Boston College


The Graduate School of Education

Department of Curriculum, Administration, and Special Education

Higher Education Administration


INVOLVEMENT AND STUDENT OUTCOMES: THE STUDENT DEVELOPMENT EFFECTS OF CO-CURRICULAR PROGRAMS


Dissertation


by

PAUL JOSEPH CHEBATOR


submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy


September, 1995


©copyright by PAUL JOSEPH CHEBATOR
1995


CHAPTER ONE

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Introduction

In his Carnegie Commission report, Campus Life: In Search of Community, Ernest Boyer (1990) indicates that throughout the history of American higher education, much attention has been given to the concept of "life outside the classroom" in American colleges and universities. In an earlier work, Boyer (1987) emphasizes the importance of out-of-classroom experiences, stating that "the effectiveness of the undergraduate experience relates to the quality of campus life and is directly linked to the time students spend on campus and the quality of their involvement in activities" (p. 180). In a more recent work, Winston and Miller (1994, p. 3) argue that a "quality educational experience for college students includes both formal academic learning and personal development outcomes."

The co-curriculum refers to non-academic experiences sponsored, sanctioned, or, in some way, supported by the college or university. Such experiences include participation in student clubs and organizations, intramural and intercollegiate athletics, student government, leadership programs, community service programs, and so on. Co-curricular involvement is particularly significant given the extent of student participation in such activities at most colleges and universities. In a study conducted at Harvard University (Angelo, 1988), ninety-six percent of the students surveyed had participated in some type of co-curricular activity during the Fall 1987 semester. In a study of the respondents to the 1970 Cooperative Institutional Research Project, Kapp (1979) found that over 80% of the students studied had participated in some type of co-curricular program. Bryant, Banta, and Bradley (1995) found that 95% of the students they surveyed participated in some type of recreational activities on campus. Despite the attention paid to the co-curriculum however, relatively little research and assessment has been done on the impact of different types of student involvement on the college experience.

The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of participation in three different types of co-curricular programs on the success and self confidence of college students at one institution. Students who participated in three different University-sponsored developmental programs were compared to each other as well as to a comparison group of students not involved in formal, university-sponsored programs of this type on a number of indicators of success including: self confidence, the ability to manage emotions, overall satisfaction with the college experience, academic achievement, and alcohol use. The theoretical foundation of the study lies in the Involvement Theory of Alexander Astin (1984) and the Student Development Theory of Arthur Chickering (1969).

Assessment in Contemporary American Higher Education

Born of public policy mandates during the economic slowdown in the mid 1980's (Hutchings & Marchese, 1990), assessment of student outcomes has become a widespread practice, encompassing both public and private institutions. Although assessment has been one of the principle thrusts in American higher education in recent years, relatively few assessment activities have focused on the impact of co-curricular programs.

The term assessment carries many meanings. Perhaps the most comprehensive definition of assessment is offered by Erwin (1991): "...the systematic basis for making inferences about the learning and development of students. More specifically, assessment is the process of defining, selecting, designing, collecting, analyzing, interpreting, and using information to increase students' learning and development" (p.15). Through the use of such assessment activities, institutions are acknowledging the importance of accountability in the academy.

The original goal of assessment in the public sector was to measure academic attainment. In the mid 1980's for example, the states of Texas, Florida, and Georgia required students in all public colleges and universities to demonstrate "college level skills" in order to advance to their junior year. In recent years the trend has shifted from this type of simplistic assessment to a more complex approach encompassing factors beyond normative testing of academic skills, including outside evaluation, one-on-one meetings, and criterion-based instruction. Approximately 40 states now mandate some type of assessment of institutional effectiveness, as do all regional accrediting agencies (Banta & Associates, 1993).

Over the past five years both public and private institutions have begun their own assessment programs. At many of these institutions, assessment generally goes well beyond the administration of standardized tests (Ewell, 1987). For example, at Alverno College in Milwaukee, assessment activities take a multiplicity of forms. These include objective and subjective measures, student self-assessment, feedback, external assessment, and assessment in a variety of settings, including one-on-one communications and group interaction (Hutchings & Marchese, 1990).

According to Change Magazine, public and private institutions in nearly forty states were active in assessment as of 1990 (Hutchings & Marchese, 1990). In a study conducted by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (Woodward, Hyman, Distinon & Jamison, 1990), 40% of the 821 responding institutions, from both the public and private sectors, reported that they had some type of institutional assessment program in place at the time of the survey and 21.2% indicated that they were in the process of developing such a program. Johnson, McCormick, Prus, and Rogers (1993) indicate that not only do forty or more states require some type of assessment effort, but all of the regional accrediting agencies do so as well. Accountability was the most frequently given reason for assessment on the campuses, followed by curricular reform, academic reorganization, and accreditation.

Recent literature in the assessment arena indicates that, in addition to state-based and accreditation association-based requirements for assessment and public accountability, there is a growing movement to develop a national assessment effort (Ewell, 1991). A panel of governors has promoted this movement, hoping to develop "performance-based assessment of the ability of graduating college seniors in state colleges and universities to think critically, communicate effectively and solve problems" (Ewell, 1991, p. 16). Recent enactment of the "Student's Right to Know" legislation, which requires all colleges and universities to publish statistics such as graduation rates, may also be viewed as a form of national accountability, if not assessment (Ewell, 1991).

Although the increased emphasis on assessment activities still focuses on academic outcomes, it can be argued that issues such as graduation rates and student academic performance are related not just to classroom learning, but to such factors as the quality of student life and student satisfaction with the institution (Tinto, 1987). These issues, in turn, are closely aligned with the co-curricular component of the university as demonstrated by researchers such as Astin (1975, 1977) and Pascarella and Terenzini (1991). Until recently, assessment literature has made scant mention of student affairs, student development, and the co-curricular experience. Nor has it looked at the relationship between co-curricular activities and the academic mission of the institution (Heller, 1988). The goals of the assessment movement are not yet uniformly clear (Peters, 1994).

In summary, most comprehensive assessment efforts to date have involved student academic outcomes as opposed to student development or psychosocial growth (Ewell, 1985, RiCharde, Olney & Erwin, 1993). Little attention has been paid to assessing the developmental mission of colleges and universities, even though research has indicated that co-curricular involvement has a major positive impact on the overall college experience for students (Pace, 1979; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991).

Assessment of Student Psychosocial Outcomes

Student psychosocial development is generally recognized as a major component of the mission of American colleges and universities. Prominent theorists such as Kohlberg, Chickering, and Perry, have conducted substantial research in this area (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991). The type of outcomes specified by these researchers varies, but perhaps is best summed up by Chickering's (1969) seven vectors of development: achieving competence, managing emotions, developing autonomy, establishing identity, freeing interpersonal relationships, developing purpose, and developing integrity. In general, these are the psychosocial goals of student development.

An emphasis on life outside the classroom and student development is not new. Looking as far back as the colonial college period, historians have identified the concept of "the collegiate way of life," whereby American colleges were concerned with students' moral and spiritual development as well as their intellectual development (Rudolph, 1962).

With the onset of Jacksonian democracy and the eventual movement from an agricultural to an industrial-based economy, a more egalitarian and utilitarian paradigm began to pervade American society. Existing institutions of higher education were not immune from the impact of these changes. As society become more complex, more egalitarian, and more goal-oriented, so did its institutions of higher education. "The increased complexity in both society and post-secondary education required new and innovative approaches to working with college students, and there was an increasing concern for student's extracurricular life and related experiences" (Miller, 1982, p. 7). As American colleges and universities evolved along with American society, they emphasized and valued growth that went beyond academic success to include "increased self-understanding; expansion of personal, intellectual, cultural, and social horizons and interests; liberation from dogma, prejudice, and narrow-mindedness; development of personal, moral and ethical standards; preparation for useful and productive employment and membership in a democratic society; and the general enhancement of the quality of graduates' postcollege lives" (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991, p. 162).

The historical evolution and growth of American colleges and universities coupled with the increased complexity of American society led to the student personnel movement and the creation of the position of student affairs officer (Miller, 1982). Student affairs divisions are now charged with the psychosocial development of students or, as Miller states, "The primary responsibility of student affairs professionals is to assist students in their personal growth, development, and education...accomplished through means other than instruction in an academic discipline" (1982, p. 10). Student affairs and its developmental mission have been defined by Miller and Prince as "The application of human development concepts in post secondary settings so that everyone involved can master increasingly complex developmental tasks, achieve self-direction, and become interdependent" (1976, p. 3) and by Stanford (1992, p. 17), as "A process by which traditional college-age students (18 - 24 years of age) mature, grow and develop psychologically and psychosocially."

Although there is general agreement among student affairs professionals and researchers that involvement in co-curricular programs and work, particularly on-campus work, does have a positive impact on student participants and that the level of a student's involvement in the college experience is correlated with a variety of developmental dimensions, (Angelo, 1988; Astin, 1988; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991), relatively little research has measured the quantitative and qualitative outcomes of participation in co-curricular activities. In addition, as Astin notes (1984), there is a need for additional research which examines the impact of different types of involvement on students.

Those studies that have assessed student development and student involvement have generally focused on a single dependent variable, such as student satisfaction, retention, or grade point average, coupled with a single independent variable, including involvement in one specific type of co-curricular program. Until the past few years, virtually no studies addressed multiple dependent variables tied to multiple independent variables. Chapter 2 of this document includes a review and appraisal of the more significant of these studies.

The Study Group on the Conditions of Excellence in American Higher Education (1984), in its influential report entitled, Involvement in Learning, recognized this lack and called for American higher education to begin assessing the effects of co-curricular programs. They recommended specifically that the benefits that accrue to students who are involved in on-campus activities be assessed and measured. The general lack of student development assessment efforts, coupled with research evidence that cognitive and non-cognitive factors interact closely (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991), underscores the need for more assessment activities in the student affairs area.

Perhaps one of the reasons for this relative dearth of assessment activities in student affairs is the difficulty in measuring student development. Unlike the traditional curricular approach to assessment, which largely measures cognitive growth and development, assessment in student affairs requires the measurement of student growth in the affective realm, creating significant complexities in measurement (Mines, 1985). Attitudes, values, self-concepts, aspirations, and personality dispositions are extraordinarily difficult to measure directly. The assessment of psychosocial development must rely on constructs created by the researcher. These constructs, which purport to measure developmental objectives, pose additional measurement difficulties beyond those encountered in traditional performance based assessment.

Added to the methodological difficulties inherent in assessing affective development is the absence of unanimous agreement on the desired outcomes of student development. There is little unanimity across the student affairs profession as to exactly what the specific goals and missions of programs in the student affairs area should be. Student development programs are generally viewed as being co-curricular, or outside the traditional classroom environment. (Kuh & Schuh, 1991). Whereas in a chemistry course it is relatively easy to agree on and measure desired outcomes, for example through performance on an objective-measure test, agreeing on and measuring the desired outcomes and developmental value of participation in student government, leadership development programs or volunteer services is extremely difficult.

One of the first and perhaps most significant books dealing with the difficulties and complexities of assessing student development is Assessing Student Learning and Development (Erwin, 1991). Although primarily a methodological handbook, Erwin does address some of the difficulties inherent in measuring affective growth and development. He identifies three dimensions: attitudinal, personal, and social, which he believes educators consider when they discuss "developing the whole student," and presents a variety of conceptual approaches which might be utilized in such an undertaking. Erwin identifies five factors that make the assessment of affective outcomes so difficult:

First, developmental objectives cannot be measured directly, but only indirectly, through behavior that is representative of the attitude or value.
Second, it usually takes longer than one semester to inculcate changes in development.
Third, the terms or constructs in these areas are still vague and imprecise.
Fourth, some people, such as parents, may perceive affective objectives as indoctrination, not education.
And fifth, concerns of privacy are appropriately raised (1991, p.43).

In summary, despite the widespread consensus that one of the goals of American higher education is the holistic development of college students (Boyer, 1990, Miller, 1982), and that the development and implementation of co-curricular programs by student affairs professionals is designed to foster such development (Ewell, 1991), a gap exists in our knowledge of the impact of co-curricular programs on students. "Most institutions purport to enhance this 'holistic' perspective of education; yet many lack the expertise to assess their effectiveness in these difficult-to-define areas" (Erwin, 1991, p. xvi).

The relative sparsity of assessment efforts in student affairs is particularly problematic in light of current economic retrenchment in higher education. Nearly every college and university in the country is experiencing a period of reductions and downsizing. Frequently, non-academic components of the institution experience the majority of these cuts, with student affairs staffs and programs constituting frequent targets for disproportional cost cutting. As Chickering and Reisser (1993) note, "During the 1980's and 1990's, changing demographics and reductions in state, federal, and local funding forced many institutions to reduce or reorganize student development functions" (p. 426).

