”) to attend four-year colleges (p 83). ” This means that a large portion of incoming students are likely to end up being at-risk or on academic probation. The news of bad marks affects students differently, according to Demetriou’s (2011) study, some find it as a wake up call, while others fall into a downward spiral.
Researchers have began to see which methods can boost hese students morale and their grades, in hopes to reach higher retention levels. Standards and Characteristics In order to achieve an academic probation’ standing, a student’s grade point average (GPA) must fall below a 2. 0; this is standard for a large majority of American universities, as a real world example, Angelo State University’s policy for academic standards will be utilized.
Angelo State’s policy is as follows: A student will be placed on academic probation at the end of the fall or spring semester in which the Angelo State University GPA is less than 2. 00. A student will be removed from academic robation at the end of any long semester or summer term if the Angelo State University GPA is 2. 00 or higher. (Angelo State University, 2016, p. 1) These standards fall in line with Horton’s (2015) qualitative research that breaks down a series of internal and external characteristics which ultimately contribute to a student falling into academic probation.
A few of the common characteristics are “those who have made poor choices or decisions that negatively impacted their academics, (b) adult students who return to higher education after an extended absence, or (c) students with academic or physical limitations ot identified before enrolling in higher education (p. 85). ” The article also identifies “that there were five categories of non- cognitive factors related to successful academic performance: academic behaviors, academic perseverance, academic mindsets, learning strategies, and social skills (p. 7). ”
These categories are then further broken down to show the importance and impact had on a student’s education. Ultimately, Horton (2015) ends with “[e]ducators need to be able to recognize high-risk behaviors of college students in order to become effective facilitators of student learning and success… a] reason for identifying student high-risk factors is to provide educators with a resource for understanding the types of issues that students bring to the educational experience.. p. 94). ”
William’s (2011) mixed methods of study focused on first year students that received a grade point average of a 1. 6 or below. The study followed a voluntary participant group of only 17 students, allowing William to maintain accurate participant feedback, while also statistically monitoring levels of improvement. The student demographics consisted of a majority of female, 76. 9%, and various races African American 58. 8%), Caucasian (38. 5%), and unidentified (7. 7%).
Key characteristics that impactede performance were “[m]ore than 75% of participants had never utilized any campus career resources and most of those who did (66. 7) used it for part-time job placement, not for career exploration… more than 60% of the participants hadn’t had any structured career guidance in their lifetime (Williams, 2011, p. 42). ” This ultimately led students to choose career options based on what their family or friends chose, leaving feelings of confusion and lack of commitment to their future career goals (Williams, 2011).
In rder to reach these students, researchers have been implementing a variety of interventions to see which makes the biggest impact, leaving students with better study skills and leading them to a path of success. Examples of intervention styles include: intrusive advising, early interventions, and the implementation of college specific programs. Interventions The three major interventions seen throughout research are intrusive advising, early interventions, and implementing college specific programs.
Intrusive advising, as defined in Higgen’s (2003) paragraph 10 (as cited in Preuss & Switalski’s (2008) rticle), is when “an advisor personally reaches out to students, meets with them, helps them identify the issues and situations contributing to their academic difficulty, helps them set short and long term goals, guides them through the development of a plan to accomplish their goals which includes advisor-student follow-up. advising the student’s relationship with the advisor, institution and self grows (p. 1).
This allows for and advisor-advisee relationship to develop, through means of a personal connection. The one-on-one approach allowed “the advisor to understand what was happening in the student’s life, both on nd off campus, and to guide the student through difficulties that occurred using a joint decision making process (p. 2). ” Through this meaningful relationship contributed to “a greater influence toward improved academic performance than probationary status alone and nominal participation with an academic advisor.
Students on probation who regularly ugh the interactions brought on by intrusive interacted with an academic assistance advisor where 28 percentage points less likely to be suspended, 25 percentage points more likely to improve their GPA, did not withdraw from the college, and were slightly more likely to advance to good tanding than students not participating in the intervention. Most of the comparisons of these differences were statistically significant (p. 3-4). ” Preuss & Switalski’s (2008) research proves that intrusive advising can be beneficial to students on academic probation.
