OIRAE briefing examines Summer Start program’s impact on retention and first semester GPA

Twenty Purdue students, who without participating in the inaugural Summer Start program would not have been admitted to Purdue, earned dean’s list and semester honors for the fall 2016 semester.

The latest briefing from the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment and Effectiveness (OIRAE) examines the effects of Summer Start, a credit-bearing five-week program for incoming freshmen that launched in 2016. The first cohort of students had just missed directly qualifying for fall entry, but were admitted on the condition they participate in the Summer Start program.

A public forum on the report will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, March 13, in the Purdue Graduate Student Center, Room 105 A/B.

Participants attended six credits worth of classes and a one-credit seminar focused on how to have a successful first-year experience; engaged in learning community and extracurricular success activities; and went on to attend Boiler Gold Rush to complete their summer session.

OIRAE compared the Summer Start students, who had either lower standardized test scores or high school GPAs, to similar at-risk students following the completion of the fall semester. According to the briefing, the Summer Start students had a slightly lower fall 2016 GPA, 2.39, than the comparable at-risk group, 2.67. However, their overall GPA was slightly higher, because the Summer Start students had performed better in their summer courses than in the fall. The briefing notes that this could be due to the focused support and smaller class sizes provided by the summer program.

Before the program, OIRAE predicted that 81 percent of Summer Start students would be below a 2.5 GPA after the fall semester, but after participating in the program, 41 percent actually earned below a 2.5. Summer Start students’ retention rate was also slightly lower than the comparable at-risk group’s, 92.4 percent versus 95.5 percent.

OIRAE concludes that with additional support beyond the summer term, such as more learning community involvement and added success coaching, it’s likely more students could be retained and that they could improve their first semester academic performance.

To read February's briefing visit: http://www.purdue.edu/oirae/documents/OIRAE_Briefings/Summer_Start_Feb_2017.pdf

Writer: Kirsten Gibson, technology writer, Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP), 765-494-8190, gibson33@purdue.edu

Last Updated: March 8, 2016

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