The Role of a Skills Learning Support Program on First-Generation College Students' Self-Regulation, Motivation, and Academic Achievement: A Longitudinal Study

Wibrowski, Connie R.; Matthews, Wendy K.; Kitsantas, Anastasia
Publication Year:
Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice

The purpose of this longitudinal study was to assess the impact of the Skills Learning Support Program (SLSP) aimed to support entering first-generation college students' motivational beliefs, use of self-regulatory strategies, and academic achievement. The study included 137 students from ethnically diverse cultural backgrounds who were in need of academic, counseling, and financial support. In addition, the study gathered academic data on 739 admitted students who did not participate in the program for comparison. The SLSP students were asked to respond to a number of scales assessing their self-regulation and motivational beliefs at the beginning and end of their freshmen year. Comparison academic data were also collected for all students during the next 4 years until graduation. It was hypothesized that students who participated in the SLSP would experience an increase in their academic self-regulation and motivation by the end of the first year. In addition, it was expected that students in the SLSP group would show similar or higher levels of achievement and graduation rates when compared with other freshman students admitted the same year. Findings revealed that students who enrolled in SLSP reported higher levels of motivation and study skills from the pretest to the posttest assessments. In addition, students enrolled in the program exhibited levels of academic achievement similar to or higher than regularly admitted college freshman during their first year and as they approached graduation. However, these differences in the two groups diminished by the time students graduated. These findings may have important implications for instructors, students, and college administrators.

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