Civitas Learning Student Success Impact Report   |   2023

Closing the Student Impact Gap: How Institutions are Evolving Student Success with Data-Activated Strategies

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We examined a range of student success services, from advising appointments to library resources, to identify key trends and insights across Civitas Learning partners. This analysis spans 18 months between the summer of 2021 and the end of the calendar year 2022. It encompasses over 500 initiatives across 48 institutions, serving 3.9 million students.

The full 28 page report shares many findings, from high-impact practices to cautionary tales about strategies that may cause more harm than good. Impact is measured using percentage-point (PP) lift that each type of initiative had on persistence, a leading indicator of student success.

Here we share a few highlights from our community:

  • Invest in Faculty Development
  • Well-Designed Early Alert Programs Matter
  • Student-Driven Degree Planning Works Best
  • Cultivate Belonging and Connection
  • Different Students Benefit from Different Services
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Student success impact shifts in recent years


3 Highest Impact student Success Initiatives, 2019 vs. 2023

Infographic comparing 2019 and 2023 Student Success Impact Report Top Initiatives

Although many top practices from 2019 still significantly impact student persistence in 2023, investment in supports that focus on supporting students throughout the entire student experience made the most impact across the Civitas Learning community.

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Faculty Development is one of the most impactful investments for student persistence


Impact of Faculty Development vs. Other Traditional Academic Services

Chart sharing finding from 2023 Civitas Learning Student Success Trend Report that Faculty Development lifted persistence by 11.4 percentage points at some partner institutions.

Analysis of effective community practice sends a clear message – Stronger faculty are good for student success:

  • Investment in faculty training and certification yielded a significant increase in persistence.
  • Because faculty are the primary connection point for many students, well-trained faculty can significantly impact success

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Prioritizing student connection & intentional implementation are critical for Early Alert Programs


Potential Problems with Early Alerts, Showing a Decrease in Student Success

Findings from the 2023 Student Impact Report reveal that how Early Alerts are resolved makes a big difference for student success.

Analysis of early alert programs revealed they can often negatively impact student success. The design and implementation of early alert programs are critical to:

  • Successfully engage students and cultivate a sense of community and belonging
  • Feasibly operationalize programs for leaders and their teams
  • Sustainably allow advisors and other professionals to take meaningful action

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Student-prepared degree planning promotes persistence more than advisor-prepared plans


Advisor-Prepared Degree Plans vs. Student-Made Degree Plans:

Chart from Civitas Learning 2023 Student Impact Report sharing impact of Advisor Made Degree Plans vs. Guided Student Made Degree Plans

Advisors preparing degree plans for students might seem like an easy way to keep students on track. Our analysis shows that advisor-designed degree plans can harm student success.

Instead, students taking the lead in their degree planning with the support of an advisor:

  • Allows them to take an active role in preparing for their future
  • Improves their understanding of their degree program requirements
  • Fosters connection and communication with their advisor
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Cultivating belonging & connection are integral components of holistic support


Most Impactful Student Engagement Activities

Findings from the 2023 Student Impact Report reveal that Student Engagement opportunities significantly impact persistence.

There is a growing trend among institutions to emphasize students’ connections to their peers and school. Findings from the Civitas Learning community revealed:

  • Experiences that build engagement and interaction with the institution promote belonging
  • Positive student experiences are critical to success, and investment in a combination of strategies that support the whole student can significantly improve persistence
  • Learning commons can have a 2-3 higher positive impact on persistence for STEM students, online students, and student who are less likely to persist next term
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Different students benefit from different support services & interventions


What Works Best for Which Students

Findings from the 2023 Student Impact Report reveal that different student populations benefit from different supports.

The student success work of our partners across 3.9 million students reminds us that different students benefit from different supports. By analyzing student data for different populations, institutions can:

  • Move beyond one-size-fits-all student success methods by targeting how they market their offerings, organize their programs, and engage their students
  • Maximize their investment by ensuring that the right combination of interventions reaches the right students
  • Realize cumulative benefits from their student success programs, with the capability to measure how different students respond to interventions over time and adjust accordingly
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Cover art for the Civitas Learning 2023 Student Success Impact Report: Closing the Student Impact Gap: Maximize Student Success with Data-Activated Strategies

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