The cross-case analysis contains both a synthesis of the student-identified barriers to completing assignments and a series of recommendations for providing support derived from the four case studies. The student survey analysis is particularly helpful in identifying characteristics of study spaces students seek, student-reported behaviors in seeking curricular support, and the times of day in which students work. Additionally, the study conclusions include a list of implications of the study findings in terms of supporting students more effectively.

Identify Established Networks of Support Among Students

Identify the locations in which students typically work on specific types of assignments such as departmental labs. Tap into established student support networks where helpful and provide training in those locations. (Cross-Case Analysis, p. 60)

Align Curricular Support for Student with Changing Needs

The survey also provides important information in terms of the ways in which current students seek curricular support. Curricular support initiatives should take into account differences in the way first- and second-year students appear to work compared to juniors and seniors. When reaching out to first- and second-year students, careful consideration should be given to the curricular support roles students play as classmates, majors in a field, teaching assistants or prefects, and student workers in academic support centers. Students in support roles may provide referrals critical to prompting a greater number of Carleton students to think about getting curricular support from staff members. It may also prove helpful to study further the process in which juniors and seniors increasingly report seeking assistance from faculty members. (Student Survey Analysis, p. 85)

Student Work Schedules and Variation by Class Year

…Members of the Carleton community need to think carefully about aligning curricular support with the hours of the day that students work. There is clear evidence that juniors and seniors adjust their work hours and report seeking help from their professors in the afternoon in comparison to first- and second-year students. Students earlier in their Carleton careers may benefit from learning the practices of more senior students. This disjunction between the business hours of the College and the working patterns of students may also benefit from increased considerations of how to effectively incorporate students into curricular support as Carleton students work on assignments including those that incorporate visual materials. (Student Survey Analysis, p. 85)

Implications for Student Support

As the College considers ways of improving curricular support, care should be taken to:

  • Ensure that curricular support is perceived as a resource for all students and not just for those who are struggling
  • Support students in the places and times they work, including providing curricular support in residential contexts and scheduling resources or events for students during the times of day in which they work
  • Instruct first- and second-year students in the work practices of their more senior counterparts, including modeling exemplary work products and practices
  • Tailor resources and outreach efforts to the types of assignments students tend to work on in given locations, taking care not to disrupt work places
  • Recognize the utility of multi-faceted approaches to providing curricular support to students, thinking carefully about how best to develop the curricular support roles that students play
  • Design student study environments with specific assignment types in mind, recognizing that spaces conducive to both solitary work and interactive work styles are important to preserve

Further study of student work practices is warranted. This is particularly true in terms of examining the processes of acculturating to Carleton and to specific majors and the implications for providing curricular support to students. (Conclusions, p. 94)

 A full version of the study is freely available online.