Date of Award

Fall 12-13-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in First Year Studies


First-Year and Transition Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Hillary H Steiner

Additional Committee Member

Dr. Stephanie M. Foote

Additional Committee Member

Dr. Nirmal Trivedi


Massification, the trend toward college classes with hundreds and even thousands of students enrolled for a single course section has been well documented (Mangan, 2016; Hornsby, 2014) and the phenomenon has occurred in some first-year seminars (FYS) (Cheek, 2017) even though the FYS has been defined as small (<25 students) in the literature (Barefoot & Koch, 2015). What role does class size play in realizing the potential of the FYS a high impact practice promoting student success (Kuh, 2008)? The literature on FYS class size includes few true experiments with random sampling.

This study examined the effect of class size on program outcomes for a FYS using a quantitative, true experimental design with random assignment of students to two class size conditions. Pre-test/post-test data were collected and analyzed on five benchmarks identified by the Center for Community College Student Engagement: making connections; high expectations and aspirations; clear academic plan and pathway; engaged learning; and academic support network. There were significant differences between pre- and post-test measures within each condition, but the difference between groups was not significant. While this study does not resolve the issue of class size, it adds some insight and suggests additional research examining class size for the FYS. The findings have implications for planning and implementing the FYS.