Student affairs divisions have historically neglected to document the value of developmental programs to both students and the institution. Without the ability to demonstrate the validity and effectiveness of such programs and their value and worth to students, the existence of many of these programs may be endangered.

The Impact of Participation in Co-curricular Activities

Studies have explored, in a limited fashion, the developmental effects of co-curricular programs. Pascarella and Terenzini (1991) in their summary of the psychosocial affects of college identify involvement in campus life as positively affecting such psychosocial or affective areas as identity and self-esteem (p. 206). Astin (1977, 1984, 1988, 1993) likewise details a number of different ways in which student involvement enhances psychosocial student growth. An older study, (Winston, 1966) concluded that out-of-class experiences are responsible for approximately 70% of what a student learns in college.

The research is also clear that student psychosocial development is a critical component of what American higher education has come to value and strive for, the education of the whole person (Astin, 1985; Boyer, 1987; Kuh et al., 1991; Kuh & Schuh, 1991; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991; Winston, Barney, Miller, & Dagley, 1988). Astin notes that "Affective development is also regarded as important by many institutions. This includes emotional maturity, tolerance, empathy, and leadership ability" (1985, p. 67).

Theoretical Base of the Study

This study was predicated on the theoretical work of Alexander Astin and Arthur Chickering. It attempted to establish a link between these theories by assessing the impact of involvement on first year student's growth along the first two of Chickering's developmental vectors: developing competence and managing emotions. In addition, it investigated the relationship of student involvement to satisfaction with the overall college experience.

Astin's "Involvement Theory" (1984) provides a theoretical basis for investigating student involvement in the educational experience. Astin states that involvement or active engagement in academic and other activities is positively related to student learning and development. The theory also holds that both the quantity and quality of involvement are important in determining student outcomes and development. Quantity refers to the actual amount of time a student invests in the overall academic and co-curricular endeavor; quality refers to the intensity of the commitment the student devotes to the involvement. Astin defines a highly involved student as one who "devotes considerable energy to studying, spends much time on campus, participates actively in student organizations, and interacts frequently with faculty members and other students" (p. 297).

The Student Development Theory of Arthur Chickering (Chickering, 1969, Chickering & Reisser, 1993) provides us with a framework from which to begin examining and assessing the psychosocial development of students. Chickering's theory offers a means of understanding the impact of involvement in co-curricular activities by providing a detailed view of desirable student development outcomes.

Chickering theorizes that development during adolescence and early adulthood occurs along seven "developmental vectors": achieving competence, managing emotions, becoming autonomous, establishing identity, freeing interpersonal relationships, clarifying purposes and developing integrity. He sees developmental growth as positive movement along these vectors and states that colleges and universities can devise environmental conditions that either accelerate or retard such development.

Chickering's theory indicates that growth along the seven vectors is somewhat sequential, being generally accepted that individuals must have made some progress along the initial vectors before significant movement can occur on the subsequent ones. Consequently, the developmental changes expected of first year students will generally be along the initial vectors. Specifically the first two of his developmental vectors, developing competence and managing emotions, are held theoretically to preoccupy traditional-age college freshmen and to be necessary precursors to subsequent developmental tasks of early adulthood. One way of assessing the effectiveness of developmental, co-curricular programs, therefore, is to attempt to determine if these programs accelerate the accomplishment of these specific outcomes. Chickering's work offers a theoretical base for specifying desirable outcomes of college student development.

Chickering's first vector, "developing competence," comprises intellectual, physical, and social competence as well as a general sense of competence, or ability to cope with one's environment. It is perhaps, as Chickering (1969) indicates, the easiest vector to measure.

The second vector, "managing emotions," entails an awareness and understanding of one's emotions and the ability to control these emotions. Winston, et al., (1988) indicate that positive growth along this vector requires "Controlling emotions so that they are expressed in socially acceptable, nondestructive ways" (p.15).

Since it is not possible to measure these two vectors directly, it is necessary to operationalize them. In this study, the vector of developing competence was operationalized as grade point average (an indication of academic competence) and student self-confidence (an essential element of sense of competence). The vector of managing emotions was operationalized as performance on an inventory designed to assess this vector and by the extent of self-reported alcohol use. Both of these factors are indicative of the ability to manage emotions.

The literature indicates that Chickering's developmental vectors have been operationalized by some student affairs divisions through the use of developmental objectives related specifically to particular student affairs departments (Erwin et al., 1988). For example, for a student activities office, the objective was stated as "to help students develop a sense of identity through involvement with organizations and attendance at workshops, lectures, etc." (p. 11), and for the residential life program, "to help students develop autonomy from family and peers" (p. 7). The use of such measures as self confidence, academic success, and alcohol use are similar ways of operationalizing Chickering's initial vectors.

The researcher included one additional factor that is not directly related to Chickering's vectors in the construct of student success. That factor is overall student satisfaction with the educational environment. Astin (1987) has noted the importance of student satisfaction with the educational environment. He sees the degree of student satisfaction as a prime indicator of the effectiveness of the overall institutional environment. In addition, Astin and others have found a correlation between the level of student satisfaction and such factors as academic success and retention (Astin, 1975; Kuh & Schuh, 1991; Light, 1990).

The construct of student success in college was therefore composed of five factors: academic success, positive student self-confidence, satisfaction with the institution, the ability to manage emotions, and, responsible alcohol use. All are prime components of what Erwin terms the "higher order reasoning and affective developmental outcomes... and knowledge outcomes" (1991, p. xvi) or what the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (1987) characterized as the development of the whole person.

Need for Study

As noted earlier, a great deal of attention has been paid in recent years to the whole area of assessment in higher education, but the majority of assessment activity has focused on student academic outcomes. Although major contemporary theories about student learning and development indicate that student involvement is a crucial mediating variable in a variety of areas including student retention, academic achievement, and personal growth, little work has been done in the area of assessing student development or the impact of nonacademic experiences on students.

The research that has been done centers around simple, usually singular outcome measures such as student retention, grade point average, or student satisfaction. Many studies have established, for example, correlations between participation in student activities and student retention (Astin, 1975). Only recently, however, have researchers begun to take a more multi-dimensional approach to looking at outcomes of extracurricular programs, combining such measures as grade point average with self-concept (e.g., Walsh, 1985). Even institutions such as James Madison University which have institutionalized assessment efforts do not necessarily assess "the contributions of specific programs to student development" (RiCharde et al., 1993, p. 189).

In addition, as Astin (1984) notes, few, if any, studies have been conducted which compare different types of student involvement. In his seminal work on student involvement theory, Astin indicates that a needed next step in his theory would be to develop methodologies to compare different types of involvement and their impact on students. The majority of studies to date have investigated the consequences of a single program or co-curricular activity, such as participation in student government or participation as an orientation peer advisor. Few have compared the relationship between different types of co-curricular involvement and overall developmental impact. Pascarella and Terenzini (1991) refer to the impact that different types of involvement within the same institution has on students as the "within college effects" of student involvement.

Assessment of co-curricular programs is necessary to determine their value to students as well as to determine which type of program is most effective in meeting the developmental goals of the institution. Assessment results can and should guide program planning and personnel and budget allocations (Erwin, 1991). With fiscal constraints frequently driving decisions in today's colleges and universities, student affairs administrators must document the developmental impact of the programs they are supporting and share this knowledge with the institutional community in order to gain campus-wide credibility and to compete successfully for declining resources. In addition, as Miller (1982) points out, the use of assessment in the student affairs area could prove to be a useful tool for enhancing the self esteem of the student affairs staff and in promoting their own professional development. Lastly, assessment can provide the data needed for program evaluation and subsequent program modification, improvement, or even program dissolution. Consequently, it is imperative that student affairs professionals begin assessing the impact of involvement in co-curricular activities on student development outcomes.

Overview of the Study

This research investigated the relationship between three specific types of formal, university-sponsored, co-curricular involvement and successful college outcomes. The primary intent of the study was to determine how involvement in intensive, formally structured, university-sponsored activities relates to student success in college as measured both by progress along Chickering's first two vectors, achieving competence and managing emotions, and by student's satisfaction with the overall college experience. Successful college outcomes was measured by operationalizing Chickering's first two developmental vectors as academic success, self-confidence, the ability to manage emotions, and responsible alcohol use, as well as by assessing student satisfaction with the overall college experience.

Students involved in three distinct co-curricular experiences were compared to one another as well as to a comparison group of students not involved in formal co-curricular programs. The three co-curricular experiences studied were a freshman leadership program, a community service program affiliated with an academic department, and the non-scholarship intercollegiate athletic program. All three of these programs can be described as intensive as well as formal; they are sponsored by the institution, require regular attendance and participation, and have certain program-specific expectations for all student participants.

These programs represent three types of common co-curricular activities in which contemporary college or university undergraduates participate. The programs differ significantly, however, in content and nature, in students' motivation for participation, in the characteristics of the students who participate, and in their potential impact on students. The use of a comparison group of students who had not been involved in any formal, university-sponsored co-curricular program allowed the researcher to investigate possible differences between these formally involved students and students without formal co-curricular involvement.

By studying the participants of these three distinct programs, as well as the comparison group, the research investigated differences associated with different types of involvement. The literature tells us that student involvement matters; what it doesn't tell us very clearly is what kind of involvement matters and what kind of outcomes result from participation in co-curricular activities. A study such as this provides college and university administrators with a tool by which to make informed decisions about program design and resource allocation.

The study took place at Boston College, a private, Catholic, university with an undergraduate population of 8,800 students. The study population consisted of those sophomores at Boston College who participated, as freshmen, in the three programs during the 1992-93 academic year. A total of forty-eight students in the Emerging Leader Program, fifty-two in the academic/community service, PULSE Program, and one hundred and thirty-nine non-scholarship student athletes were surveyed. In addition, a comparison group of three hundred and ninety seven sophomores were surveyed.

The three programs delineated above were selected to represent distinct types of first year student involvement in life outside the classroom. In the first instance, the Emerging Leader Program, the selected students were involved in a year long program, outside of the traditional classroom environment, which is specifically designed to enhance their interpersonal and leadership skills. In the second program, PULSE, a community service component was integrated with academic course work. In the third, non-scholarship intercollegiate athletics, the principal activity involved athletic participation and competition under the supervision of coaches, trainers, and academic support staff.

Student participants in these three university-sponsored programs, as well as students in the comparison group, were compared on the construct of student success in college, which was measured in several ways. An instrument was developed to investigate grade point average, student satisfaction with college, self-reported alcohol use, the ability to manage emotions, and student self-confidence.

Limitations of the Study

The researcher recognizes certain limitations inherent in this study. First, since this is not a longitudinal study, with a pre-test and post-test format, but rather a "snapshot in time," it is not possible to state unequivocally a cause and effect relationship between involvement in these programs and student success. It is theoretically possible that any differences found between students in the four groups (three program groups and one comparison group) on the dependent variables were pre-existing. Students are attracted to programs of these types for a variety of reasons. Conceivably, students who are predisposed to becoming involved in formally structured, university-sponsored, co-curricular programs may differ from their uninvolved peers on Chickering's first two vectors.

Second, this study focused on students who were involved in formal co-curricular activities. It did not account for other types of involvement that are not related to the curricular or co-curricular mission of the university. Specifically, part-time work, either on or off campus, has been shown to have a positive impact on student outcomes (Angelo, 1988; Light, 1990). Student employment is also intertwined with the issue of socio-economic status. Students who need to work while in college may not have the time to participate in co-curricular programs of the type studied here. Consequently, the sample of involved students in the present study may be skewed towards backgrounds with the financial wherewithal to allow the student the time to participate in such activities, in lieu of working while in college. This was explored by comparing the financial status of the involved students (through use of parent's level of education and financial aid status) with the uninvolved comparison group.

Third, as is clearly discussed by Pascarella and Terenzini (1991), it is virtually impossible to separate the effects of the formal involvement in the programs from the informal effects of student's interaction with their peers and the program personnel. Is student growth and development attributable to the actual curricula and/or activities of the program or is it simply a result of frequent and ongoing interaction with similarly-minded peers and mentoring adults? Since the three types of involvement being studied are so very different, any similarities between the three groups of involved students, as well as dissimilarities with the comparison group, may be attributable to factors other than the specific characteristics of any one program.

Fourth, this study may not be generalizable to other institutions and other types of co-curricular programs. Differing institutional environments, different program requirements and qualifications, and differing developmental missions restrict the results of this study to Boston College. Nevertheless, the underlying theoretical assumptions and methodology of this study, as well as the findings of this study should be of assistance to other institutions who want to assess the effects of different types of co-curricular programs on their students.

It is possible to control for some preexisting differences through statistical analysis using demographic survey data. Some of the factors which may be considered intervening variables and which were controlled are entering student admissions ranking, Scholastic Aptitude Test scores, parent's socioeconomic status, type of high school attended, and gender.

