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Students' Definitions of Academic Success

Brent William Kelderman, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Academic success has not been well defined consistently, and when definitions have been proposed (e.g. Kuh, Kinzie, Buckley, Bridges, & Hayek, 2006 ; York, Gibson, & Rankin, 2015), they are not always measured consistently. Is it good grades (Parker, Summerfeldt, Hogan, & Majeski, 2004), and if so, what constitutes a good grade and what should be graded? Is it understanding the material, and if so, is understanding shown by simply completing the academic tasks (Choi, 2005)? Is it perseverance and grit (Tang, Wang, Guo, & Salmela-Aro, 2019), and if so, why do many other definitions and views focus so much on grades? Alternatively, and perhaps even more importantly, how do students define academic success? By being able to better understand how students view and define academic success, educators can be better prepared to help students succeed within the classroom by better providing them with opportunities and feelings of success rather than defeat. In this research I investigated this problem of practice using qualitative methods through a case study of students within mathematical classroom settings.

Subject Area

Teacher education|Educational psychology|Mathematics education

Recommended Citation

Kelderman, Brent William, "Students' Definitions of Academic Success" (2021). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI28862878.