A multidimensional approach to the assessment of alumni outcomes

Mark David McCarthy, Marquette University


The purpose of this study was to identify cognitive and affective outcomes of the undergraduate educational experience which are important to university alumni and to gather information about which of these outcomes were enhanced by that experience. Through the analysis of these two dimensions of collegiate outcomes and their relationships with gender, academic programs and levels of campus involvement, this project attempted to provide further definition to, and thereby greater understanding of, the impact of the college experience as perceived by alumni. The Alumni Outcomes Survey was used to gather information about the importance of college outcomes to a sample of 951 Marquette University alumni of the class of 1984, as well as the extent to which their university experiences helped them to gain or make progress in each of the outcomes. Factor analytic techniques were used to reduce the data for subsequent analysis of variance tests of the importance and gain differences according to gender, academic programs, and involvement-level subgroups. A test of correlation was used to explore the relationship of the importance and gain dimensions of alumni outcomes. Results indicated that the 27 outcomes could be reduced to 6 factors of importance and 5 factors of gains. A significant positive correlation between respondents' ratings of outcomes in terms of current importance and extent of gains was found. Significant differences among graduates with different genders, academic program affiliations, and reported levels of co-curricular involvement were identified for both dimensions. The greatest gains while in college were reported in the areas of Intellectual Skills, Vocational Preparation, and Personal and Social Development. These factors and Leadership Development were also identified as most important to alumni in their current lives. Men reported greater gains and importance for Intellectual Skills, while women indicated greater importance and gains in Vocational Preparation abilities. Differences across all the Importance and Gain factors were seen for graduates of the various academic programs. Respondents who experienced leadership opportunities reported greater gains in their personal development, general education, intellectual skills than respondents who were not involved in college life.

Recommended Citation

McCarthy, Mark David, "A multidimensional approach to the assessment of alumni outcomes" (1993). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9325687.