Significance of the Study

In summary, the researcher intended to contribute to closing the gap which currently exists in the literature by studying the relationship between involvement in different types of formalized co-curricular programs (or no formal involvement) with development factors relating to student success in college. This type of information is critical if student affairs developmental programs are to establish their worth and document their effectiveness in contributing to what Astin (1987) terms "value-added excellence" in the current period of declining enrollments and economic retrenchment.
CHAPTER TWO

REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

Introduction

This study of co-curricular student involvement is based on the college student development theories of two eminent higher education researchers and theorists, Alexander Astin and Arthur Chickering. The independent variable in this study, student involvement, relates to Astin's work; the dependent variable, student success in college, is built upon the developmental theory of Chickering.

Relevant literature also includes numerous studies which focus on the issue of student involvement and its outcomes. Most of these studies explore the relationship between a specific type of involvement and a unidimensional student outcome, for example, student satisfaction or student retention. Few studies explore multiple outcomes or compare different types of student involvement. Nevertheless, the studies have demonstrated that involvement in co-curricular activities has a positive effect on the construct called student success in college.


Astin's Involvement Theory

Alexander Astin has studied and written extensively in the area of student involvement in higher education ( Astin, 1968, 1975, 1984, 1985, 1987; 1993; Astin, Korn & Green, 1987). Perhaps his most significant work in this area is his theory of student involvement. This theory defines involvement as "...the amount of physical and psychological energy that the student devotes to the academic experience" (Astin, 1984, p. 297). Astin refers to the academic experience in a broad sense that encompass both classroom learning and out-of-class experiences. Astin's theory is predicated on five basic postulates:

1) Involvement refers to the investment of physical and psychological energy in various objects.
2) Involvement occurs along a continuum.
3) Involvement has both quantitative and qualitative features.
4) The amount of student learning and personal development associated with any educational program is directly proportional to the quality and quantity of student involvement in that program.
5) The effectiveness of any educational policy or practice is directly related to the capacity of that policy or practice to increase student involvement
(Astin, 1984, p. 298).

Astin's theory presents a paradigm for viewing student participation in co-curricular activities, stressing the concepts of commitment and time. Commitment refers to the qualitative or content dimension of involvement and time refers to the quantitative dimension. Learning and development are primarily a factor of the degree of effort and energy committed by students to a particular learning experience, whether a chemistry course or a student affairs-sponsored developmental program. In Astin's view, involvement is an active concept which requires the student to invest time and energy. In Achieving Educational Excellence, Astin (1985) makes the point that students are primarily interested in the "existential benefits" of the college experience, meaning, among other things, the "subjective satisfaction associated with...extracurricular and academic involvement, recreational activities..." (p 21). This interest sets the stage for student co-curricular involvement.

Astin's theory serves as a connector between pedagogical theory and student outcomes by providing "a link between the variables emphasized in these theories ... and the learning outcomes desired by the student and the professor" (Astin, 1984, p. 300). Astin states that any program whether academic or co-curricular, must provide students with intrinsic motivation to commit both time and effort to it. Those programs that motivate students to make such a commitment are the most successful. The focus is on the student and her/his reaction to the program, rather than just on the program itself. Even a well funded, sophisticated, co-curricular program will only meet its stated objectives if students are motivated to commit the time and energy necessary to succeed. Students need to be active, committed participants in the learning process.

Astin's other works, particularly his study of college dropouts (1975) and his studies of the impact of college on students (1977, 1993) also relate to his subsequent formal theory of involvement. In the former work, Astin determined that student involvement was a prime factor in keeping students in school; in the latter study, he determined that a number of factors related to college attendance, including involvement in academic honors programs, student government, and athletic programs, had an overall positive impact on student development. Astin, Korn, and Green (1987) also determined that involvement was directly related to students' satisfaction with college and with retention. Astin sums it up best, perhaps, in his most recent work (1993), when he states that "A considerable body of higher education research indicates that [these] various forms of involvement can have substantial effects on the student's development" (p. 71).

Chickering's Student Development Theory

The construct of "student success in college" is directly related to the theoretical framework for student development articulated by Chickering in Education and Identity (1969). In this work and his subsequent work with Linda Reisser, Education and Identity - Second Edition (1993), Chickering establishes seven vectors of development that characterize the growth of late adolescents and young adults in higher education. These seven major areas of development are: achieving competence (including intellectual, physical, and social), managing emotions, becoming autonomous, establishing identity, freeing interpersonal relationships, clarifying purposes, and developing integrity.

While Chickering states that students may experience development along these vectors simultaneously, there is an implied hierarchy to the vectors. "Mastery of the first three vectors prepares the individual for the identity vector, which in turn paves the way for attention to the last three vectors" (Knefelkamp, Widick & Parker, 1978, p.31). Implicit in his theory is that movement along all seven vectors is desirable and possible, and that one of the goals of the contemporary college or university is to foster such growth and development. Chickering does not conceptualize the vectors as being a straight line, rather he envisions them as spirals or steps, and sees movement along the vectors in two dimensions, "direction and magnitude" (Chickering, 1979, p. 8). Movement along these vectors is the result of a constant series of challenge and response. As Knefelkamp et al., state, "The role of the environment provides the challenges or stimulation which encourages new responses and ultimately brings about developmental changes" (1978, p.21).

Of these seven vectors, the first two, achieving competence and managing emotions relate directly to the construct of student success in college. In describing his concept of sense of competence in Education and Identity, Chickering speaks of college students' increased confidence in themselves and their abilities, as well as "increased trust in their abilities" (Chickering, 1969, p 34) and alludes to the positive impact of satisfaction on the development of competence. Chickering compares competence to a pitchfork with three tines, "Competence is a three-tined pitchfork. Intellectual competence, physical and manual skills, and interpersonal competence are the tines. But the handle is most important. Without it, no work can be done, no matter how sharp and sturdy the times. A sense of competence stems from the confidence that one can cope with what comes and achieve goals successfully." (Chickering & Reisser, 1993, p. 53). Chickering suggests that the development of a sense of competence sets the stage for students to pursue other developmental vectors. Positive movement on this vector leads to enhanced self-confidence as well as "increasing readiness to take responsibility, increasing openness, and increasing willingness to take risks with one's self-esteem" (Chickering, 1969, p. 37).

Managing emotions, according to Chickering, relates to the acceptance of human emotions and the development of self control (Chickering, 1969). Chickering (1993) focuses on four "toxic feelings", which have implications for student life both inside and outside of the classroom, "(1) fear and anxiety, (2) anger leading to aggression, (3) depression, guilt and shame, and (4) dysfunctional sexual or romantic attraction" (p. 90-91). These toxic feelings are linked to many of the dysfunctional behaviors we see on today's campuses, including date rape, domestic violence, intolerance, and substance abuse.

The management of emotions begins first with the actual experiencing of the various emotions associated with adolescence and accepting them as part of the normal psyche. The ability to successfully control emotions such as anger, lust, hate, and love will not develop until they have been experienced and accepted. A successful integration of the emotional realm with the behavioral realm is the true task of this vector and, as Chickering points out, "Only by tentative testing through action or symbolic behavior can integration occur" (1969, p. 46). In discussing students who have not yet fully achieved this integration, Widick, Parker and Knelfelkamp state, "...this limited ability to manage emotions is reflected in the common problems of residence hall damage, roommate conflict, exploitive sexual encounters, various forms of chemical dependency..." (1978, p 22), or, as Chickering puts it, "When management of emotions is impaired, learning is hampered and achievement falls short of potential" (p. 46).

Students change in many ways during their college years. Although it is difficult to attribute these changes exclusively to the college experience, the extensive research on the impact of college finds that students do experience positive growth in college, and that this development occurs as a result of the characteristics and nature of the college experience (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991). Chickering's theory provides us with one way of looking at these changes. It helps us to understand what development to expect and identifies specific behaviors that are indicative of this development. It also helps us to define, in general terms, some of the conditions that affect development.

It is important to point out that development along Chickering's vectors is generally a result of some type of environmental stimulation (Widick, 1978). It is interesting to note, particularly in light of the present study, that Chickering states quite clearly that participation in athletics provides significant opportunities for positive movement along both the sense of competence vector and the managing of emotions vector.

Chickering himself suggests six "Conditions for Impact," or ways that colleges can encourage development, stressing that a wide range of developmental opportunities exist within the academy. While he treats these factors as hypotheses, he asserts in the second edition of his book that "The substantial evidence that has accumulated...consistently validates those hypotheses" (Chickering & Reisser, 1993, p. 265). Of these six conditions, five are relevant to co-curricular programs. His first factor, "clarity and consistency of objectives," addresses the need for the development of community consensus and echoes the work of Boyer (1991) and Kuh et. al., (1991). The second factor, "institutional size," addresses the necessity for accessible settings and opportunities for individual participation. His third factor, "curriculum and teaching," addresses the need for individualization and flexibility of the learning experience. His fifth, "faculty and administration," points out the need for increased interaction between students and non-parental adult role models. Chickering's last factor, "student culture," "defines the appropriate response to institutional authority and the accepted modes of interaction with faculty..." (Chickering, 1969, p 155).

In addition to the above, Chickering's work suggests five major methods for promoting developmental growth:

1) Engage the student in making choices;
2) Require interaction with diverse individuals and ideas;
3) Involve students in direct and varied experiences;
4) Involve students in solving complex intellectual and social problems;
5) Involve students in receiving feedback and making objective self assumptions
(Widick, et al., 1978, p. 27).

The three co-curricular programs in this study all share, to varying degrees, components of the above operational strategies. In light of the above, it is evident that participation in co-curricular programs provides many of the theoretical conditions for developmental growth. In sum, Chickering's work provides a road map for the investigation of this concept of success which takes into account student's cognitive (gpa), affective (self-concept, satisfaction), and behavioral (alcohol use, ability to manage emotions) realms.

Chickering's work provides a general framework from which to look at student development. As Widick et al (1978, p. 28 ) point out, "The strength of his work lies in his ability to convey the broad picture; the weaknesses stem from a lack of specificity." This vagueness has been the subject of criticism of researchers (White & Hood, 1989) who found little evidence supporting his theory after completing a factor analysis of scores designed to measure six of Chickering's vectors.

In an earlier study, Hood (1982), utilized an instrument to measure growth of students between their freshman and senior years on three of Chickering's vectors, developing purposes, freeing interpersonal relationships, and establishing identity. In this study he found no significant change on the developing purposes vector, significant positive change on the freeing interpersonal relationships vector, and negative growth on the establishing identity vector. He suggests that the results of this study indicate that growth on some of the vectors may not take place until after college. The instruments used to measure the vectors in all three of the studies mentioned above were developed as part of the Iowa Student Development Project, and are collectively known as the Iowa Student Development Inventories (Hood & Jackson, 1983).

Chickering does little to elucidate exactly how growth in developing competence, managing emotions, or any of the other vectors is achieved. As Chickering himself points out in an interview fifteen years after the publication of his book, "...it is not particularly useful to try to move discussions of general theory to detailed levels of applications that might seem to be prescribed or generalizable" (Thomas & Chickering, 1984, p 394). In addition, this theory was developed in a milieu of predominantly white, traditionally aged college students (18-24). Thus its validity and applicability may be limited in today's environment of older, more diverse learners.

While relatively little research has been conducted on the theory, particularly in light of its widespread acceptance and seminal influence, Chickering's work continues to be one of the most frequently quoted and used developmental theories in higher education. This is true not only in theory but in practice. This theory, perhaps more than any other continues to function as a framework for practitioners in the area of student affairs in higher education, perhaps primarily because it easily lends itself to practical application and utilization. This is especially true of his "Conditions for Impact," which offer practitioners six suggested areas where colleges and universities can create opportunities that can, in his words, "accelerate or retard development in each vector" (p. 144).


Student Involvement Studies

Numerous researchers have investigated student participation in extracurricular activities. While the term involvement means many different things to researchers, perhaps the definition offered by Kuh, et al. defines the term most clearly: "...active participation in activities and events that are not part of the curriculum but nevertheless complement the institution's educational purposes" (1991, p. 7). Some have taken a more general approach to the issue of student involvement; others have looked at very specific types of involvement and specific student outcomes.

Involvement in General

A report issued in 1984 by the National Institute of Education (Study Group on the Conditions of Excellence in American Higher Education) stressed as one of its major themes that student involvement is one of the keys to learning. Six years later, a Carneigie Foundation report (Boyer, 1990), also stressed the importance of student involvement in the overall academic enterprise.

