Maximizing What Students Get Out Of College

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  • This study test a learning productivity model for undergraduates at four year colleges and universities using hierarchical linear modeling. Student learning is one of the central functions of undergraduate education. Hu and Kuh will present two higher ed learning and development models in the study and will focus on outcome, implications, and limitations.


  • 1. Maximizing What Students Get out of College: Testing a Productivity Model by Shouping Hu and George Kuh Presented by: Amanda Walker
  • 2. Testing Group
    • Undergraduates at 4 year colleges & Universities
    • 44,238 full time enrolled undergrads
    • 120 four year colleges & universities
    • College experience Quest (CSEO) 1990-97
    • 61% were women
    • 41% were 1 year students
    • 44% had professional majors
  • 3. First Learning & Development Model- Astin’s Input-Environment Out-put (IEO)
    • In Astin’s Model:
    • Student learning (outcomes) is presumed to be a function of inputs and the environment.
    • It encompasses student perceptions and behavior, as well as, an institutions human, financial, and physical resources.
    • It does not distinguish the environmental variables concerning student’s individual experiences from institutional “environmental” climate.
  • 4. Second Learning & Development Model- Pascarella’s Casual Model
    • In Pascarella’s Casual Model:
      • Student learning is presumed to be a function of the interaction of student background/ character (inputs).
      • Institutional characteristics (size, affluence, ratio), are considered.
      • Student interactions with agents of socialization, such as peers or faculty are also accounted.
      • Student quality of effort is considered essential to the model.
  • 5. Testing the Models
    • IEO Testing- Two Variables
      • 1. The quality of Effort by assessing frequency and slope of student engagement in various educational purposeful activities
      • 2. The environment , which included institution type, selectivity, and 3 measures from CSEQ that represented student perception
  • 6. Analyzing the Data
    • Seven different variables were used.
      • Student Effort
      • Sum of Gains
      • 5 Gain Factors
        • Intellectual Skills
        • General Education
        • Personal/Social Development
        • Science/ Technology
        • Practical/ Vocational Preparation
  • 7. Student –Level 1
    • Background
    • Race/ethnicity
    • Gender
    • major
    • Class level
    • parental education
    • time spent on school work
    • Educational aspirations
  • 8. Institutional Level-2
    • First Variable:
      • The five types of Colleges & Universities
        • RU
        • DU
        • CCU
        • SLA
        • GLA
  • 9. Institutional Level-2
    • Second Set of Variables
      • Scholarly and intellectual emphasis
      • Vocational/ practical emphasis
      • Quality of personal relations
  • 10. Findings
    • Similar students with similar activities expending similar amounts of effort attending different institution reported different amounts of progress.
    • The amount of institutional activities and affected how students feel about what they have gained (learned).
    • Student engagement in educational purposeful activities has a positive effect on reported gains.
    • Student path can help determine factors that influence student learning.
    • Different studies have produced different results based on tested group and institution.
  • 11. Limitations
    • Colleges & Universities that voluntarily administered the CSEQ thus different institutions could yield different results.
    • There was no standardized administration of the test.
    • You have to allow for the possibility that institutions use different baselines for testing student gains.
    • Even though there were control variables, other factors can influence the case study.
  • 12. Conclusion
    • The findings from this study suggest institutions, in an effort to improve the quality of undergraduate education, should consider ways to promote student learning by encouraging higher levels of engagement and seeking ways to increase learning efficiency by improving the gains to effort ration.
    • Attempts to improve learning productivity must account for the in-class and out-of-class ratio.
    • And they must work on improving student perceptions of the college environment.
  • 13. Goals
    • Adapt and Adopt goals that are consistent with program/ school’s mission.
    • Promote and ensure the campus environment is a supportive and congenial to student’s needs and educational goals.
  • 14. Discussion
    • What would be some ways that this study could have produced more compelling findings?
      • Smaller Groups?
      • Less Variables?
      • Tested Models separately?
      • What’s your thoughts?