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The Effects of Academic Departments on Student Learning GRE

Centra, John A.; Hartnett, Rodney T.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Academic Achievement, Educational Quality, Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), Higher Education, Institutional Research, Undergraduate Study


The question of educational effects in higher education is reexamined by studying the effects of academic departments (rather than entire colleges) and employing as criterion measures achievement tests appropriate for the individual departments. Two separate samples of institutions and two separate criterion measures were used. The criterion measures for one sample of departments in four disciplines at small colleges were the Field Tests of the ETS Undergraduate Program. The criterion measures for another sample of departments in six disciplines at larger institutions were the Advanced Tests of the Graduate Record Examinations. Analyses of both sets of data revealed considerable betweendep variation in educational effectiveness within the same institution, thus suggesting that educational effects research of this kind is more reasonable at the department rather than the overall college level. Analysis of the characteristics of the departments failed to identify any features consistently associated with indices of effectiveness. (29pp.)

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