Utilizing data from a sub-sample of the 1970 survey of college freshman conducted by the Cooperative Institutional Research Project, Kapp (1979), in an unpublished doctoral dissertation, found that over 80% of the college graduates studied had participated in some type of co-curricular activity and that those who did participate tended to be more satisfied with the social life at their college and with their involvement with faculty and staff. The sample consisted of 6,108 Caucasian, Bachelor's degree recipients. She also found that these involved students tended to have more confidence in their leadership ability, their thinking ability, and their ability to get along with people. Despite the large sample size, the fact that she only looked at white students and only at students who completed their Bachelor's degree, and didn't define involvement limits the value and validity of this study. In a study conducted at Harvard University (Angelo, 1988; Light, 1990) it was found that 86% of the women and 76% of the men participated in co-curricular activities. In this latter study however, no clear definition of involvement was stated nor was the amount of time involved in the activity specified,

Pascarella and Terenzini (1991) in their comprehensive review of the literature entitled, How College Affects Students, indicate that the research literature supports the claim that student involvement has a "significant and positive influence on various dimensions of general cognitive development" (p. 147). The literature also clearly indicates that student's social and academic self-images are positively related to "involvement in the formal and informal academic and social systems of their institutions" (p. 192). The authors include co-curricular activities in the latter category.

In presenting their findings, the authors conducted a "narrative or explanatory literature review" (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991, p. 9), utilizing a relatively subjective "weight of evidence" standard to compare the results of various studies. In analyzing their data, the authors chose to organize and structure their work around the different types of outcomes resulting from the college experience rather than around the factors in the collegiate environment which cause or are related to the various outcomes. The outcomes they chose to focus on were: cognitive-psychological, cognitive-behavioral, affective-psychological, and affective-behavioral. They also used six guiding questions to assist in their analysis, questions centering around such issues as: what changes occur during college, is the change the result of attending college, what are the differential effects of different kinds of postsecondary institutions, what are the different outcomes within institutions, what are the different outcomes between institutions, and what are the long-term outcomes of college attendance.

Pascarella and Terenzini undertook a monumental task in synthesizing the recent literature on college impact. For the purposes of this study, the evidence they present is quite unwieldy and difficult to utilize due to the way the authors chose to organize their data. If their data had been organized around the "potential sources of institutional influence on college outcomes" (p. 5), rather than around the outcomes themselves, this text would have been of greater value in the present study. Practitioners too would find more value in this alternative method of organization. Nevertheless, this work is a comprehensive effort to summarize and synthesize the available data on college impact and, in general, lends credence to the widely-held belief that college attendance has an overall positive impact on students in a variety of ways. The authors themselves, however, acknowledge certain limitations in their findings resulting from limitations in the literature itself. Most of the studies they reviewed dealt with traditional college students, many of the studies presented data from only one program or one institution which, consequently, may not be generalizable to the student population-at-large, and some of the instruments utilized in the studies were of questionable validity.

No review of the general literature in this area would be complete without a mention of the Involving Colleges Study (Kuh, Schuh, Whitt & Assoc., 1991). The theme of this qualitative study was the importance of student involvement to the overall educational experience. The authors of this report identified, after a review of the literature, nine guiding questions which they used in their study. These questions focused on such factors as: institutional philosophy, culture, student body makeup, faculty involvement with students, co-curricular resources, institutional support for the co-curricular, the nature and extent of student involvement, availability of on and off campus student employment, and other factors related to student involvement and student development. The authors then assembled a panel of experts to nominate colleges and universities that fit, in the panel's opinion, the criteria established by the authors for "Involving Colleges," that is, institutions which provided "high-quality out-of-class learning and personal development experiences for undergraduate students" (Kuh et al. 1991, p. 25). The list of colleges and universities was narrowed to fourteen institutions which the researchers felt were a representative sampling of such institutions and which included large and small, urban and rural, public and private, single sex and coeducational, and church-affiliated and non-sectarian institutions.

Once the institutions to be studied were selected, a team of researchers conducted over twelve hundred interviews with faculty, staff, and students at these colleges. The final report of the study looks at each of the fourteen selected institutions on the basis of the nine guiding questions delineated above, and culminates with a series of conclusions and recommendations.

The primary focus of the study was student involvement in the life of the college, both curricular and co-curricular. In their report the authors defined a "high quality out-of-class experience" as one that, although not part of the formal curriculum, nevertheless "complements the institution's educational purposes" (Kuh et al., 1990, p. 7). The authors also state unequivocally that these experiences contribute to the learning and personal development of students. This study reiterated the importance of student involvement in the educational experience and also stressed the importance that the role of community plays on campus.

By the author's own admission, the institutions studied do not represent a scientific sample and they acknowledge that the schools studied are not necessarily the most successful nor the "most involving" colleges and universities in the country. Nevertheless, the depth of detail and the objective analysis of each institution, combined with the diversity of the sample of institutions studied, provide very practical and valuable insights into the full fabric of student life and campus culture at these institutions, and provide many example of practices, programs, policies, and procedures that are easily transferable to other institutions.

While not addressing student involvement in co-curricular activities per se, Erwin and Love (1989) found that certain environmental factors, such as participation in Greek fraternities and part-time work are positively correlated with student's performance on the Student Development Task Inventory-2 (SDTI-2), an instrument designed to assess three of Chickering's vectors, developing autonomy, developing purpose, and developing mature interpersonal relationships. In this study the authors acknowledge certain limitations including the lack of a longitudinal component, a lack of socio-economic data and parental information, and relatively small sample sizes.

Hood (1984), in a longitudinal study at the University of Iowa, administered an instrument designed to assess growth along three cognitive and three interpersonal dimensions between the freshman and senior years. Approximately one thousand freshmen completed one of the six instruments during freshman orientation in the summer of 1977; four years later the same students were asked to retake the same instruments as well as complete a demographic questionnaire. The completion rate for the follow-up in 1981 was between 60 and 80 percent, depending on the specific instrument.

The results of this study indicated positive growth on the cognitive dimensions over the four years. Significant growth was also found on two of the interpersonal dimensions (identity and relationships). The third interpersonal measure, Developing Purposes, was less clear as the instrument used, Barratt's Developing Purposes Inventory, "was found to contain a number of weaknesses" (Hood, 1984, p. 18). Of particular relevance to this study is the fact that the self-confidence subscale of the Erwin Identity Scale showed a significant positive relationship to active participation in student activities.

One of the difficulties with this study lies, once again, in the lack of clear definitions. The author cites evidence supporting a positive relationship between self-confidence and participation in student activities without defining specifically what is meant by participation in student activities. In addition, although the sample size of nearly 1000 seems large, it must be pointed out that each member of the sample completed only one of the six instruments in 1977. Consequently, the Developing Purposes Inventory, for example, was completed by approximately 167 freshmen out of a total of nearly 6000. The study also fails to control for differing entry characteristics among the students and also does not do a very comprehensive job in identifying possible intervening and/or confounding variables that might have arisen during the four years between pre-test and post-test.

Ory and Braskamp (1988) compared seventy-four students involved in an academic "transition" program and seventy-four students in an academic "honors" program, with what they termed seventy-seven "regular" students, i.e. students not involved in any particular, formalized, academic program. While most of the study assessed student's attitudes toward a variety of academic concerns, the study did find that the students in the two special programs "appeared to get more for their effort than did the regular students" (p. 128) and that "active participation in these program activities led to greater academic and interpersonal gains" (p. 128). One of the research questions asked if students in the special academic programs were more involved in other areas on campus, for example, art and music activities, clubs and student activities, and utilization of physical and recreational facilities. The study found that the students in the honors program were more involved in these activities than the students in the transitional program and that the transitional students, in turn, were more involved than the regular students. What the study never addressed was the impact that this co-curricular involvement had on the students and whether some of the differences found in the study may have been attributable to this co-curricular involvement.

Winter, McClelland, and Stewart (1981) conducted a broad study of seven liberal arts colleges. The authors acknowledge that the selection of the sample was neither random nor scientific, but resulted from personal contacts and personal interests. One of their findings was that students who were involved in formal, university-sponsored co-curricular activities were more mature and had stronger management and career decision-making skills. They also found that student athletes at these institutions exhibited higher scores on the Test of Thematic Analysis than non athletes. The Test of Thematic Analysis is an instrument developed by Winter and McClelland designed to assess the critical thinking abilities that are "supposed to be characteristic of the liberally educated person" (Winter, et al., 1981, p. 27).

Walsh (1985) determined that first year students who participated in a student development group were more satisfied with their college experience, had higher grades, and possessed better self-concept than did a comparison group. In this study, however, only 27 of the 60 students in the experimental group completed the program. This drop out rate of 55% may have affected the results. It is possible, perhaps even likely, that the 27 students who completed the program were more highly motivated, had more positive self-concepts, and were more skilled at the outset. In addition, the time span over which this change was measured was relatively short.

Williams and Winston (1985) in their study of the relationship of employment and participation in organized student activities to developmental task achievement found that involved students have greater independence and more appropriate educational plans than uninvolved students. They compared differences in developmental task achievement between students who participated in organized student activities and work and found, in general, that students who participated in activities were stronger in areas of interdependence and education, career plans, and lifestyle plans than students who worked but did not participate in student activities. The authors acknowledge that no cause and effect relationship was established because all measurement was done ex post facto. The differences may, in fact, have been pre-existing. In this study, the only measure of involvement was "active participation" as reported by the students. There was no attempt to define participation more clearly either quantitatively or qualitatively.

The Harvard Assessment Seminars (Angelo, 1988, Light, 1990) published a number of major findings that are directly related to this study: participation in volunteer work as well as part-time work does not negatively affect grades and has a positive effect on overall student satisfaction; participation in intercollegiate athletics has a somewhat negative effect on academic success, particularly for freshmen and sophomores; participation in athletics is positively related to both academic and social satisfaction; involvement in other types of co-curricular activities, even among those who invest a great deal of time in these activities, does not have a negative effect on grades. Overall, when combining all co-curricular activities (work, athletics and extracurricular), no negative effect on academic achievement was determined.

This study went far beyond issues of student involvement in the co-curricular life of the institution to include other issues such as relationships with significant others, foreign language study, and hobbies. The sample was 388 randomly selected Harvard undergraduates, representing approximately six percent of the total population. Of this total, 365 were interviewed by the research team during the Fall, 1987 semester; during the Spring, 1988 semester, 359 of the original sample participated in follow-up interviews. While this study portrayed a comprehensive view of Harvard students, its generalizability to other colleges and universities is limited due to the academic eliteness of Harvard and the resulting academic and, frequently, economic selectivity of its student body. Nevertheless, the study provides a very valuable, in-depth look at the effects of a number of different factors of student life at a major institution.

Stanford (1992) studied presidents of registered student organizations at two major state universities, comparing their performance on Winston and Miller's Student Development Tasks and Lifestyle Inventory (SDTI) to their level of involvement as measured by Winston and Massaro's Extracurricular Involvement Inventory. The results showed a significant, positive relationship between level of involvement and performance on the "Establishing and Clarifying Purpose" scale of the SDTI. They showed a positive, but somewhat less dramatic, relationship to the other two scaled measured by the SDTI, "Developing Mature Interpersonal Relationships" and "Academic Autonomy."

While this study is an interesting attempt to investigate the relationship between the theoretical constructs of Chickering and Astin, it is marred by both design and reporting weaknesses. In the latter case, no return rates are given for the study. The article indicates that 81 students from one institution and 148 from another were participants in the study, but no population numbers are provided. There is no indication as to what percent of the entire population these participants reflect. In the former case, no attempt was made at investigating a comparison group of students who were not organizational presidents nor was any attempt made to characterize or classify the types of organizations in which they were involved.

Smith (1993) investigated the relationship between participation in extracurricular activities and student development. Three outcome measures were assessed: academic autonomy, clarification of purpose, and developing mature interpersonal relationships. The study found a positive relationship between the first two outcome measures and student involvement and a mixed relationship between the last measure and involvement. This study focused only on college seniors, a group that has had nearly four years of exposure to the myriad of influences existent in the college environment.

It is clear, from the above studies, that a very high percentage of students are involved in the co-curricular programs of their college or university and that involvement does have a positive impact. It is equally clear, however, that there are significant methodological weaknesses in many of the above studies that limit their usefulness. Sample sizes are small, definitions are often unclear, and few studies look at more than one institution.

Involvement and Academics

A number of studies have focused specifically on the relationship between student involvement and academic success. As was the case above, the definition of involvement varies from study to study. It is used here in the generic sense to mean participation in any of a wide variety of campus, or even off campus, activities.

Going back to 1947, Stright recognized a positive relationship between involvement in co-curricular activities and academic performance. Hartnett (1965) found, however, no significant relationship between degree of involvement in co-curricular activities and academic performance in a study of over 600 students at a midwestern university. Pike (1991) after an analysis of the literature investigating the relationship between student involvement and grades, found the results so inconsistent that he assumes the two to be unrelated.

