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ACT’s Habley Co-Authors New Book on College Student Success

August 8 2012

A new book co-authored by Wesley R. Habley, ACT’s principal associate in educational services and coordinator of state organizations, has been released to the public. Increasing Persistence: Research-Based Strategies for College Student Success, co-written by Habley, Jennifer L. Bloom, and Steve Robbins, is a compendium on college student persistence that bridges the gaps between theory, research, and successful practice.

Current research indicates that one-third of students who enter higher education in a given fall term will not return for a second year, and four in ten college students will never earn a degree at any time in their lives.  
Increasing Persistence focuses on three conditions essential for college student success: students must actually learn something; they must be motivated, committed, engaged, and self-regulating; and they must connect with educational programs that are consistent with their interests and abilities. The authors offer a detailed discussion of the four intervention areas that have consistently supported those three conditions: assessment and course placement, learning assistance, academic advising, and transition programming.

While calling for intensified efforts in the four intervention areas, the authors believe that institutional efforts alone may not be enough to ensure that more students are successful in college.

“In spite of intense efforts to retain and graduate students, there has been little change in the percentage of students who are retained and graduated,” said Habley. “Accountability measures still focus on the percentage of students who enroll at an institution, are retained, persist, and graduate from that institution in a reasonable period of time.”

The book’s final section presents the case for an expanded student success paradigm which supports transparent movement of students between and among institutions and provides recommendations for policy-makers and practitioners. Increasing Persistence is available now through many online booksellers.