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ERIC Number: ED574280
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 39
Abstractor: As Provided
College Curricular Dispersion: More Well-Rounded or Less Well Trained? CEDR Working Paper. WP #2015-6
Goldhaber, Dan; Cowan, James; Long, Mark; Huntington-Klein, Nick
Center for Education Data & Research
Students are typically given a large amount of freedom to choose the level of "curricular dispersion": the tight focus or lack thereof in the courses they elect to take while in college. There is little evidence about what predicts students' curricular dispersion, whether it affects later college or labor force outcomes, or, in fact, how to measure curricular dispersion. In this paper we develop a measure of curricular dispersion and use data from Washington State to explore its predictors and associated outcomes. We find that prior dispersion predicts future dispersion but not subsequent changes in college major. We report mixed findings on the associations between curricular dispersion and overall college GPA, the probability of graduation, and early career wages.
Center for Education Data & Research. 3876 Bridge Way North Suite 201, Seattle, WA 98103. Tel: 206-547-5585; Fax: 206-547-1641; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER) at American Institutes for Research; Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: Center for Education Data & Research (CEDR)
Identifiers - Location: Washington
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: SAT (College Admission Test)
IES Funded: Yes