A number of studies have investigated the issue of participation in college athletics and its impact on such issues as academic achievement, student satisfaction, and developmental growth. The relationship between athletic participation, social participation, and grade point average and retention was explored by Hanks and Eckland (1976). While no definitive positive correlation was found between participation in college athletic programs and academic performance there was a positive effect on educational attainment. Social participation in college (defined in this study as participation in the extracurricular program of the college not including athletics), however, had direct, positive effects on both grades and academic attainment.

The data for this study were culled from a national sample of over 5000 high school sophomores surveyed in 1955 by the Educational Testing Service and followed up in 1970. The survey consisted of a twenty item aptitude test and a questionnaire designed to ascertain information such as family background, college plans, and academic performance. These variables, family background, academic ability, and educational expectations, were controlling variables in the study. A major weaknesses of this study centers around the fifteen year gap between the initial survey and the follow-up. Most of those students surveyed in 1955 were over thirty years old by 1970 and had been out of college for approximately eight years. The researchers therefore were relying on eight to twelve year old recollections to obtain their data on college involvement and activities. In addition, only fifty percent of the original sample completed the follow-up survey due to refusals, lost addresses, and mortality.

Ballantine (1981) in his review of the literature on athletic participation and academic achievement found, in general, a positive correlation between athletic participation and academic achievement. He also found that participation in athletics was associated positively with the participant's aspirations and income and that a greater percentage of high school athletes versus non-athletes attend college. While an overall positive effect has been shown to exist, Ballantine states that further research needs to be done to clarity these points.

Hood, Craig, and Ferguson (1992) conducted a detailed study of the academic achievement of freshman student athletes at the University of Iowa between 1980 and 1986. Their methodology was interesting in that each freshman athlete in their sample was matched with a non athlete on entering ACT score or composite SAT score, gender, ethnicity, year of entrance to the University, and resident-nonresident status. The results of this study indicate that when entering characteristics are controlled, there is no significant difference in academic achievement during the freshman year for athletes and non athletes. The researchers determined, however, that the average grade point average for athletes was significantly below that of the typical university student. This study indicates that the reason for this is not participation in athletics per se, but the significantly lower entering academic characteristics of the athlete population.

Ryan (1989) utilizing data from the 1985 Cooperative Institutional Research Project Follow Up Survey investigated the relationship between participation in intercollegiate athletics and satisfaction with the overall college experience, motivation to earn a college degree, increased interpersonal skills, and leadership abilities. The results of the study indicate that participation in intercollegiate athletics was positively associated with all four of these dependent variables, but most strongly with increased leadership abilities and satisfaction. No distinction was made in this study as to the particular sport, size of the athletic program, or scholarship status.

Sowa and Gressard (1983) administered the Student Development Task Inventory (SDTI) to 48 athletes and 43 non-athletes at the University of Virginia. They found no significant, overall differences between the two groups on achieving the three developmental tasks measured by this instrument: developing autonomy, developing purpose, and developing mature interpersonal relationships. They did find some differences on some of the subscales of the instrument, for example, mature relationships with peers in which the athletes scored significantly lower than the non-athletes. This study neglected to collect and consequently take into account demographic data and academic achievement. In addition, it failed to distinguish between scholarship and non-scholarship athletes and participation in revenue-producing versus non-revenue-producing sports.

In another study of student athletes Pascarella and Smart (1991) utilized Cooperative Institutional Research Project (CIRP) freshman data from 1971 and the CIRP Follow Up Study from 1980 to analyze ten dependent variables including: college academic achievement, satisfaction with college, and intellectual and social self-esteem. The results of this study indicated that "net of other factors, intercollegiate athletic participation has a positive impact on social involvement during college, satisfaction with college, interpersonal and leadership skills, and motivation to complete one's degree" (p. 127). In addition, participation in intercollegiate athletics was found to have a modest positive effect on academic achievement.

While comprehensive, this study does have some limitations which the authors admit. First, the study only looks at male student athletes, ignoring nearly 50% of the total student athlete population. Second, this study, as those above, does not take into account the differences that may be associated with different types of sports (revenue-producing versus non-revenue-producing for example), and the differences that may exist between highly recruited scholarship athletes and non-scholarship athletes. Lastly, there was no attempt made in this study to match or control for entering student characteristics, such as high school rank, SAT scores, or socioeconomic level.

The relationship between involvement and academic performance appears to be positive. Once again, however, the studies present certain limitations that impute either their credibility or their generalizability. Definitions remain unclear, sample sizes are often small, and student entry characteristics are often not taken into consideration.

Involvement and Satisfaction

Holland and Huba (1991) found that students who served as volunteer orientation advisors exhibited greater satisfaction with the overall campus environment than a comparison group of non-participants. In this particular study, the experimental group was comprised of students who applied and were accepted to be orientation leaders; the comparison group was comprised of students who applied but were not accepted. Consequently, the experimental and comparison groups both exhibited motivation to become involved in the program. In addition, although the two groups were assumed to be similar, assignment to the two groups was not random, but the result of a subjective interview process. Thus, the results of this study would not be generalizable to the student body at large. It is also conceivable that the very reason the members of the experimental group were selected as advisors (such as enthusiasm during the interview process) could be a factor which could significantly differentiate them from the comparison group.

Cosgrove (1986) in an experimental study of student participants in a mentoring-transcript program for freshmen found that the members of the experimental group (those who participated in the program) exhibited a higher level of satisfaction with the overall university environment. Cosgrove also cites less conclusive evidence that the members of the experimental group had exhibited greater movement along the first of Chickering's vectors, developing competence. Pascarella, Terenzini, and Wolfle, (1986) demonstrated that a higher level of satisfaction was found among freshmen who participated in freshman seminar programs. In a study of social isolation of college students, Keegan (1978) found a positive correlation between participation in extracurricular activities and student satisfaction with social life, living environment, and undergraduate major. This study, conducted at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, was designed to explore the reason for the high attrition rate (nearly 40%) at this innovative, small college. While the study focused on the 407 students who withdrew from Hampshire between 1973 and 1975, only 31 students were actually interviewed by telephone, resulting in a small sample size.

Astin (1977, 1985) found that students who participated in co-curricular activities of virtually any type were more likely to be satisfied with their overall college experience than students who were uninvolved. In his 1977 study, he found that member of Greek social fraternities and sororities were more satisfied with their college experience than non members. In his latest work, Astin (1993) concludes that involvement is associated with satisfaction with the college experience.

The Institute for Research on Higher Education (1994) found in a study of over six thousand graduating seniors at 20 private colleges and universities, that "Satisfaction does matter: in general, a greater level of senior satisfaction is associated with a higher return rate for students after their first year (p. 31) While this study did not investigate the relationship between involvement and satisfaction, it does support the notion that satisfaction is important and is related to student retention rates.

In the area of student satisfaction, the evidence seems to be most compelling. Involvement does appear to be positively related to satisfaction. Virtually every type of involvement studied: athletics, student government, co-curricular activities, work, and volunteerism positively correlates with student satisfaction.

Other Related Studies

In a study of student participants in voluntary community service programs, Fitch (1991) found significant differences between students involved in some type of volunteer work and both uninvolved students and students who participated in other types of extracurricular activities, on three subscales of the Survey of Interpersonal Values. Specifically, volunteer students scored higher on the conformity and benevolence scale and lower on the independence scale than the other two groups. He attributes the higher score on conformity, and their lower score on independence to the volunteer students' sense of social responsibility and doing what is right. Their higher score on benevolence is attributed to their concern for the human condition as evidenced by their willingness to perform community service. Astin (1993) similarly found that participation in volunteer work has strong, positive correlations with growth in leadership abilities, degree aspirations, public speaking skills and interpersonal skills.

Finkenberg (1990) conducted a study of the effects on college women's self-concept of participation in a Taekwondo program. The overall result of participating in the martial arts training program was a significant positive difference on both a total self-concept score and on subscale scores measuring physical, personal, social, identity, and satisfaction.

Macy (1994) suggests a model for the development of a service-learning program on a college campus. He postulates that, based upon his and others previous research, such a program would have a positive effect on students' values development. No empirical data are presented in this study.

Marcy (1986) in an article on the development of African-American students indicates that all of the research evidence points to the fact that black students are less satisfied than their white peers with their college experience. She indicates that, based on the Student Development Theory of Arthur Chickering and the Student Involvement Theory of Alexander Astin, one way to increase the level of satisfaction for black students would be through more co-curricular activities targeted specifically at black students through "organizations and activities that exist for the express purpose of representing black interests and culture..." (p. 36).

Bryant, Banta, and Bradley (1995), in a pilot study, administered a newly-developed Quality and Importance of Recreational Services (QIRS) survey to over 2500 students at six colleges and universities. The results indicated that over 95% of the respondents participated in some type of campus recreational activity on a weekly basis and that they reported a
wide variety of benefits, ranging from increased self confidence and respect for others to physical fitness from such participation.

In a review of student development studies from 1973-1987, Thrasher and Bloland (1989) concluded that "intentional inventions," i.e., programs specifically designed to aid student's development, resulted in, among other things, higher self concept and satisfaction as well as higher scores on autonomy, mature lifestyle plans, and interdependence subtasks of the SDTI. They also concluded that "incidental interventions," including participation in student activities, led to "higher levels of interdependence, appropriate educational plans, mature career plans, and mature lifestyle plans," and that "Interaction with faculty and fellow students led to higher levels of personal and intellectual development" (p. 553).

Summary and Conclusions

In looking at the relevant literature as a whole, it is clear that certain conclusions can be drawn. It is apparent that involvement matters. Involvement has been demonstrated generally to have a positive effect on developmental growth, academic achievement, grade point average, self-confidence, and satisfaction with the overall college experience. As Kuh and Schuh (1991) state, "The evidence seems clear: students benefit significantly from being involved in the educational process" (p. 5). Participation in leadership development programs, athletics, and volunteer community service programs are all types of such involvement.

Table 2.1, below, summarizes the student involvement literature that is of relevance to this study. Most of the studies listed, unless otherwise specified, compare the involved group to students not involved in the specified activity or program listed in column two.

Table 2.1
Summary of student involvement research relevant to study




There are, however, some significant gaps in these studies. Most have investigated just one type of involvement on a campus. The question, "Does the type of involvement make a difference?" is rarely addressed. In addition, a number of the studies use the term "active participation" without further definition as to the nature of the involvement or the amount of time committed. Involvement may mean participation in a formal, co-curricular program, or it may mean attending a lecture sponsored by a student organization. Many of the studies are based upon students' self reporting of co-curricular participation, without a clear explanation of the exact nature of the involvement. In addition, many of the studies suffer from either small sample sizes or poor response rates. Few of the studies control for entry characteristics of the students being studied and most of the studies take place at just one institution, which severely limits their generalizability.

Many of the studies focus on just one or perhaps two dependent variables, for example, self-confidence, satisfaction, or grade point average, and few compare different independent variables or different ways `of being involved. As Astin states, "Clearly, one of the most important next steps in developing and testing the involvement theory is to explore ways of assessing different forms of involvement" (1984, p. 305).

The present study addresses some of these methodological concerns by comparing specific categories of involved students with students not involved in formalized, University-sponsored programs on five outcome variables which, assembled together, constitute the construct of student success in college.
CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH DESIGN

Introduction

This research explored the relationship between participation in formal, university-sponsored co-curricular programs and college outcomes. The goal of the study was to determine how involvement in university-sponsored activities relates to student success in college.

The study hypothesis stated that students who participate in one of three types of co-curricular programs will exhibit greater success than students not involved in these types of programs. The construct of student success in college was defined in this study as growth along the first two of Chickering's vectors, achieving competence and managing emotions, as well as by student satisfaction with the overall college experience. The term uninvolved students, for the purposes of this study, refers to students not involved in formal, university-sponsored co-curricular programs. Two hundred and thirty-seven students in three co-curricular programs, as well as a comparison group of three hundred and ninety-seven uninvolved students were sent an instrument designed to assess student success in college.

Chickering's first two vectors were operationalized and measured as follows: Competence by grade point average and student self-confidence, with self-confidence being measured by the Iowa Developing Competency Inventory's Self-Confidence Subscale (Jackson, L. & Hood, A., 1986a). Students' ability to manage their emotions was measured by the Iowa Managing Emotions Inventory (Jackson, L. & Hood, A., 1986b), and self-reported degree of alcohol use measured through survey questions.

The variable of satisfaction with the overall college experience was measured by the student's response to four survey items asking students to rate their satisfaction with their academic experience at Boston College, their social experience, their overall experience at Boston College, and asking them if they would choose Boston College if they had the opportunity to do it again. The students involved in three co-curricular activities were compared to a group of non-participants as well as to one other. The independent variable, involvement, was defined specifically as either participation in one of the three co-curricular activities being studied or nonparticipation in formal, university-sponsored, co-curricular activities.

