Electronic Theses and Dissertations




Paul Watkins



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Higher and Adult Education


Higher Education

Committee Chair

Patricia H Murrell

Committee Member

Jeffery Wilson

Committee Member

Larry McNeal

Committee Member

Louis A Franceschini


The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of the learning community program at a small liberal arts college on educational outcomes as measured by differences in semester GPA between learning community participants and non-participants, as well as differences between types of learning communities, time of participation in learning communities, and the effect of demographic variables and prior attainment (converted SAT scores). Data was provided by a small liberal arts college on 294 participants. The sample was composed of 152 students who participated in a learning community and 142 who did not participate in a learning community for a total sample of 294 subjects. To address the four research questions posed in this study, the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to conduct hierarchical multiple regressions as well as an ANCOVA. The dependent variables considered were first semester GPA, second-semester GPA, and converted SAT score for research question 1. The independent variables considered were learning community, gender, ethnicity, and converted SAT score. The results of the study indicate no effectiveness of participation in learning communities on improving student academic performance. None of the analyses showed any type of positive influence of the learning communities at the small liberal arts college on GPA. In addition, the hierarchical multiple regressions on Fall GPA and Spring GPA both showed that participation in a learning community indicated lower GPA. This result was more pronounced in the fall than in the spring.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.