Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 9-14-2020

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


The Utah State University (USU) Writing Center is dedicated to empowering students to express their knowledge and ideas in writing. Their approach promotes academic inquiry, critical thinking, and expressions of diversity. While research and evaluation suggest that the Writing Center significantly impacts student academic performance, the impact on student persistence is not yet clear. This report explores the association between USU’s Writing Center and students’ persistence toward graduation. METHODS: Students’ Writing Center use was captured through student log-ins at writing appointments. Students who had a record of using the Writing Center were compared to similar students who did not have a record of Writing Center use. Students were matched for comparison using prediction-based propensity score matching. Students were matched with non-users based on their persistence predication and their propensity to participate. FINDINGS: Students were 97% similar following matching. Participating and comparison students were compared using difference-in-difference testing. Students who used the Writing Center were significantly more likely to persist at USU than similar students who did not use the Writing Center (DID = 0.031, p < .001). The unstandardized effect size can be estimated through student impact. It is estimated that Writing Center resources and services assisted in retaining 17 (CI: 3 – 32) students each year who were otherwise not expected to persist.