Research Questions

The following research questions were investigated:

1) What is the relationship between "managing emotions" and participation in a leadership program, intercollegiate sports, or an academic/service program?
2) What is the relationship between "developing competence" and participation in a leadership program, intercollegiate sports, or an academic/service program?
3) Is students' satisfaction with the overall college experience related to participation in a leadership program, intercollegiate sports, or an academic/service program?
4) How do the formally involved students as an aggregate compare to the comparison group of students not involved in formal, university-sponsored co-curricular activities on the construct of college success and satisfaction?

Location of the Study

This study took place at Boston College, a private, Roman Catholic, institution, located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, a suburban community on the edge of the city of Boston. Boston College (B.C.) is a university comprised of six academic schools: arts and sciences, management, education, nursing, (graduate) social work, and law. B.C. has an undergraduate population of approximately 8,800 students, of whom 55% are female. Just over 6,000 of these undergraduate students reside in on-campus housing; the majority of the remainder live in apartments within a two mile radius of the campus. The undergraduate student body is composed primarily of traditional-aged (18-23) college students who come from all fifty states and many foreign countries. According to a recent issue of Boston College Magazine (Winter, 1993), in 1992 the average verbal SAT score for entering first year students was 565; the average math SAT score was 635. B.C. is considered "most competitive" by the Barron's Profile of American Colleges (1993).

Boston College is affiliated with the Catholic church, specifically with the Jesuit religious order. The current president of the institution is a Jesuit priest, as are the academic vice president and the dean of the college of arts and sciences. The majority of the administration is, however, composed of lay men and women. Although Jesuit priests currently make up a very small percentage of the faculty, B.C. prides itself on having a Jesuit-inspired mission that is dedicated to the education of the whole person and the development of men and women for others. With a mission statement such as this, it should be expected that the institution would place a strong emphasis on both academic and co-curricular programs designed to foster student development. This study assisted in the determination as to whether three of these university-sponsored programs actually assist and foster student development.

Research Design

This study utilized an ex post facto research design. All of the students who participated during their freshman year (1992-1993) in the three co-curricular groups being studied were surveyed by mail during the Fall of their sophomore year. The survey included a demographic section, a series of items addressing student self-confidence, a series of items dealing with students' ability to manage emotions, and items on satisfaction and alcohol use. A cover letter explaining the nature of the study, requesting the student's cooperation, and assuring confidentiality was sent along with the survey. Follow up correspondence to those who did not respond to the first mailing was sent and that was followed up with individual phone calls to students who had not yet responded. In addition, a sample, comparison group of 397 students was also surveyed.

Analyses of the results include descriptive statistics, chi-square distributions, analyses of variance and multiple analyses of variance, to determine if any significant differences exist among the five dependent variables across the four independent groups, and a variety of post-hoc tests to describe group characteristics and differences. The data were analyzed to determine whether a statistically significant difference exists between the students who participated in the three selected activities and between the involved and uninvolved students on various demographic and background variables, college experience variables, and the outcome variables of grade point average, alcohol use, self-confidence, satisfaction with college, and ability to manage emotions.

Population and Sample

The target population for this study consisted of all sophomores enrolled at Boston College during the Fall, 1993 semester. From the overall population, four separate groups were studied. One group consisted of those sophomores who, as freshmen, participated in the Emerging Leader Program, another group was those sophomores who participated in the PULSE Program during their freshman year, the third was those sophomores who participated, as non-scholarship athletes, in an intercollegiate sport during their freshman year. The final group consisted of a random, cluster sample of sophomores who did not participate in any formal, university-sponsored programs during their freshman year.

The study had a total sample size of approximately 634 Boston College sophomores: 48 members of the Class of 1996 who completed the Emerging Leader Program during their first year, the 51 who participated in the PULSE program during their first year, 138 non-scholarship athletes, and a comparison group of 397 students. In the latter case, the sample size was increased to allow for the fact that some of the students in this group might be ineligible to be considered uninvolved due to formal involvement in other campus activities. This allowed the comparison group sample size to roughly equal the total involved student sample size. Comparisons were made between the total involved student sample and the uninvolved sample as well as among the four groups.

In the case of intercollegiate athletes, a subgroup of the entire athletic population, non-scholarship student athletes, were studied. Non-scholarship athletes were selected because scholarship athletes appear to have significantly different characteristics and college experiences than non-scholarship athletes. Scholarship athletes are vigorously recruited by their respective coaches, receive much attention, both internal and external to the institution, and, in general terms, experience college in a far different way than their fellow athletes who do not have athletic scholarships.

The comparison group consisted of 397 randomly selected sophomores. This number was purposely inflated so that those whose questionnaire responses indicated that they had been involved in some type of formalized university-sponsored co-curricular program could be eliminated from the comparison group. In addition, the number was made sufficiently large so that this group could be compared to the aggregate of all the involved students in the study.

The sample in the case of the comparison group was a cluster sample. All sophomores at Boston College are assigned randomly through a lottery system to specific residence hall floors by the office of university housing. Ten of these floors, containing between 25 and 35 students each, were randomly selected by the researcher to be included in the sample. Cooperation and assistance from the resident assistant on the floor and the hall director of the building was solicited to aid in both distribution and collection of the survey instrument.

Co-curricular Programs

Student involvement in formally structured, university-sponsored programs was the independent variable in this study. Astin's Theory of Student Involvement (1985) is predicated on the belief that the amount and the intensity of the involvement is the critical element in student development. The three co-curricular programs in this research were selected on the basis of their formal structure and the strong involvement and commitment students have to these programs.

The Emerging Leader Program

The Emerging Leader Program is a year long leadership program for freshmen. During the summer prior to their freshman year, all incoming students are sent a brochure describing the program as well as application information. All students, even those without prior leadership experience, are encouraged to apply. In a typical year, approximately 10% or 220 of the incoming 2,150 freshmen submit an application to the program; fifty are selected (in the case of the class being studied, two students dropped out of the program prior to its start, thus leaving a program size of 48). The application itself entails answering four out of six essay questions.

The selection process, conducted during mid-summer, is subjective in nature. The two program coordinators, who are both members of the student development staff at the university, read all applications and select fifty based on overall quality and creativity. An attempt is made to balance the number of females with males and to include a representative percentage of students of color. Students are notified of their acceptance into the program by mail around the end of July.

The program formally begins with the participants arriving on campus in the Fall, three days prior to all other freshmen. They are welcomed upon arrival by ten trained upperclass "facilitators," most of whom were program participants as freshmen. The first night on campus is spent getting to know one another, meeting the facilitators, and meeting and hearing from the program coordinators. The next morning all fifty first year students and the ten facilitators travel by bus to Sargent Camp in Peterborough, N. H., an outdoor education center owned and operated by Boston University. At the camp the participants, working in preassigned groups of ten freshmen and two upper class facilitators, work directly with the Sargent Camp staff and participate in two days of experiential exercises centering around the issues of trust, team building, and problem solving.

During the academic year, the program participants meet weekly in a large group format where they are exposed to different topic-related presentations ranging from group dynamics, to communications to leadership. These sessions take both experiential and didactic/discussion formats, the latter usually involving guest presenters such as faculty members and local political and community leaders.

In addition to the weekly program sessions, the participants have additional obligations, including participating in a community service volunteer project during the first semester and planning, organizing and running a campus-wide event of their own choosing during the second semester. The average weekly time commitment per student is approximately six hours. During both semesters, the students meet in small groups with one of the program coordinators and also meet weekly with their upper class facilitators. These facilitators become role models and advisors for the freshmen. The program culminates in mid-April with a closing banquet with a featured speaker. Although no academic credit is awarded for participation, attrition is extremely small, with 95% of the participants typically completing the program.

PULSE

PULSE is a program that offers approximately 50 Boston College freshmen each year an opportunity to combine supervised social service or social advocacy field work with the classroom study of philosophy, theology, and other disciplines. The academic component is specifically designed to encourage inquiry and reflection, as well as to foster a sense of community among the participants.

First year students enroll in the PULSE Program by registering for a two semester, twelve credit academic course entitled, "Personal and Social Responsibility," offered by the Philosophy Department. According to the PULSE catalog, this course focuses "on problems of social injustice, and the possibilities of surmounting those injustices," and is designed to engage the students "in the challenge of personal self-discovery and growth as they relate to the question of what it really means to assume responsibility for overcoming these injustices" (1991-92 PULSE Handbook).

In addition to participating in this twelve credit course, the students also are required to participate in a social service placement, selecting from among nearly forty agencies which are grouped into eleven categories:

Correctional Services
Elderly Services
Emergency Shelters
Hospital Work
Hunger
Mental Health
Refugee Work
Research/Legal Work
Special Needs
Young Mothers
Youth Work

Placements generally require approximately 8-10 hours per week of on-site work. In addition, each placement entails initial specialized training, typically in the form of a weekend workshop as well as supportive seminars throughout the semester. Students are supervised and evaluated in their placements by staff members of the agency to which they are assigned. PULSE students are also supervised on campus by members of the PULSE Council, a group of students who are selected on the basis of their performance in PULSE during prior years. The members of the council work directly under the supervision of the program director, a full time staff member of the University who holds faculty rank in the Philosophy Department. The council members provide guidance and support for the student participants throughout the year. In addition activity in the classroom is designed to discuss and analyze the placement and its relationship to the fields of philosophy and theology.

There are no formal entrance requirements; all students who can fit the program into their academic schedule are eligible to participate. All first year students who choose to enroll in the program are required to meet with the program director to assure they are aware of the time commitment involved and the full nature of the program's requirements. Approximately fifty first year students enroll in the PULSE Program annually. The participants are evaluated on both their performance in the field work placement and their achievement in the classroom component of the program. Grading is done on a traditional "A" through "F" basis. Students, if they so choose, may continue with PULSE through subsequent years, electing to take one or more of the seven additional PULSE courses and participating in additional field placements.

Intercollegiate Athletics

Organized student athletics involves active participation in team sports under the supervision of a qualified coach. Boston College presently supports thirty-one intercollegiate athletic teams, sixteen men's teams and fifteen women's teams. In recent years the University has invested widely in its athletic program with a new arena for basketball and hockey, and a refurbished stadium for sports such as football, soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse.

There were a total of 650 students participating in the intercollegiate athletic program during the 1992-93 academic year, 416 men and 234 women. On the average, 160 first year students participate as members of an intercollegiate athletic team, approximately 100 men and 60 women. Since some students participate on more than one team, and some students receive athletic scholarships, the actual number of first year, non scholarship athletes was 138. (Statistics were provided by Dr. Kevin Lyons, Director of the Learning Resources for Student Athletes Office at Boston College.) As mentioned above, this study did not include scholarship athletes, as it is the researcher's belief that scholarship athletes present an entirely different complexity of issues which are beyond the scope of this study.

Non-scholarship athletes are generally not recruited by their coaches, but try out for their respective teams as walk-ons. In order to participate fully in their chosen sport, these students must display sufficient athletic skills to make the team. Once selected to be part of a team, these students become eligible for a wide range of support services including athletic trainers, specialized academic support, and sports medicine. The athletes also receive direct supervision from coaches, and, in some cases, assistant coaches and graduate assistants.

The number of hours required by this participation is somewhat dependent upon the time of the year. All sports have a specific season, usually a semester in length. During the season, these athletes may devote up to twenty-five hours per week to their sport. This includes game times, practice times, and assorted other related activities such as weight training, physical therapy, supervised study halls, and, academic support meetings. During the off season, the time commitment is significantly less, although meetings, academic support and physical training and therapy often continue.

In addition to the three formally structured groups detailed above, a comparison group, comprised of students who reported no involvement with formal university-sponsored programs, was studied. By studying these three distinct programs the researcher was able to investigate differences resulting from type and intensity of involvement. As mentioned earlier, few studies address this subject.

Operationalization of the Variables

The construct of student success in college was the dependent variable. This construct was operationalized through five different measures: grade point average, ability to manage emotions, satisfaction with the overall college experience, self-confidence, and degree of alcohol use. These variables assessed three different domains: affective (self-concept), cognitive (grade point average), and behavioral (alcohol use). Analyses investigated how these variables may be affected by student participation in formally structured co-curricular programs.

All of these measures, grade point average, satisfaction with college, self-confidence, managing emotions, and alcohol use were assessed through a questionnaire constructed by the researcher based on the research and theoretical literature and drawing from existing, normed instruments. The questionnaire also included a demographic section designed to permit some control of student entry characteristics.

The demographic section constitutes the first part of the survey, and includes: gender, type of high school attended, parents level of education, and race/ethnicity. Parents' level of education was used as a measure of a student's family socio-economic status. The second section consists of a series of questions exploring involvement in co-curricular activities. The involvement section is adapted from the Extracurricular Involvement Inventory, developed by Winston and Massaro (1987). In addition to providing the researcher with information about the nature and quantity of involvement, this section also provides the researcher with the information necessary to establish a comparison group of students who are not involved in any type of formal, university-sponsored co-curricular program.

