Changing the price of the ticket: a critical analysis of high impact practices
Thurmer, Anne A.
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Institutions of higher education present High Impact Practices (HIPs) as educational best- practice for all students, investing resources to intervene in ways that may perpetuate inequality rather than address it. This disadvantages low-income, first-generation college students for whom the programs are a poor fit. A singular focus on HIPs could also prevent higher education leadership from exploring deeper, systemic change (McNair et al., 2016). Using content analysis (Bloomberg & Volpe, 2016) and thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) to identify patterns across 244 webpage references to HIPs on Midwestern college websites, this study draws on Bourdieu's (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977) social reproduction and Lyotard's (1984) language games theory to critically analyze the student-facing and institutional communication regarding HIPs. Student- facing themes include shift in the locus of learning, real life/real world, and identity erased. Institutional communication language games included reading HIPs environment as outcomes, defining HIPs as a differentiator, and presenting HIPs as a silent solution to achievement gaps.