HIP Quality & Equity

Examining six types of HIPs, we found that 40% to 70% of students had “high-quality” experiences, meaning that they invested significant time and effort, faced high performance expectations, frequently interacted with peers and faculty, received frequent feedback, encountered unfamiliar circumstances or people from diverse backgrounds, and had opportunities to reflect on and demonstrate their learning. Students in undergraduate research, study abroad, and internships or field experiences consistently had the most high-quality experiences, whereas we observed more variability for other HIPs (Figure 7).

Although small and variable differences existed between racially minoritized students and white students, results overall suggest relative parity in the quality of HIP experiences across subgroups.  While this is welcome news given the importance of educational equity, it does not nullify critiques of many HIPs as white-centered activities, and concerns that racially minoritized students may confront microaggressions, stereotype threat, or other harmful experiences in the context of these special learning experiences.

More information can be found in the project’s full report, or in brief in NSSE Sightings, our research blog.

The most satisfying thing about my senior project is that we got to experience the research process all the way from the beginning to the end. Because of this, it feels like a huge accomplishment and something I never thought I would have been able to do.

Senior majoring in Communications, Media, & Public Relations at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Project Continues: Identifying the Defining Features and Benefits of Quality High-Impact Practices

The second phase of the project, currently underway, will deepen the investigation by collecting even more contextualized data through purpose-built surveys keyed to specific HIP experiences. Investigation of the equity dimensions remains a central focus, and the work will include qualitative research into the experiences of racially minoritized students in HIPs.

In the coming weeks we will invite institutions to participate in this phase of the project by administering a specially designed survey. We intend to survey students participating in learning communities (both residential and nonresidential) and culminating senior experiences (capstone courses, senior projects or theses, etc.).

Evidence-Based Improvement in Higher Education

Center for Postsecondary Research
Indiana University School of Education
201 N. Rose Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405-1006
Phone: 812.856.5824
Email: