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On the Interpretation of Student Perceptions of Their College Environment CUES

Centra, John A.; Linn, Robert L.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Environment, College Students, College and University Environment Scales (CUES), Higher Education, Institutional Characteristics, Student Attitudes


The purpose of this study was to explore further the relationships between student perceived college environment as measured by Pace's College and University Environment Scales (CUES) and objective institutional characteristics. CUES scores for 75 colleges (administered in 1965) were related to college mean scores of 1964 entering freshmen on SAT-V and SAT-M, sex composition of students in attendance, religious affiliation, and size of entering class. Although multiple correlations were all relatively high (particularly the .80 for the Propriety scale), there remained substantial variance on the five CUES scales that was not predictable from the set of five institutional characteristics. Comparing colleges with CUES scores that were much larger than predicted to colleges with CUES scores that were much smaller than predicted in stepwise regression analyses revealed systematic differences on two CUES scales: Scholarship and Practicality. For the Scholarship scale the systematic differences were geographical, with Northeastern colleges scoring lower than predicted. A "frame of reference" hypothesis is advanced as one possible explanation for systematic differences found.

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