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How College Makes a Difference: A Summary By E.T. Pascarella and P.T. Terenzini (1991). From How College Affects Students: Findings and Insights from Twenty.

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Presentation on theme: "How College Makes a Difference: A Summary By E.T. Pascarella and P.T. Terenzini (1991). From How College Affects Students: Findings and Insights from Twenty."— Presentation transcript:

1 How College Makes a Difference: A Summary By E.T. Pascarella and P.T. Terenzini (1991). From How College Affects Students: Findings and Insights from Twenty Years of Research

2 Introduction A study on how college influences the development of college students Previous research Feldman & Newcomb (1969) Bowen (1977) Numerous Others

3 Research Questions: Do students change during college, and if so, to what extent and direction? To what extent are these changes due to college rather then outside influences? Do these changes depend on the type of institution students attend?

4 Research Questions (continued) Are changes dependant on the individual or do they happen uniformly for all students? Are these changes affected by student characteristics (personality, background, culture)? Does college have a lasting effect on students?

5 Methods Excerpt from a book providing a narrative explanatory synthesis of research The researchers chose not to use a meta- analysis because of the extreme variations in the ways research was conducted

6 Results During College there are four main categories of change. Psychosocial Moral Development Values and Attitudes Cognition and Learning

7 Quick note on the statistics used: In this study the researchers were comparing differences between freshmen and seniors in order to determine the effect that college has on the students. The researchers assigned number values to student characteristics they observed. There are three statistical values from this study that we need to understand. Effect Size: (Senior Mean-Freshmen Mean) ( measure the magnitude of an effect) Freshmen Standard Deviation Percentile difference: If you converted the effect size to an equivalent percentage point under a normal curve where the mean is set at 50%, The percent difference is the effect size’s percentage amount. Percentage point difference between freshmen and seniors: percentage +/- of seniors who hold a particular view vs. that of freshmen. This is also a more comprehensive number for widely variable data.

8 Cognition and Learning This is the most significant change that takes place during college Changes in cognition and learning: General Verbal:21% (Difference sen. to fresh.) Quantitative:10% Specific Material for Major: 31% Formal Reasoning:13% Abstract Reasoning: 34% What this tells us about seniors, compared to freshmen They gain more factual knowledge They are more cognitively developed/Organized and can thus deal with more complex forms of thinking This has the most enduring implications for post college life

9 Psychosocial Only modest changes, and these could be based off of the cognitive changes Two main sections of psychosocial; self systems and relational systems. Self systems Identity status:+15 to 25% (difference sen. to fresh.) Ego development:19% Self esteem:23% Relational Autonomy or independence:14% Personal adjustment:16% Interpersonal relations:6% Intellectual orientation:12% Seniors think better of themselves, are more mature, and are better at dealing with other people

10 Moral Development The difference between seniors and freshmen is consistent with other changes The researchers where unable to estimate a magnitude of effect, but the major change was from a conventional to post- conventional or principled reasoning

11 Values and Attitudes Religiosity:-11% in Conventional Religious Preference Humanism:+2-8% Political and Social Liberalism:+15-25% Value placed on Liberal education:+20-30% Aesthetic, Cultural and Intellectual Values:10-15% diff. Shift towards openness, tolerance, and desire for human rights. Also a clear shift towards a more liberal way of thinking and reasoning.

12 Who Benefits from this Research? Administrators of higher education Improved programs Better quality of life Graduate students going into teaching Knowledge of how students change Greater self-awareness State and federal policymakers Improved schools Knowledge of the importance of schools Students Knowledge of what they are going through Knowledge of what to expect in the future

13 Problems and limitations with findings and research Evidence was based on studies that measured the average change, this can mask individual differences. Some students may change a lot, others very little Some students may change counter to the movement of the group Students may move one way with certain variables and another way with other variables

14 Problems continued… The evidence does not necessarily reflect the impact of college There was no control group to compare non- college student’s development during these years There may be a developmental base for many of the changes Absence of change does not necessarily reflect the absence of college impact, maybe college fixes development.

15 More problems: Non traditional students were not addressed Most research did not address minority students Most of the studies focused on year old students, attending a four year institution full time, and living on campus The evidence does not necessarily point to internal growth / development Change can have multiple influences – some internal, some external

16 Questions: What do you think explains the shift during college to more liberal religious and political views? Do you see the changes cited as being due to development or being in college? A combination of the two? What does development during this time look like if you aren’t in college?


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