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Student Involvement and Student Success in High School to Post-Secondary Transitions



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The purpose of this study was to explore how high school environment impacts a student’s involvement at the high school level and subsequently at the post-secondary level, and how the high school environment influences student transitions and academic success (as perceived by the student) in post-secondary education. The literature reviewed in this study includes previous studies on high school grades as an indicator of success in post-secondary education, the relationship between institutional environment and student success, student expectations for post-secondary, and a review of theories on students and belonging, student motivation, and students in transition. Data were obtained through sequential mixed-method study. In the first phase of the study, 55 students representing rural public, rural separate, urban public, and urban separate schools who began their post-secondary studies as first-year, direct-entry students in the year prior to the study participated in an online questionnaire, which was used to collect primarily quantitative data. Five of those students participated in a follow-up interview which was used to collect qualitative data. The study confirmed that, for this sample of students, there was a correlation between high school and post-secondary grades. The correlation was stronger for students who attended schools in urban communities. While there was a relationship between high school environment and student involvement, there was no significant correlation between student involvement and a student’s high school average. The study found that there was a moderate positive correlation between time spent on homework in high school and subsequently post-secondary, as well as hours spent on homework in post-secondary and term 1 average. Students were not entirely sure what to expect when they began their post-secondary studies and struggled most with not knowing the expectations of each instructor. Based on the findings of this pragmatic study, the researcher identified recommendations for practice in post-secondary institutions as well as considerations for high school educators to support students who are transitioning from high school to post-secondary education.



student transitions, student success, student involvement, institutional environment, high school, post-secondary



Master of Education (M.Ed.)


Educational Administration




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