The instrument also contained four questions on student satisfaction taken from the American College Testing Service's Student Opinion Survey (American College Testing Service, 1990) and two questions on alcohol use taken from the CORE Survey developed under the auspices of the Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) division.

The dimension of self-confidence was assessed by the Iowa Developing Competency Inventory's (Hood & Jackson, 1986a) Self-confidence Subscale. This Likert scale inventory was developed by Albert Hood & Lorraine Jackson, who administered a two hundred item survey, based on Chickering's (1969) Vector of Developing Competency, to students at the University of Iowa and at the Pennsylvania State University. After a factor analysis, the resulting inventory was reduced to a total of thirty items dealing with self confidence. Of the thirty, ten deal with self-confidence in interacting with authority figures, ten deal with peers, and ten deal with ease of communications with others. This inventory yields one overall score for student self-confidence and has been shown by the authors to possess a reliability alpha of .92.

The dimension of managing emotions was also assessed through the use of a Likert scale inventory, The Iowa Managing Emotions Inventory developed by Albert Hood and Lorraine Jackson (1986b). This inventory was developed in a similar fashion to the self-confidence inventory described above. A 120-item inventory based on Chickering's (1969) vector of Managing Emotions was administered to students at Iowa and Penn State. After a factor analysis of all the items, the resulting inventory contains a total of 60 items, 12 each dealing with the following emotions: depression, anger, frustration, happiness, and attraction. The inventory yields one overall score for managing emotions and has a reliability alpha of .95. The variable of grade point average was ascertained through an item on the instrument. In order to verify that the responses to this item were accurate, a random sample of twenty-five responses on that item were compared to existing University records. The item asked students to indicate a range for their gpa. All twenty-five of the randomly selected responses were accurate.

Table 3.1
Construct of student success in college


Variables Operationalization How Measured

Competence

Academic achievement GPA after 2
semesters
Self report

Self-confidence Response to items Score on Iowa Developing concerning self-
Competence Inventory confidence
(self-confidence subscale)

Managing Emotions

Alcohol Use Self reported use Instrument items

Managing Emotions Ability to manage Score on Iowa Managing emotions normed Emotions Inventory scale

Satisfaction with College

Response to items Instrument items
concerning satisfaction

Control Variables

In addition to the variables designed to operationalize the construct of student success, seven control variables were collected: gender, parents' level of education (a measure of socio-economic status), type of high school attended, financial aid status, admissions ranking, combined SAT scores, and race. The variables of admissions rating and combined SAT scores were ascertained though access to the University Registrar's records for each student. These variables were used to control for pre-existing differences among the study sample.

This instrument was pre-tested with a group of twelve Boston College juniors, six males and six females, during the early part of the Fall 1993 semester. Juniors were used for the pilot testing to avoid members of the potential sample of sophomores. Of these twelve students, six were former participants in one of the groups being studied, the other six were students who have had no formal co-curricular involvement as undergraduates. Upon completion of the pre-testing, each student was interviewed by the researcher to determine her/his reaction to the instrument including such issues as clarity, length, time, and interest. Based on the results of these interviews, minor structural changes were made to the instrument and the cover letter was rewritten.

The instrument was distributed to the 634 students in the sample accompanied by a cover letter that explained the purpose of the study, stressed the importance of full and accurate completion of the instrument, and assured the confidentiality of the respondents. The instrument utilized an IBM computerized answer sheet and the results of the survey were electronically scanned and scored.

Prior to distributing the surveys, the researcher created a master list containing student's name followed by a numerical code. Each survey was labeled with a numerical code which thus enabled the researcher to identify the respondents. Consequently, the researcher was able to determine who did not respond to the survey.

Data Collection

The instruments and computerized answer sheet were sent to all members of the sample population during the latter part of the Fall, 1993 semester. Those instruments directed to members of the three study groups were sent by either US Postal Service or by Boston College Campus Mail Services depending on the location of the student's current residence. In the case of the comparison group, the instruments, answer sheet, and appropriate cover letter were distributed to residents of the selected residence hall floors by the Resident Assistant on the floor who was been briefed in advance by the researcher.

All students in the sample also received a return mail envelope, addressed to the researcher's on-campus box number. This envelope was pre-stamped in the case of non-resident students who were asked to submit their surveys via the US Postal Service. Resident students received a campus mail envelope with instructions to return the completed survey via Boston College campus mail.

Participants in the study were asked to complete and return the completed surveys within a one week period. A reminder post card was sent to those individuals who had not completed and submitted their instruments one week after the stated deadline, asking them to complete and forward the survey within the next week. At the beginning of the Spring semester the researcher forwarded to those individuals who had not yet submitted their survey, a new packet containing an additional copy of the survey, answer sheet, return envelope, and a new cover letter asking once again for cooperation and stressing the importance of the study. Approximately two weeks later, phone calls were made to the non respondents, by student assistants to the researcher, once again requesting compliance. In order to increase the response rate among the ELP and PULSE groups (due to the relatively small size of the total populations of each group, 48 and 51 respectively), one last mailing was sent to the non respondents in these two groups near the end of the semester.

Once all of the completed questionnaires were collected and logged in, the researcher had to take a number of steps prior to having the instruments scanned. First, overlaps, that is, those students who appeared in more than one group, had to be identified. It had been previously determined that any overlaps would be eliminated from the study. This resulted in four members of the athlete group, who also appeared in the comparison group, being eliminated; one member of the ELP group, who also appeared in the Pulse group, being eliminated; and three members of the Pulse group, one who was in the ELP group and two who also appeared in the comparison group being eliminated.

In addition, it had also been previously determined that students in the comparison group who indicated involvement in a formalized, university sponsored co-curricular activity would be eliminated from the comparison group, as this group was designed to consist of students who reported no formal involvement. The criteria used to determine whether an activity reported by the student constituted formal involvement, for the purposes of this study, were:

1) The student must have been required to engage in some type of application process to become involved in the particular activity. This may range from a "try out" for an athletic team or a musical group to a written application for a leadership program.
2) The program must be in some way funded, supported, and/or recognized by the institution.
3) A member of the Universities' faculty or staff must supervise or advise the participants and have regular contact with them.
4) The participants in the program must meet, or be actively involved in the program, on a regular, on-going basis at appropriate times of the year.

The basis for these four criteria stem to a large degree from the theoretical work of Astin and Chickering, as well as from the researcher's initial intent to study the impact of programs which meet these criteria. All three of the programs being studied meet these criteria, as do many other BC co-curricular programs. Students from the comparison group who reported involvement which fits these four requirements, were eliminated from the comparison group. A total of twenty-two of the completed comparison group surveys fit the above criteria and were thus eliminated from the sample. Once the above adjustments were made, the completed, eligible surveys were delivered to the Center for Study of Testing at Boston College campus for scanning and the creation of a data file.

Data Analysis

The null hypothesis for this study was that there would be no difference in student success among the four groups being studied. This hypothesis therefore states that the means of all five of the dependent variables (grade point average, satisfaction, alcohol use, managing emotions, and self-confidence) will be approximately equal for each of the four independent variables.

Analysis of the data began with simple descriptive statistics including means, standard deviations, and medians. In an attempt to determine pre-existing differences among the sample groups, a series of ANOVA's were run to ascertain whether the four groups being studied differed significantly on the control variables collected, including both demographic and background data. When significant differences between the study groups were uncovered, these variables were controlled for in the analysis.

More specific analysis of the data was accomplished by utilizing an overall multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). The use of a MANOVA allowed the researcher to determine differences in the dependent variables across the four groups simultaneously. In addition to testing the null hypothesis of no program effect for the variables, this procedure indicates whether interactions exist between the dependent variables, that is, whether some combination of the dependent variables might have a stronger effect that any of the variables taken individually.

The assumptions that must be met for simple analysis of variance (ANOVA) must also be met for this multivariate technique (Hinkle, Wiersma, & Jurs, 1979). First there must be independence among the observations, that is the observations must be random and independent samples from the population. Second there must be an equivalence of covariance matrices across the groups, that is the variance among the groups on the dependent variables should be approximately equal. Lastly, the scores on the dependent variables should be normally distributed. This latter assumption, if violated however, has minimal impact on this procedure (Hair, Anderson, Tatham, & Black, 1989). Utilization of a MANOVA has certain specific advantages over running separate univariate ANOVAs. First, the use of separate ANOVAs can significantly increase the likelihood of making a type 1 error. Second, the use of multiple ANOVAs will not detect possible interactions between the dependent variables (Hair, et al., 1989).

The results of the MANOVA indicated that the group means of the dependent variables across the independent variables tested were not equal. MANOVA does not indicate where the differences lie, it merely indicates whether or not a difference exists. Consequently a post hoc test was conducted to determine the specific differences. Given the type of data being studied, Pillai's trace statistic was utilized. Pillai's is the most appropriate statistic to utilize when conducting a MANOVA with one or more categorical or ordinal independent variables against two or more continuous (interval or ratio level) dependent variables (Olsen, 1976) and is also the most powerful and robust (Hedderson & Fisher, 1993).

Through the use of these statistical analyses, the researcher attempted to substantiate the study hypothesis that a significant difference does exist on the construct of student success in college between involved and uninvolved students in general and to more specifically answer the research questions posed by this study.
CHAPTER FOUR
RESULTS OF THE STUDY

Introduction

This research was designed to assess the relationship between positive student outcomes and student involvement in university-sponsored co-curricular programs. The study sample consisted of Boston College sophomores who were involved in leadership, athletic, or course-related community service programs during their 1992-1993 freshman year

The study used a researcher-designed questionnaire and university records to investigate the differences between program participants and students who were not formally involved during the freshman year on five dependent variables: grade point average, satisfaction with the college experience, alcohol use, managing emotions, and self-confidence.

This chapter reports the results of the study, including findings relating to background variables, college experiences, and student outcomes. The relationships between these variables and student involvement is also reported.

Population

The total population consisted of all 2215 students who were Boston College sophomores during the 1993-94 academic year (1124 men and 1091 women).

Table 4.1
Total study population

The population was divided into four groups: 1) the 48 students who participated as 1992-1993 freshmen in a leadership program, 2) 49 students enrolled in a freshmen service-learning course, 3) 138 intercollegiate, non-scholarship, freshmen athletes, and 4) 397 randomly selected sophomores who were not involved in any type of formalized, university sponsored, co-curricular program during their freshman year.

Sample

The study population consisted of 634 students who were randomly selected and sent the study questionnaire. The final sample consisted of 307 students, 135 from the three involved groups and 172 from the comparison group of uninvolved students. Uninvolved students, for the purposes of this study, are defined as students who were not involved in formal, university-sponsored, co-curricular programs.

Table 4.2
Study return rate

Eighteen subjects were eliminated from the uninvolved group due to their reported involvement in other types of formalized co-curricular programs. (See Chapter 3 for definitions of involvement and criteria for sample.) This left a group of 154 uninvolved students. Two students who were involved in both the service-learning program and the leadership program were eliminated from the study at the outset.

Sample Demographic Characteristics

Analysis began with an examination of the relationship between formally involved and uninvolved groups on the demographic characteristics of gender, race, parents' education level, and financial aid status. A series of chi-square tests was conducted comparing each program group (leaders, service-learners, and athletes) to the uninvolved group and also comparing the combined involved groups with the comparison group on these four demographic variables.

Chi-square tests were used in the analysis due to the categorical nature of the data. The chi-square is the most commonly used non-parametric test of independence to compare expected frequencies with observed frequencies (Hinkle, Wiersma, & Jurs, 1982) . This statistic compares the observed frequencies to the expected frequencies and indicates whether the observed distribution of cases occurred by chance or indicate an underlying relationship. The level of significance used in all of these tests is .05.

A. Gender and Race

Respondents were representative of Boston College's fairly homogeneous student body. Most B.C. students are white (80%), live in campus residences (70%), and are between the ages of 18 and 22. There are slightly more females than males in the student body (53%).

Table 4.3 details the sample's breakdown by gender and race. A total of 307 Boston College sophomores participated in the study. Females were slightly over-represented in the sample (56.6% as opposed to 53% in the general student population). The service learning program over-enrolls females in comparison to both the sample and to the student body. There were, however, no statistically significant differences with respect to gender when the study groups were compared.

The number of students of color in the sample is relatively small, particularly when divided into each involvement group. Students of color make up 16.5% of the sample; the class percentage is 20.6%. When the groups were compared on the basis of race, the chi-square statistic for race indicated that the leaders were significantly more likely to be students of color than members of the comparison group (chi-square=14.7; df=6; p<.005). (Students in the leadership program were deliberately selected to ensure racial diversity.)


Table 4.3
Sample gender and race


B. Parent's Education Level and Student Financial Aid Status

Parents' level of education and students' financial aid status were ascertained by two items on the questionnaire. The breakdown of these two variables is detailed in Table 4.4.

