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March 26 , 2008

Methodological Advances and Issues in Studying College Impact

New Directions for Institutional Research, Number 161


Which curricular and cocurricular practices promote student learning and persistence? While most research and assessment on college student outcomes offers limited insight into causal effects, this volume provides strong evidence of the impact of college on students.

The first section discusses statistical analyses that offer more accurate estimates of the causal effect of a particular student experience, such as receiving a need-based scholarship or using academic support services. Providing an overview of the analytical framework, it also includes real-world examples to illustrate implementation for institutional researchers.

The second section includes original research to enhance the value of student surveys, including:
• aspects of questionnaire design and techniques to cope with item nonresponse,
• variation in respondent effort,
• interpretation of student self-reported gains, and
• practical insights to improve survey-based research.

This is the 161st volume of this Jossey-Bass quarterly report series. Timely and comprehensive, New Directions for Institutional Research provides planners and administrators in all types of academic institutions with guidelines in such areas as resource coordination, information analysis, program evaluation, and institutional management.
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