Differences in College Engagement of Students as a Function of Community College Honors Course Status: A Nationwide Study
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Purpose: The purpose of this journal-ready dissertation was to determine the extent to which differences were present in scholastic/faculty engagement activities, in academic/support service use, and in college benchmark scores between community college students who had been enrolled in an honors course and their peers who had not been enrolled in an honors course. Specifically addressed in the first purpose was the relationship of honors course enrollment with scholastic engagement activities and with faculty engagement activities. The second purpose was to determine the extent to which differences existed in student use of academic support services and student support services by honors course enrollment status. The third purpose of this study was to ascertain the degree to which differences were present in five college benchmark scores by the honors course enrollment status of community college students. Method: A non-experimental, causal-comparative research design was used in this journal-ready dissertation. Data from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) were analyzed. Archival data consisting of a 25% random sample of the 2014 three-year CCSSE cohort (2012 through 2014) were obtained from CCCSE. The sample included responses from 108,509 community college students who completed the CCSSE survey. Approximately 7,000 of these students indicated they had previously enrolled in an honors course at a community college. Findings: Statistically significant differences were revealed in scholastic/faculty engagement activities, in academic/support service use, and in college benchmark scores as a function of honors course enrollment. Students who had been enrolled in an honors course reported greater scholastic/faculty engagement, more use of academic/support services, and had higher college benchmark scores than their peers who not been enrolled in an honors course. Results of this journal-ready dissertation were commensurate with the conclusions of previous researchers who documented that students who had been enrolled in an honors course had higher levels of class participation and academic preparation, more opportunities to synthesize information, and expended more effort to meet instructor expectations than their peers who had not been enrolled in an honors course. Consistent with previous researchers, honors course enrollment was statistically significantly related to greater engagement for community college students.