Outdoor Orientation Programs: A Critical Review of Program Impacts on Retention and Graduation

Authors

  • Brent J. Bell University of New Hampshire
  • Hong Chang Tufts University School of Medicine

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18666/JOREL-2017-V9-I1-7501

Keywords:

retention, outdoor orientation, first-year experience programs

Abstract

Outdoor orientation programs have a growing literature demonstrating positive impacts with students transitioning to college (Bell, Gass, Nafizer, & Starbuck, 2014). One of the most valued outcomes for colleges and universities is retention of students until successful graduation. This is an outcome few outdoor orientation researchers have studied, but one that many programs claim to influence. This paper provides an overview of the literature of outdoor orientation programs retention studies, with specific attention placed on selection bias. This study used a control group (randomized selection), a convenience group (nonparticipants), and a comparison group (matched by covariates) to assess the differences in retention outcomes. Findings indicate (a) similarities between sampling through random selection and covariate matching, but not by convenience sampling and (b) generally positive retention results for participation in outdoor orientation programs, including small effect sizes for retention (OR = 1.91–2.38) and graduation (OR = 1.07–1.81), but few statistically significant results (p < .05).

Author Biographies

Brent J. Bell, University of New Hampshire

Associate Professor of Kinesiology-- Outdoor Education Program at the University of New Hampshire.

Hong Chang, Tufts University School of Medicine

Assistant Professor of Medicine

References

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Published

2017-01-25

Issue

Section

Special Issue: Campus Outdoor Recreation Programs