An in–depth look at one of a valuable tools for assessing student learning outcomes
Longitudinal assessments, in which researchers track the experiences of individual students over a predetermined period of time, are powerful tools for measuring college student learning outcomes and for institutional planning, policy, and program design. This volume in the critically acclaimed New Directions for Institutional Research comprises contributions from leading experts in the field from institutions of higher learning nationwide who focus on three key aspects of longitudinal assessment, namely, methodology, data collection, and the application of findings in the crafting of institutional improvement initiatives.
1. The Importance of Longitudinal Pretest–Posttest Designs in Estimating College Impact (Tricia A. Seifert, Ernest T. Pascarella, Sherri I. Erkel, Kathleen M. Goodman)
This chapter examines the prevalence of longitudinal pretest–posttest designs in higher education literature and presents an empirical example to demonstrate the value of these designs in identifying the impact of college experiences on student learning.
2. What Incentives Can Teach Us About Missing Data in Longitudinal Assessment (Georgianna L. Martin, Chad N. Loes)
This chapter investigates the role of incentives in reducing sample attrition and item nonresponse within a multi–institutional longitudinal study that used various incentive structures.
3. Required, Practical, or Unnecessary? An Examination and Demonstration of Propensity Score Matching Using Longitudinal Secondary Data (Ryan D. Padgett, Mark H. Salisbury, Brian P. An, Ernest T. Pascarella)
Using pretest–posttest data, this chapter examines the effectiveness of propensity score matching techniques compared to other analytic approaches in estimating the effect of a college experience on an educational outcome.
4. Using Longitudinal Data to Improve the Experiences and Engagement of First–Year Students (James S. Cole, Ali Korkmaz)
This chapter discusses how institutions can connect students′ high school engagement with their experiences and engagement during their first year of college.
5. Using Longitudinal Mixed–Methods Research to Look at Undeclared Students (Pauline J. Reynolds, Jacob P. K. Gross, Bill Millard, Jerry Pattengale)
This chapter explores the benefi ts of using a mixed–methods longitudinal approach in studying the effects of a specifi c intervention on student outcomes. The authors highlight the need for such approaches when institutional researchers seek to share practice–relevant information about complex phenomena.
6 Moving from Assessment to Institutional Improvement (Charles F. Blaich, Kathleen S. Wise)
This chapter discusses the evolution of the Wabash Study from a mixed–methods longitudinal research project to having a more intentional assessment focus on participating campuses. The authors detail the challenge and opportunity campuses face in using study data to foster institutional improvement.
7 Using Longitudinal Assessment Data to Improve Retention and Student Experiences (Carol Trosset, Steven Weisler)
This chapter describes an institutional researcher s efforts to use data to initiate a conversation about student characteristics, the student experience, and persistence to the second year. The authors discuss challenges and opportunities for facilitating institutional action.