Date of Award


Degree Name

Educational Leadership


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Bobbi Nicholson, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Bethel

Third Advisor

Dr. Feon Smith-Branch

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Diana Long


Global research notes the academic benefits of Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) to be higher academic achievement and faster degree completion rates. Past studies have been chiefly conducted at baccalaureate degree granting institutions. The purpose of this descriptive, nonexperimental, post-facto study is to determine whether the West Virginia WIL programs delivered through community and technical colleges yield the same academic benefits that have been reported in the extant research concerning baccalaureate schools. The population of this study was to be 572 business and information technology majors at ten West Virginia community and technical colleges. Student-level data by classification of instructional programs (CIP) codes were analyzed that had been previously collected through the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s annual census for academic years 2011-2012, 2012 -2013, and 2013-2014. WIL experience data distribution throughout the population of the study, however, was skewed substantially and required a more normally distributed sample for purposes of analysis. A reduced sample, comprised of 117 participants enrolled at New River Community and Technical College, Pierpont Community and Technical College, and West Virginia Northern Community College during the same period, provided a more even distribution. The findings suggest WIL experiences did not have a significant effect on cumulative GPA or on demonstrated time-to-degree in the two-year graduation period, nor on the years to degree variable, for this sample. WIL experiences did appear to have a significant effect on demonstrated time-to-degree in the three-year graduation period, however. The lack of a conclusive determination that WIL has an effect on grade point average (GPA) for community college students could spur a reconsideration of the field’s understanding of the academic benefits of WIL experiences for researchers and professional practitioners.


Education, Cooperative|.

Career education.

Educational leadership.

Education, Cooperative.