Presentation on theme: "A CROSS CULTURAL INVESTIGATION OF STUDENT AND FACULTY PERCEPTIONS OF GENERAL EDUCATION: WHY PERCEPTION MATTERS Susan Gano-Phillips and Xiaoyan Wang AAC&U."— Presentation transcript:
A CROSS CULTURAL INVESTIGATION OF STUDENT AND FACULTY PERCEPTIONS OF GENERAL EDUCATION: WHY PERCEPTION MATTERS Susan Gano-Phillips and Xiaoyan Wang AAC&U General Education and Assessment Conference February 28-March 2, 2013 Boston, MA
Objectives of the Project To examine student and faculty perceptions of General Education using quantitative and qualitative methods To compare perceptions in a University in Hong Kong that was piloting GE for the first time, to a US University with a long tradition of GE
Outline Why perceptions matter? Scale Development and Reliability Quantitative Analyses: Compare Student and Faculty perceptions within each institution Conduct cross institutional (cultural) comparisons Qualitative Analyses: Conduct cross institutional (cultural) comparison of student and faculty perceptions of the goals of GE
Why Perceptions of GE matter? Since Dressel & Mayhews 1954 ACE publication, Johnston et al. (1991) note, Little has been done to identify and understand student perceptions regarding general education, much less reshape and harness them on its behalf. (p. 182) Despite concerns with career preparation, many studies show that undergraduates do value general education What students mean by general education is unclear
Why Perceptions of GE matter? When developing new programs or significantly revising existing ones, perceptions are a useful first- step in examining how well institutional values (goals/outcomes) are penetrating the institutions culture Student and faculty views of GE are often discordant Identifying and understanding student perceptions may allow us to reshape and harness those perceptions in service of greater learning
Survey Design Invite students enrolled in initial GE courses at their respective universities to complete a GE survey Invite faculty teaching in GE courses to respond to a parallel survey Survey collected demographic data, responses to a 27 item scale related intended learning outcomes and pedagogies related to GE, and open-ended responses regarding the learning that occurs in GE courses/programs
Scale Development A 20 item 5-point Likert scale was developed using a sample of more than 1200 respondents Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree Sample items administered: This course developed my ethical decision making skills. This course emphasized applying theories or concepts.
Scale Development – 20 items, 4 subscales Learning Skills: 6 items: alpha = 0.81 GE develops my oral communication skills GE develops my numeric and information literacy skills. Teamwork: 3 items: alpha = 0.81 GE requires students to work together on projects outside of class GE develops my teamwork skills Higher order thinking: 4 items: alpha = 0.82 GE emphasized making judments about the value of information GE emphasized synthesizing information and organizing ideas Personal development: 7 items: alpha = 0.81 GE helped me to understand my social responsibilities GE encouraged me to learn something about myself
Research Questions Data Analysis How do students and facultys views on GE compare within a given institution? Independent Samples t-test (compare means of students and faculty within each institution) How do students and facultys views on GE compare across the two institutions/cultures? Independent Samples t-test (compare means of HK and US faculty and students) What is the relative importance of knowledge, skills, and values in GE outcomes for students and faculty? Chi-square tests (compare expected proportions of responses across HK and US samples)
Student and Faculty Perceptions of GE at a University in Hong Kong
Student and Faculty Perceptions of GE at a University in the US
US vs. HK Faculty Perceptions of GE
US vs. HK Student Perceptions of GE
Summary of Quantitative Findings In general, faculty in both the US and HK universities perceive GE courses as achieving greater outcomes than students do. Across institutions, HK faculty perceive a significantly greater achievement of SKILL DEVELOPMENT than do US faculty. Across institutions, HK students perceive greater achievement in 3 of the 4 major GE outcomes: PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT, HIGHER ORDER THINKING and SKILL DEVELOPMENT than do their US counterparts. There was no significant difference across universities in perceptions of TEAMWORK.
Qualitative Responses Faculty and students responded to the open ended question: List a maximum of 5 things you believe every student should learn at college/university as a result of their general education program. Responses were coded as Knowledge Skills Values Interrater reliability was established at kappa = 0.90
Knowledge Definition: generalized knowledge unrelated to a practical skill or task (uses verbs like understanding or knowing) To know more about HK and China development Introduction to Philosophy Political awareness To know psychology Acquire updated information about the world economy General concepts of the subject taken Science development Basic law or policy knowledge
Skills Definition: a specific tool used in a practical manner to accomplish a task (includes critical thinking, integrating and applying knowledge into everyday life, reflection) Communication skills Leadership skills How to maintain good relationships with co-workers in the future Improved writing skills How to manage ones money Transferable skills learning Study habits or skills
Values Definition: efforts to imbue or develop certain ways of thinking (includes looking differently at a situation, taking a new perspective, valuing independence, and is related to ethics) What it means to be a good citizen Be hardworking Respect diverse people in society The concept of value in life The way to think and act positively in life To be open-minded in accepting different opinions Understanding myself and develop my own principles or values Eagerness to learn Broaden horizons Have a good learning attitude
Students Beliefs about GE Outcomes CategoryHK StudentsUS Students Knowledge28.3%32.0% Skills56.2%57.3% Values* 15.5% > 10.7% Proportion of Total Responses * X 2 = 7.69, p =.021
Facultys Beliefs about GE outcomes CategoryHK FacultyUS Faculty Knowledge* 30.0% > 13.6% Skills* 53.2% < 71.6% Values16.8%14.8% Proportion of Total Responses * X 2 = 8.67, p =.013
Summary of Qualitative Responses HK students report significantly greater emphasis on VALUES DEVELOPMENT as a result of GE than do US students HK faculty report significantly greater emphasis of KNOWLEDGE DEVELOPMENT than US faculty, while US faculty report significantly greater emphasis on SKILL DEVELOPMENT than do HK faculty
Implications for Future Research Do attitudes about GE change over students course of study? How might we positively impact early attitudes regarding GE? Why might a gap between faculty and student perceptions exist? Can or should it be reduced? Are students perceptions related to authentic assessments of students learning (e.g., CLA, CAAP)?
Questions and Discussion Please feel free to contact either author with additional questions: Susan Gano-Phillips Xiaoyan Wang