National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Cognard-Black, Andrew J., Jerry Herron, & Patricia J. Smith (2019). The Demonstrable Value of Honors Education: New Research Evidence. Lincoln, NE, National Collegiate Honors Council.


Copyright © 2019 by National Collegiate Honors Council.


“We all know—instinctively, experientially—that what we as honors teachers and administrators do for our students adds value to their college education and general college experience. Providing hard, demonstrable evidence for that which we know in our bodies as it were . . . turns out not to be so easy, a fact anyone who has had to make the case for additional, or even simply continued, honors funding to a new dean or college president has likely encountered. The results presented in this volume provide, in a diversity of ways via a diversity of research approaches, the sorts of evidence honors teachers and administrators have long needed. Will that evidence be enough to convince every dean or college president of the need for continued honors sustenance? The answer may have to depend on the particular dean or president in question. I believe the essays in this monograph provide the strongest case for the added value of honors that has been made to date.” —Dr. Rusty Rushton, University of Alabama at Birmingham



Introduction: The Demonstrable Value of Honors Education • Andrew J. Cognard-Black

Honors Value Added: Where We Came From, and What We Need to Know Next • Hallie E. Savage

History and Current Practices of Assessment to Demonstrate Value Added • Patricia J. Smith

Proving the Value of Honors Education: The Right Data and the Right Messaging • Bette L. Bottoms and Stacie L. McCloud

Honors Education Has a Positive Effect on College Student Success • Dulce Diaz, Susan P. Farruggia, Meredith E. Wellman, and Bette L. Bottoms

High-Impact Honors Practices: Success Outcomes among Honors and Comparable High-Achieving Non-Honors Students at Eastern Kentucky University • Katie Patton, David Coleman, and Lisa W. Kay

GPA as a Product, Not a Measure, of Success in Honors • Lorelle A. Meadows, Maura Hollister, Mary Raber, and Laura Kasson Fiss

Adding Value through Honors at the University of Iowa: Effects of a Pre-Semester Honors Class and Honors Residence on First-Year Students • Art L. Spisak, Robert F. Kirby, and Emily M. Johnson

The Value Added of Honors Programs in Recruitment, Retention, and Student Success: Impacts of the Honors College at the University of Mississippi • Robert D. Brown, Jonathan Winburn, and Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez

Community College Honors Benefits: A Propensity Score Analysis • Jane B. Honeycutt

Contributions of Small Honors Programs: The Case of a Public Liberal Arts College • George Smeaton and Margaret Walsh

Demonstrating the Value of Honors: What Next? • Jerry Herron and D. Carl Freeman

Appendix: Original Call for Proposals

About the Authors

About the NCHC Monograph Series