Co-Curricular Activities Promote Better Student Learning Outcomes

Topics: Reserve Officers' Training Corps, Higher education, University Pages: 22 (2360 words) Published: February 9, 2014
CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES &
STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES

October 2011

Contact:
Andy Zehner
256 Schleman Hall
494-6743
alzehner@purdue.edu

Summary
Methodology







This report assesses the academic performance of students who are heavily involved in co-curricular activities. Air Force ROTC, Army ROTC, Bands & Orchestras, Navy ROTC and Purdue Musical Organizations are included. Presidential Scholars and Trustees Scholars are also included to allow comparison. The analysis looks at student performance across six semesters, Fall 2008 to Spring 2011. The dataset contains 7,392 records for engaged students and 182,666 records for all Purdue students. Students’ academic performance is measured in terms of semester GPA and credits earned in a semester.

Findings







Engaged students earn higher GPAs and more credit
hours than Purdue students overall.
o 36.8% of all students earn both 15 or more
credits and a 3.0 or higher semester GPA.
o 51.8% of students in the five programs earn both
15 or more credits and a 3.0 or higher semester
GPA.
Engaged students perform better even when SAT
scores, academic major and other factors are
controlled.
Engaged students’ average GPA exceeds the
average GPA for all students at every SAT level.
Engaged students’ average GPA exceeds the
average GPA for all students in every undergraduate grade classification and most colleges.

80%

Engaged students earn more
credits & higher GPAs

70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
15+ Credits

3.0+ GPA

Engaged Students

Commentary








Directors of the five programs explain the results by a combination of factors. Members in the programs tend to be excellent students.
All members receive close supervision regarding their studies and academic goals. Academic performance is stressed as a prerequisite for participation in the program. Tutoring is arranged for members who need special help.

Members are taught to manage their time well.
Activity in other clubs and activities is discouraged for students who fall below expectations.

Recommendations
Recommendations are presented on page 24 of this report.

Both 15 and 3.0

All Purdue Students

Section 1: Introduction
The university years are spent only partly in the classroom, library and laboratory. Students also devote considerable time to co-curricular activities. Clubs, student organizations and other programs help to make college memorable and pleasurable. These outside-the-classroom activities are vital to the full, formative, college experience. And there is ample evidence that extra- or co-curricular activities bring benefits beyond enjoyment. One well-documented benefit is improved retention:

The . . . evidence consistently indicates that student involvement – both generally and in an array of academic and social areas or activities – is related in some fashion to intended or actual persistence into the next 1

academic year.
This report provides some insights into the effects of engagement on other important student outcomes. We compare the academic performance of students who are heavily engaged in co-curricular activities with the general undergraduate student population of Purdue University. The analysis shows that the academic attainment of the heavily engaged students compares favorably to that of students in general. The time they devote to activities outside of class does not cause observable diminution in academic attainment. To the contrary, heavily engaged students excel in academic outcomes.

CO-CURRICULAR ENGAGEMENT AT PURDUE
Some level of co-curricular activity or involvement is common among Purdue students. Three out of four Purdue students allocate at least some time each week to co-curricular activities. About one in four undergraduates spends more than 10 Chart 1

Participation in Co-Curricular Activities
Hours per Week
35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
0
hours

1-5
hours...
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