Probation Student Success

This list of peer-reviewed articles is available to members of our University community and beyond as a resource on the national literature on retention. We are committed to maintaining this list and adding to it in the future. Please send recommendations of articles to include to For additional articles on encouraging student success, please visit Literature on Student Sucess.

The information below comes directly from the referenced book or article unless acknowledged otherwise.

Abstract/Points of Interest

Arcand, I., & LeBlanc, R.N., (2012). "When You Fail, You Feel Like a Failure": One Student's Experience of Academic Probation and an Academic Support Program. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, Vol. 58, No. 2, Summer 2012, 216-231.

"This in-depth, qualitative study explored the experience of academic probation. It recounts the story of Mark, an undergraduate student on academic probation who participated in an academic support program to attain good academic standing. His story is contrasted to the current literature on academic probation and is considered in light of Dewey's theory of experience. This paper offers an important contribution to the literatureon higher education by revealing a rich, complex, and unique experience which illustrates that Mark does not correspond to the typical imafe of probationary students depicted in the literature. This article breaks away from an oversimplified portrayal of probationary students, offers a provisional conceptualization of academic probation, and calls for further definition of the notion of academic probation."

Demetriou, C. (2011). The Attribution Theory of Learning and Advising Students on Academic Probation. NACADA Journal, Vol. 31, No. 2, Fall 2011, 16-21.

"Academic advisors need to be knowledgeable of the ways students learn. To aid advisors in their exploration of learning theories, I provide an overview of the attribution theory of learning, including recent applications of the theory to research in college student learning. An understanding of this theory may help advisors understand student self-perceptions and academic motivation. This theory may be especially useful to advisors working with students on academic probation, and potential applications of the theory to advising students on academic probation are discussed. Suggestions for future research on student attributions and students' attempts to return to good standing are provided."

Fletcher, J.M. & Tokmouline, M. (2010). The Effects of Academic Probation on College Success: Lending Students a Hand or Kicking Them While They Are Down? Texas Higher Education Opportunity Project, Working Paper.

"While nearly all colleges and universities in the United States use academic probation as a means to signal to students a need to improve performance, very little is known about the use of this designation and the programs that accompany it on college success. This paper uses a regression discontinuity approach to estimate the effects of these programs at four universities of varying selectivity in Texas. Results suggest that academic probation status following the first semester of college may serve as a short term “wake up call” to some students, in that second semester performance is improved. However, our findings also suggest that this short term boost in performance fades out over time and students who are on academic probation following their first semesters of college do not have higher rates of persistence or graduation. We also find important differential responses to academic probation based on pre-determined student characteristics as well as high school of origin. However none of the heterogeneous effects are consistent across universities, limiting the application of simple models of education standards."

Kamphoff, C., Hutson, B., Amundsen, S., & Atwood, J. (2007). A Motivational/ Empowerment Model applied to students on academic probation. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory, and Practice, 8(4), 397-412.

"This article outlines a motivational/empowerment model for students on academic probation implemented at The University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG). The model draws from several theoretical orientations, and includes individual and group interaction as well as discussion in four key topic areas: personal responsibility, positive affirmations, goal setting/life planning, and self-management. Since implementation, the percentage of UNCG students eligible to return to the institution after being placed on academic probation has increased from 40% to 58% over a four-year period. When comparing the net gain in grade point average of students completing the program to a control group, students enrolled in the program had a significantly higher academic achievement (p = .036). Generalizability of the model and future research recommendations are explored in the article."

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