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Correlations of achievement, completion, interest, and satisfaction for adult learners and reflections on the meaning of success for adult education

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This paper discusses two important movements in higher education during the last decade: empirical analysis of educational outcomes and expansion of postsecondary educational opportunities for adults. Evidence is presented that indicates that many of the findings relating educational outcomes to background factors may not be important for adult open-learning programs. A discussion of the correlations that were significant is included as well as possible reasons why more significant findings did not arise. The paper then argues for a wider view of outcomes and a broader conception of success. Categories other than achievement, completion, interest, and satisfaction are presented. Among the student and institutional outcome measures discussed are educational and career development, personal development, community impact, and development of new knowledge.

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Much of this paper is based on an earlier presentation given at the AERA conference on correlates of success in nontraditional post secondary education in San Francisco, 1976. The author is particularly indebted to John Eggert for his substantive contribution and advice and council in the preparation of this paper. The University of Mid America (UMA) is Principally Funded by the National Institute of Education (NIE). The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of UMA or NIE.

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Forman, D.C. Correlations of achievement, completion, interest, and satisfaction for adult learners and reflections on the meaning of success for adult education. Alternative Higher Education 2, 151–163 (1977).

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  • High Education
  • Social Psychology
  • Empirical Analysis
  • Significant Finding
  • Career Development