The second style is to implement early interventions. Lizzio & Wilson’s (2013) quantitative article analyzes whether or not “an academic recovery intervention following the critical incident commencing students receiving feedback on their assessment performance in their first semester of university study has significant potential to reduce heir failure on subsequent tasks and enhance their longer term persistence and success (p. 111). ” They define their style of intervention as a style of intrusive advising, due to heavily relying on the relationship built between the university staff and student.
The study also considers the fact that student’s may not seek help due to the amount of academic independence stressed in the higher education environment, and the student ultimately feeling as if they are a failure when seeking help (Lizzio & Wilson, 2013). Lizzio & Wilson (2013) begin their intervention after the first major test in an introductory sychology class, most likely chosen because all students, no matter the major, must enroll in a psychology or sociology course.
The study received a wide variety of participants, to ensure that results could be generalized, and demographics included first-generation, mixed genders, and various races. The intervention utilized was mandatory tutoring, but the results of the study varied. Not all students who participated in tutoring passed the class. This could be due to lack of motivation, poor study strategies, or lack of connection with the material (Lizzio & Wilson, 2013). These gaps are what lead to he final type of intervention, implementing programs. The final style that majority of the researcher’s found useful is the implementation of various programs.
These programs address “concerns related to study skills that were commonly addressed [as] learning styles, studying for tests, test anxiety, time management, and how to approach writing a paper (Preuss & Switalkski, 2008, p. 2). ” The range and intensity levels of each program differ greatly, but Renzulli’s (2015) article takes a quantitative look into how a course can impact the student and what students actually use in the classroom. Her study carefully ollows 9 students through a three week session covering a multitude of study skills and habits that allow for students to take what fits their learning style.
The classes focused on goal setting, organization, time management, self-testing, using notes to effectively study, note taking strategies, and campus resources that could be beneficial (Renzulli, 2015). The findings showed a great increase in the amount of time spent studying, participants began using the skills in classrooms, and ultimately improved their overall g. p. a. Renzulli’s (2015) research also proves that it is beneficial for academic advisors to lead onversations about study habits. The implementation of similar programs can be simple to reproduce across campuses nationwide, and the information is flexible.
Any university can add or take away anything that is not seen as crucial or beneficial to their students (Renzulli, 2015). These programs can ultimately become a project for a team of academic advisors, which fits into their role. Roles Academic advisors are often the first point of contact for students who have recently found out they are on academic probation. Therefore, academic advisors play a critical role in helping students deal with and process this upsetting news as ell as set a path to return to good academic standing. Demetriou, 2001, p. 18)
Students may place blame on their status of academic probation as either an internal or external factor. An example of an external factor would be bad luck, while an internal factor could be considered as low ability. Both scenarios require a proper response from the academic advisor, to encourage the student and guide them to an more successful path. External factors are ones the students feel they have no control over, while internal can be managed through adjustments (Demetriou, 2001, p. 17).
When conversing with a tudent on academic probation, it is often critical to know if they are attributing their circumstance to internal or external factors. Common external factor excuses are “biased instruction, academic advising, or university policies (p. 19). ” If an advisor can help the student see their situation from another point of view, it could help factors to be seen as internal, therefor controllable (Demtriou, 2001). Demtriou (2001) aslo points out “[c]ollege students who feel in control of their academics are more likely to bounce back from setbacks such as academic probation (p. 19).
The main role of the advisor is to encourage reflection, respond to students, and increase motivation. In time of reflection, the student should be able to see a change in progress, and relate their courses to their future career. Responding to student often includes being supportive and encouraging, to help maintain a bond (Demtriou, 2011). Conclusion Researchers have been able to identify a large percentage of factors that contribute to a student’s g. p. a falling placing them on academic probation. These factors are addressed through varied methods that allow the issues to be addressed from multiple points of view.
These include intrusive advising, which focuses on developing a relationship. Implementing early interventions, focusing on tackling the problem before it officially starts. Last but not least, implementing programs that allows students to learn skills useful for studying, time management, organization, and note-taking. All of which can be useful, as long as the student feels their academics are in their control, which leads to the ultimate role of the advisor: encouraging students during this difficult time, while also helping them realize their faults, and work towards improvement.
Through all of this research, there is a demographic that is often ignored. Students pursing their master’s degree often face greater pressures, and often feel it is okay to give up due to their bachelor’s degree safety net. Their stressors include full jobs, or a career, families, relationships, bills, and much more. They should not be ignored just because they have earned a degree.