Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Mary Anne Bunda

Second Advisor

Dr. Uldis Smidchens

Third Advisor

Dr. John Crowell


The purpose of this study was to investigate the validity of the College Outcome Measures Program (COMP) by determining if COMP is sensitive to differences among general education programs.

Two variables provided the operationalization of general education: (1) degree of institutional control over general education course selection, and (2) percent of total coursework devoted to general education. To control for additional factors known to impact upon students' learning during college, four concomitant variables were used in the analysis. These variables were selected following a review of the literature on the effects of college. The level of analysis was the institution; forty-one institutions comprised the final study sample. Least squares linear regression was used to analyze the data; a hierarchical procedure was used to enter variables into the regression models.

Since neither of the two general education variables produced statistically significant slopes in any of the regression models, neither of the two null hypotheses that formed the framework for the analysis were rejected. Therefore, there is no certainty that COMP is sensitive to differences among programs as defined by the degree of control that an institution assumes over general education course selection or the relative number of general education courses that students complete. However, both the sample size and the effect size in this study were small, meaning that statistical power was very low.

Despite the fact that the null hypotheses could not be rejected, two interesting findings resulted from the analysis. First, percent of students that are transfers produced statistically significant slopes in four of the seven regression models, suggesting that the degree of transfer behavior in an institution affects educational programming for all students. Second, several fairly small but noticeable partial correlations were found between the general education characteristics and COMP subscales. These two findings suggest that further validity research needs to be done on COMP using an expanded definition of general education. An additional benefit of this research is the contribution it makes to the literature on methodologies for studying the validity of tests designed to assess programs.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access