In the field of education, there is always a need for accountability of practics in terms of how it affects student learning. Instructional methods that regularly demonstrate high success levels of student mastery are considered to be high-impact practices and are the aim of all instructors, regardless of grade level or institution.
Because of the importance of mastery towards knowledge for their students, instructors are always engaging in learning and employing high-impact strategies to share with their classes. The success is frequently worth the work: Studies show that when students are consistently exposed to high-impact lessons, they have a higher grade point average, better attendance, and overall increased academic performance.
Measuring Student Success in Higher Learning Institutions
Student success is measured through a variety of techniques, such as course grades and standardized tests. But the effects of high-impact lessons don’t always show in these superficial grading systems.
Instead, groups such as the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) regularly engage in studies that evaluate activities for high-impact and follow up with the students who participate in those lessons to measure their success rate.
Any activity that is determined to meet the criteria of a high-impact practice in higher learning should ultimately result in significant gains in areas considered to be deeper learning on the hierarchy of knowledge. These areas can include such critical thinking skills as integrating diverse ideas and other perspectives with one’s own, bringing knowledge outside of the classroom in order to spread these deeper learning skills with others, taking ideas given to them and analyzing or synthesizing them for truth, fallacies, skepticism, and agreement, and applying theories they have learned to other situations, preferably in the real world environment. As an overall goal, high-impact learning aims to teach students to use better judgment to evaluate the information they are given and determine its value according to their own belief system, ethics, and knowledge base, and to understand that others are doing the same thing with their own information to understand other perspectives and approach communication from a different level.
These high-impact approaches to questioning conditioning and societal norms is crucial in today’s ever-increasingly controversial world.
Examples of High-Impact Instruction
While high-impact instruction is the ultimate goal for most professors, it’s understood that this level of engagement is not realistic across all institutions. Still, many universities attempt to include the opportunity for students to achieve forms of this practice in these methods because students who do engage in regular deep approaches to internalizing knowledge are more likely to get higher grades, absorb and retain what they learned, integrate that knowledge into other areas, and then transfer that same information to others throughout their lives.
Examples of these high-impact practices include creating opportunities for experiences in your curriculum such as:
● The inter-cultural communication between other institutions that allows for students to study abroad and obtain credits towards their degree
● Encouraging students to engage in learning communities and service learning experiences in their community in exchange for grades and credit hours
● Collaborative research between student and faculty to gain different perspectives from both sides
● Projects for seniors to engage in that give them the opportunities to integrate everything they learned into culminating final works such as a dissertation
These activities allow students to approach levels of deeper thinking than are possible in a typical classroom environment.
Assessing High-Impact Practices
Because of the qualitative nature that is inherent in high-impact practices, it’s often difficult to give students a “grade” beyond their participation and reflection of knowledge learned. This is why organizations such as the NSSE choose participants to follow up on after they have engaged in these forms of instruction.
Regular exposure to high-impact practices continues to result in students who show the following qualitative qualities:
● They consider their institution to be a supportive place of learning and often engage in including other students
● They know the resources their campus has to offer and help encourage others to use those resources
● They create or participate in learning communities amongst new students to help them transition into university life and make them feel like they belong
● They appreciate and encourage diversity amongst students and faculty
● They have improved moral reasoning, civic responsibilities, and higher social justice commitments
● They over overall satisfied with their educational experience and are more likely to further their education when possible
While the data speaks for itself, it goes much further than a standardized test can demonstrate.
Engaging Others With Impactio
Academics know the importance of compiling their work, whether it’s research or instructional information, in professional formats. That’s why so many experts around the world use Impactio as their go-to program for all things necessary for publishing.
Impactio’s all-in-one platform lets users easily apply their research accomplishments into preformed templates, turn their citation and publication data into PDF documents or web pages, and connect with other scholars around the world in the wide network of Impactio users. Whether you’re an instructor hoping to make an impact on your class or a researcher reaching for a societal impact, Impactio is the platform for you.