ERIC Number: ED206228
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Measuring the Quality of Undergraduate Education.
Pace, C. Robert
It is proposed that the breadth or scope of high quality effort by college students to use facilities and opportunities on campus is a potential index of the quality of undergraduate education. In 1979 and 1980, responses to quality-of-effort measures (generally, student activity checklists) were obtained from over 9,000 undergraduates at 30 four-year colleges and universities. An index of the breadth or scope of high quality effort was derived from students' scores on twelve of the effort scales. Scores spanned the full range from 0 to 12 (the upper limit indicating that the student spends high quality effort on all 12 of the topics concerned). One-fourth had a score of nine or above, and about the same proportion had a score of three or lower. Within the four types of institutions studied (comprehensive colleges and universities, research universities, highly selective liberal arts, and less selective liberal arts), the relationships between breadth scores and student characteristics are consistent. The breadth score distributions were compared with a measure of student outcomes, the number of outcomes or objectives in which the percent of students report substantial progress is higher than the overall average in the study. The comparison shows the breadth of high quality effort to be clearly associated with the breadth of high quality outcomes. However, the merit of breadth scores as an indication of institutional quality was not found to cross institution type, since big schools had consistently lower scores than small schools, and other differences were found across the four institution type categories. It is concluded that the breadth index as used here provides results congruent with some traditional indicators of educational quality, but is more appropriate and more revealing. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Los Angeles, CA, April 1981).