ERIC Number: ED220024
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-May
Reference Count: 0
Structuring the Perceived Outcomes of Higher Education. AIR Forum 1982 Paper.
Valiga, Michael J.
The perceived benefits of college as reported by alumni from 55 postsecondary institutions in the United States were surveyed during 1980-1982 using the Alumni Survey of the American College Testing (ACT) Program. Findings were analyzed for the total group of 12,682 and for subgroups based on college size, student sex, student major area, number of years since graduation, and college affiliation. Each of the institutions mailed survey instruments to a sample of recent alumni and later returned the forms to ACT. The median age of the respondents was 27.2 years, with a range of 20 years through over 65 years; 72.3% were from public colleges, while 27.7% were from private institutions. Data were analyzed for 24 areas of personal growth that are often claimed to be outcomes of postsecondary education. The alumni were asked to indicate the degree to which their college educations contributed to their personal growth in each of the 24 areas, which are listed. The data from the study suggest that alumni feel that their college educations have contributed to their personal growth most extensively in such areas as learning on your own, working independently, persisting at difficult tasks, and organizing your time effectively. It is suggested that these outcome areas appear to be related to general learning skills, rather than to specific academic skills or subjects. This finding tends to support the contention that a college education offers more than job training or specific occupational skills. The largest differences between respondent subgroups occurred with regard to college major (e.g., business, education, physical sciences). Six factors that were identified by factor analysis as underlying the 24 outcome variables are compared with the outcome structure recently developed at the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. The alumni survey and a list of college majors are appended. (SW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: AIR Forum; American College Testing Program Alumni Survey
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Forum of the Association for Institutional Research (22nd, Denver, CO, May 16-19, 1982).