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University of Arizona: 3.4%pp Lift in Persistence for First-Year Students Using Writing Center

 In 2009, The University of Arizona opened the doors to its Think Tank to streamline and centralize a number of academic support services offered by nationally certified tutors. In one year, nearly 11,000 students make more than 70,000 visits and spend 85,000+ hours with support staff.


 In-house analyses showed that the Think Tank was contributing to the institution’s retention efforts. These reports were pieced together one at a time for each project, took an assessment coordinator several weeks to develop, and were descriptive in nature yet coupled with a few early findings using propensity score matching analysis.


Using Impact to analyze the effectiveness of several Think Tank programs, The UA found that students’ use of the writing center alone resulted in a 2.7 percentage point (%pp) increase in persistence for students overall who used it, compared to those who did not. For first-year students the lift in persistence was higher at 3.4%pp – an important insight given The UA’s focus on first-time, full-time freshmen.


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