TBR High Impact Practices


A high impact practice is a pedagogical approach which requires an investment of time and energy over an extended period that has unusually positive effects on student engagement in educationally purposeful behavior (Kuh, 2010). High impact practices are evidence-based teaching and learning practices that have been widely tested and shown to be beneficial for college students (Kuh, 2008). Characteristics of high-impact activities include: setting appropriately high expectations of students; interaction with faculty and peers about substantive matters; experiences with diversity; frequent feedback; reflection and integrative learning; real-world applications; and demonstrated competence.

High impact practices support the work of the Complete College and Drive to 55 initiatives in Tennessee by connecting existing teaching and learning initiatives through intentional course design and data collection. The integration of HIP activities into the curricular and co-curricular milieu of the TBR  colleges will result in the graduation of more globally aware, solution-oriented, and workforce-ready students. To date, TBR data has shown that integrating HIPs into campus and course design results in higher student academic attainment and completion rates.

Why is it important to engage students in High Impact Practices?

Data from NSSE’s annual reports have consistently displayed positive gains in the percentage of students’ self-reported perceptions on educational achievement and engagement through high impact practices. The Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE) has also identified promising practices drawn from empirical evidence (CCCSE, 2011).  Furthermore, the cumulative effect of student participation in multiple high impact practices increases the probability of academic success and research has shown that HIP increases engagement for underrepresented populations (Finley and McNair, 2013).

Purpose of the TBR High Impact Practices Taxonomy Project

As campuses attempt to infuse high-impact practices (HIPs) into the undergraduate experience, widely accepted operational definitions help focus campus teams responsible for implementation of certain HIPs. Consistent definitions allow for analysis of student participation in HIPs possible across all TBR institutions. The development of TBR’s HIP Taxonomies was the first step to making this possible. The taxonomy not only defines a minimum definition for each practice, but also provides a framework with program elements defined across a series of milestones in the development of the HIP on campus. This taxonomy can be used by institutions in their self-study to identify areas for growth of HIPs that the institution identifies as making the greatest impact for their students.

The self-study should be a collaborative process that involves various stakeholders in order to accurately determine the current HIP milestone level. At the System level, the minimum definition is used by the Data Standards Committee to identify how to code the experience in Banner. The Data Standards Committee defines the process to code the HIP in Banner, and campuses are asked to continuously engage in the work of coding courses. Data is pulled from across the system on student involvement in HIPs to assess the impact on student retention and completion, particularly among underrepresented students.

Key Recommendations for Implementation of High Impact Practices

1. Curricular Intentionality – placement of HIP within the curriculum as part of graduation requirements; identification of desired outcomes
2. Campus Integration - Develop collaborations between academic and student affairs to achieve equitable opportunities
3. Pervasiveness of Practice - Introduce HIPs early and often
4. Institutional Context – HIPs are scaled on a campus dependent upon campus demographics
5. Student Communication - Articulate the value of high impact practices to students; describe the ways HIPs contribute to student success and life after college
6. Data and Assessment - include multiple and varied sources of data in the inquiry process