HELPING STRUGGLING STUDENTS SUCCEED: BEST PRACTICES IN ACADEMIC PROBATION INTERVENTIONS Kevin Friedman, Hillary Kovacs, & Amy Corron Miami University
Overview ¨ ¨ ¨
Common Terminology Theoretical Foundations Academic Probation Interventions ¤
Virginia Tech ¤ San Diego State ¤ California State University, Long Beach ¤ Additional Interventions ¨ ¨
Miami University Specific Intervention Applicability ¤
Small Group Discussions
Definition of Academic Probation ¨
Students who do not meet academic standards for one or more semesters
Typically involves a student’s grade point average dipping below a definite level
Excess of 10% of students on academic probation
High risk of attrition
Student Placement into Academic Probation ¨
Universal across institution type
Top reasons include: ¤ Family ¤ Work
¤ Inappropriate ¤ Failure
to adjust to increased expectations
Tinto & Retention
Astin’s Input-Environment-Outcome model
Weiner & Achievement
(Tinto, 1993; Astin, 1993; Weiner, 1979; Hanger, Goldenson, Weinberg, Schmitz-Sciborski, & Monzon, 2011)
Academic Probation Interventions
Virginia Tech ¨
Project Success ¤ Small
groups of students
staff, and/or peer facilitators
¤ Reflective ¨
Reasons for intervention success ¤ Intensive ¤ Aids
in sense of belonging
information related to academic success and skills (attendance, goal-setting, time (Humphrey, management, etc.)
San Diego State University ¨
Bounce Back Retention Program (BBRP) ¤ Semester-long ¤ Mental
health professionals and peer coaches
¤ Maximum ¨
of 15 students per class
Reasons for intervention success ¤ Multiple
ways to engage with topics
student strengths and addresses selfdefeating attitudes (Hanger et al., 2011)
California State University, Long Beach ¨
Student Affirmative Action Program ¤ Ongoing
advising and counseling sessions
¤ Orientation ¤ Signed ¨
at outset of probation
Reasons for intervention success ¤ Individual
and consistent sessions
reasons for academic probation (Ramirez & Evans,
Additional Interventions Canadian University Â¨
Personal outreach to students on probation in form of both form letter and phone conversation with university staff
Southwestern US University Â¨
Success course for students on academic probation
(James & Graham, 2010; McGrath & Burd,
Miami University Specific Intervention
Reaches across the university ¤ Office
of Residence Life
¤ Student ¨
Focus on first- and second-year students ¤ Divisions
and colleges focus on juniors and seniors
Definitions Academic Warning
Academic Suspensio n
• For “transition semester” • Cum. GPA falls below 2.0 • Student with more than 16 credithours • Cum. GPA falls below 2.0 • Student with more than 29 credithours • Semester GPA is below 2.0
Tier-Specific Interventions ¨
Academic Warning ¤ ¤ ¤
Academic Probation ¤ ¤
Academic Advisor Academic Specialist LASSI Trained Intervention Specialist EDT 110/academic coaching
Academic Suspension ¤ ¤ ¤
Leave university for two academic semesters Phone conversation with Learning Specialist and Divisional Advisor Re-entry application
Success Rates ¨
Academic Warning ¤
No longer on probation n
Academic Probation ¤
5% (of second-year students)
No longer on probation n
8% (of first-year students)
Academic Suspension ¤
What are some central themes?
How can your institution apply these themes to better support students on academic probation?
Astin, A. W. (1993). What matters in college: four critical years revisited. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Demetrious, C. (2011). The attribution theory of learning and advising students on academic probation. NACADA Journal, 31(2), 16-21.
Hanger, M. A., Goldenson, J., Weinberg, M., Schmitz-Sciborski, A., & Monzon, R. (2011). The bounce back retention program: One-year follow-up study. Journal of College Student Retention; Research, Theory & Practice, 13(2), 205-227.
Humphrey, E. (2006). Project success: Helping probationary students achieve academic success. Journal of College Student Retention; Research, Theory & Practice, 7(3-4), 147-163.
James, C. L. & Graham, S. (2010). An empirical study of students on academic probation. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students Transition, 22(2), 71-92.
McGrath, S. M. & Burd, G. D. (2012). A success course for freshmen on academic probation: Persistence and graduation outcomes. NACADA Journal, 32(1), 43-52.
Ramirez, G. M. & Evans, R. J. (1988). Solving the probation puzzle: A student affirmative action program. NACADA Journal, 8(2), 34-45.
Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Weiner, B. (1979). A theory of motivation for some classroom experiences. Journal of Educational Psychology, 71(1), 3–25.
Kevin Friedman •
Amy Corron •
Hillary Kovacs •