Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version

Spring 12-31-2017

Document Type



The Nebraska Educator, Volume 4 (2017), pp 26-46.



© 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln


This qualitative case study evaluated the effectiveness of the Academic Skills Discussion Group, a new retention intervention targeting undergraduate students on academic probation. This intervention utilized a support group structure to provide social and academic supports to academically-poor students. These supports incorporated didactic educational presentations and interpersonal discussions relating to life change and college expectations. The case comprised one pilot administration of the intervention for three student group members. Data was collected from pre/post-intervention resiliency surveys, grade point average comparisons, journal-entry analysis and semi-structured exit interviews. The researcher conducted inductive data analysis by coding participant statements for meaning, calculating and comparing survey results, and triangulating findings. Analysis provided case descriptions and themes regarding how participating in the intervention influenced students’ resiliency, adjustment, and academic performance. Findings indicate that for most students, participation in the program coincided with improved academic performance and increased connectivity to the academic environment. Evaluative descriptions break down the recruitment strategy, examine benefits of participation and address future enhancements to the delivery of the intervention. Implications for higher education applications and future use of small group interventions are discussed.