, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 267-289

A structural model of perceived academic, personal, and vocational gains related to college student responsibility

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper was to develop and test a model of college gains using Pace's conceptual theory of student responsibility and perceived college environment as a guide. An analysis of student responses at 11 selected institutions was accomplished using EQS, a covariance structure modeling technique. Findings suggest that the principal determinant of student gains is the effort that students put into their academic and social experiences. This finding held for gains in general education, personal growth, and vocational preparedness. Results suggest that what students do while at college is more important in defining what is accomplished than their backgrounds. Student involvement is enhanced by the perception that the college provides a generally supportive and facilitative environment. Observed effects of major and gender are complex and suggest the importance of the microenvironment in college outcomes research. While these variables are important in understanding the process by which gains are made, they are unimportant in accounting for gains.