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The Identification and Evaluation of College Effects on Student Achievement GRE SAT

Centra, John A.; Linn, Robert L.; Rock, Donald A.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Office of Education, Academic Achievement, Academic Aptitude, Correlation, Educational Benefits, Graduate Record Examinations Area Tests, Higher Education, Institutional Characteristics, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Statistical Analysis


This report is the result of a research effort that tried to find out what determines how much a student learns during his or her 4 years in college. The major purpose was to find partial answers to two basic questions. (1) if the input with respect to student ability is held constant, will identifiable groups of colleges have graduates showing greater gain in achievement than others? (2) contingent on demonstrating differential gains between colleges, what are the characteristics of the most and least effective schools? The control variables were the Verbal and Mathematical scores of the SAT and the student's major field of study. The output performance variables were the Area Tests of the GRE Institutional Testing Program. The latter are considered achievement tests of institutional effectiveness. Institutional resources were also considered. Most of the colleges in the sample were small and included many types of liberal arts institutions. Results indicated that 85% to 91% of the between college variance was predictable from student input. A small but significant proportion was predictable from college income per student, the proportion of faculty with a doctorate, full time equivalent, and the interaction of these 3 variables for all but the GRE-Social Science. (AF).

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