Parents' level of education appears to be quite evenly distributed throughout the sample. No statistically significant differences were found when the three program groups and the comparison group were compared on the basis of parents' education.

Between 50 and 55% of the leaders, athletes, and the uninvolved students received some form of financial aid, comparable to the population percentage of 54%. Only 36% of the service learners, however, received financial aid. However, this difference was not statistically significant.

Table 4.4
Parents' level of education and
students' financial aid status


Sample Background Characteristics

Background data consisting of type of high school attended, high school co-curricular involvement, combined SAT scores, and Boston College admission rating were collected. High school type and involvement were ascertained through two items on the questionnaire. Combined SAT scores and admission rating were determined from existing Boston College records. An analysis was conducted to determine whether any significant differences existed among the four groups on the background characteristics collected.

A. High School Type and High School Involvement

Nearly sixty-one percent of students in all of the groups attended public high schools. The second highest number attended Catholic high schools, an expected finding given Boston College's affiliation with the Catholic church. The data also show that a larger percentage of students in the formally involved group attended public high school. The chi-square statistic indicated, however, that no significant difference exists among the groups on type of high school attended.

Table 4.5
Type of high school and co-curricular activities

The vast majority (91%) of all study participants were involved in high school co-curricular activities. Fully 100% of the service-learners and over 98% of the student athletes were involved in similar activities while in high school; of the leaders and the uninvolved group, 87% were involved in co-curricular activities while in high school.

A chi-square analysis of high school co-curricular involvement indicated that a significantly greater proportion of the student-athletes and service participants (chi-square=4.69; df=3; p<.03) were engaged in high school co-curricular activities than the members of the comparison group. There was no significant difference in involvement between the leaders and the comparison group. Table 4.5, above, details high school type and high school involvement.

B. Combined SAT Scores and Admission Rating

Combined SAT score and Boston College admission rating were determined for each individual in the sample from the Boston College admissions office data base. The SAT scores reflect each student's combined score on the verbal and the mathematical components of the scholastic aptitude test. The admissions rating is a number between one and ten assigned to each applicant by the Boston College admissions office, with one being the highest rating. This rating is a combination of a number of factors including high school grade point average, rank in class, SAT scores, high school quality, and recommendations. The lower the admissions rating, the stronger the applicant. A one-way ANOVA was conducted to determine whether statistically significant differences existed between the four groups on either mean combined SAT score on mean admission rating.

Table 4.6
Sample mean admissions rating and combined SAT


(* a combination of student's verbal and mathematical score)

Combined SAT score did not vary among the four groups. Service learners and student athletes, however, had a somewhat lower admissions rating than did the leaders and the uninvolved group (F=2.90; p<.05). The mean for the service learners and the athletes were 5.85 and 5.68 respectively; the mean for the leaders was 4.89 and the uninvolved group, 5.09.

Consequently, two post hoc tests were conducted. Neither the Tukey HSD nor the Scheffle test indicated any significant differences between all four groups on admissions rating. Therefore, the groups are viewed, for the purposes of this study, as not being significantly different on the variable of admissions rating. Table 4.6 illustrates these entering characteristics for each group in the study.

Given the homogeneous nature of the student body at Boston College it is not surprising that the four study groups were similar in background and demographic variables. The data appear to support this assumption. Of the eight variables, only three, race, high school type and high school activities showed any significant differences by group.

Table 4.7
Summary of significant background effects by
program groups


In the case of race, the difference is explainable as an artifact of the selection process for the Emerging Leader Program. No significant differences were found in high school type when the four study groups were compared to each other. When the involved students were grouped together, a significant difference did emerge. High school involvement showed the most variability, with athletes, service-learners, and the total involved group having been more involved in high school. These differences in high school involvement, race, and high school type present potentially confounding effects that will be addressed later in this chapter.

Differences between the Involved Students as an Aggregate and the Comparison Group on Demographic and Background Variables

The comparison group was made sufficiently large to allow for comparisons between the combined involved groups (leaders, service-learners, and athletes) and the comparison group of uninvolved students. The term uninvolved students, for the purposes of this study, refers to students not involved in formal, university-sponsored co-curricular programs.

Using the chi-square test with a level of significance of .05, no significant differences were found between the formally involved students and the comparison group with respect to the demographic variables of gender, race, parents' level of education, and students' financial aid status.

A statistically significant difference was found, however, between the formally involved students and the comparison group on high school type (chi-square=7.8; df=3; p<.05). Formal program participants, as a whole, were significantly more likely to have attended a private high school. Forty-five percent of the students in the three involved groups attended Catholic or non-Catholic private schools while only thirty-four percent of the students in the comparison group attended a private high school.

Table 4.8
Type of high school attended:
involved groups by comparison group

(x2= 7.8, p<.05)

Both groups proved to be quite involved in high school, with 95% of the formally involved students and 87% of the uninvolved having participated in high school co-curricular activities. A chi square analysis, however, indicates that this difference is statistically significant as shown in table 4.9, below. Students who are involved in these formalized college activities were more likely to have been involved in similar activities while in high school.


Table 4.9
High school involvement:
involved group by uninvolved group

(x2= 4.98, p<.03)

One-way ANOVAs were utilized to compare the formally involved students and the uninvolved students on both combined SAT score and admission rating. In this case, no statistically significant differences were found. The program participants had an average combined SAT score of 1106 and a mean admission rating of 5.5; the comparison group's mean combined SAT was 1133 and mean admission rating was 5.09.

In summary, when the combined involved groups were compared to the uninvolved students, significant differences were uncovered in the areas of high school type and high school involvement. No significant differences were found between the two groups on the other background variables under study.

Table 4.10
Summary of significant demographic and background effects: involved by uninvolved


College Experiences

Students also reported on their first year college experiences. Leadership positions held, the amount of time spent in co-curricular programs, paid academic-year employment, and faculty/staff relationships were studied. These variables were analyzed on the basis of group membership.

A. Leadership Positions Held

Relatively small percentages (ranging from 4 to 20%) of the students in any of the groups reported holding leadership positions in the activities being studied or in other student organizations. There was no statistically significant difference among the leaders, service-learners, and the uninvolved students on this variable. Student athletes, however, were significantly less likely to hold leadership positions (chi-square=7.23; df=1; p<.007). No significant difference existed between the formally involved group as a whole and the uninvolved students.

B. Time Involved in Campus Activities

The questionnaire asked students to report on the amount of time they spent involved in their one most significant co-curricular activity by means of selecting from a series of ranges, 1-4 hours, 5-9, 10-15, 16-20, and more than 20. Since the original categories were not equally spaced, the results were collapsed into two categories: less than ten hours and ten or more hours for the purposes of this analysis. This did not change the results of the analyses and made interpretation easier.

A chi-square comparison of the groups shows a significantly greater percentage of student athletes (89%) and PULSE participants (65%) spent ten or more hours involved in their activity (chi-square=57.23; df=3; p<.001). Only 30% of the ELP participants and 28% of the comparison group spent ten or more hours involved in their most significant activity.

The program participants as a group spent significantly more time involved in their co-curricular activity than a random sample of their peers (chi-square=27.68; df=1; p<.001). This finding was clearly expected since the students who were involved in formal, university-sponsored programs should be spending more time in co-curricular activities than students not involved in such activities.

Table 4.11
Time expended on co-curricular activities
and work for pay


C. Work for Pay

Working for pay was equally prevalent among leaders, service-learners, and uninvolved students (chi-square=6.94; df=1; p<.008). Athletes, however, were significantly less likely than their peers to hold paying jobs during the academic year. Only 29% of the athletes worked for pay. The data also showed that, across programs, formally involved students were no more likely than uninvolved students to hold paying jobs during the academic year.

D. Adult Relationships

Much research, including Chickering (1969, 1993), Astin (1977, 1993), and Light (1990) indicates that one of the critical elements of student involvement is the development of relationships with adult members of the college community. Consequently, the last two college experience variables addressed the development of such a relationship. The first item focused specifically on the development of a close relationship with a faculty member, the second on the development of such a relationship with university administrators, support staff, coaches or other "adult" members of the community.

No significant difference was uncovered between the four study groups on faculty relationships. The percentages among the program groups were fairly similar, ranging from 51% for the athletes to 55% for the leaders and 59% for the service participants. The fact that the latter group has the highest percentage in this category is not surprising since the service-learning program, PULSE, unlike athletics and the leadership program, has a formal academic component. A significantly higher percentage of the aggregate of program participants than uninvolved students reported that they had developed a close relationship with a faculty member during their freshman year (chi-square=3.71; df=1; p<.05).

When the development of a close relationship with a non-faculty staff member was studied, only athletes proved significantly more likely to develop such a relationship (chi-square=11.56; df=1; p<.000). Sixty-two percent of the athletes reported such a relationship as compared with 51% of the leaders, 42% of the service-learners, and 35% of the comparison group. It is somewhat surprising that the service-learners and the leaders were not more likely than the uninvolved students to have developed a close relationship with a non-faculty staff member.

Table 4.12
Faculty and staff relationships by group

When a comparison of the formally involved students across programs was made with the uninvolved group, a statistically significant difference resulted. Fifty-four percent of formal program participants reported a non-faculty relationship as compared to 35% of the uninvolved (chi-square=9.25; df=1; p<.002). Student-athletes identified this non-faculty person as a coach, leaders and service-learners, as an administrator.

The comparison group of students not involved in formalized, co-curricular programs who reported a close relationship with a non-faculty staff member divided their responses between administrator, secretary, coach, and "other." Three students reported a close relationship with a maintenance worker.

Table 4.13
Summary of college experiences across student groups

Overall, the data generated by the college experience segment of the questionnaire showed that the formally involved students spent more time than their uninvolved peers in co-curricular activities and more frequently developed relationships with faculty and other "adult" members of the University community. The two groups were similar in employment activity.

Dependent Variables

The study hypothesis states that students who participate in formal, university-sponsored co-curricular programs will exhibit greater success in college than uninvolved students. The construct of student success in college was defined in this study as growth along the first two of Chickering's developmental vectors, achieving competence and managing emotions, as well as by student satisfaction with the overall college experience.

Chickering's first vector, developing competence, was operationalized as grade point average and student self-confidence. Self-confidence was measured by the Iowa Developing Competency Inventory's Self-Confidence Subscale (Jackson & Hood, 1986a). Chickering's second vector, managing emotions, was measured by the Iowa Managing Emotions Inventory (Jackson & Hood, 1986b) and self-reported degree of alcohol use as measured through items on the survey. The variable of satisfaction with the overall college experience was measured by the student's response to four survey items (see Chapter 3).

This study investigated the following four research questions:
1) What is the relationship between "developing competence" and participation in a leadership program, intercollegiate sports, or an academic/service program?
2) What is the relationship between "managing emotions" and participation in a leadership program, intercollegiate sports, or an academic/service program?
3) Is student satisfaction with the overall college experience related to participation in a leadership program, intercollegiate sports, or an academic/service program?
4) How do the formally involved students as an aggregate compare to the uninvolved students on the constructs of college success and satisfaction?

A. Relationship Between Demographic and Background Variables and Student Outcomes

The first part of the analysis investigated the relationship between the six demographic and background variables (gender, high school type, parental education, financial aid status, race, and high school involvement) and the construct of student success in college (self-confidence, grade point average, ability to manage emotions, responsible alcohol use, and satisfaction with the overall college experience).

a. Student Self-Confidence

Gender and high school involvement were the only two entering student characteristics associated with self-confidence. Males were more self confident than females (F=5.64, p<.05). Students involved in high school co-curricular activities were more self confident than those who were not involved (F=5.72, p<.05.)

Table 4.14
Students' self-confidence by gender and high school involvement

b. Grade Point Average

A comparison of college grade point average on the basis of these entering student characteristics indicates that neither gender, type of high school attended, parents' level of education, financial aid status, high school involvement, admissions rating, nor combined SAT scores significantly affect grade point average. The only statistically significant difference found was for African-American students (n=14, chi-square=35.18; df=16; p<.01) who earned a college grade point average that was statistically lower than other racial groups. Slightly over half (57%) of the African-American students had a gpa of 2.49 or less.

In an attempt to explain this difference, SAT scores, admissions rating, type of high school attended, and parents' education level were analyzed on the basis of racial categories. Combined SAT scores for African-American students in the sample were significantly lower than for other racial groups (F=3.86, p<.01), with African-American students having a mean combined score of 952 as compared to a range of 1097 to 1148 for the other groups. While African-American students did have a numerically lower admissions rating than the other groups, it was not statistically significant. The small number of African-American students (n=7) in the entire sample made it quite difficult, due to statistical restrictions, to demonstrate a statistically significant relationship.

In addition, significantly more African-American students came from public high schools (85.7%) than did students of other racial groupings (chi-square=23.01, p<.05). While parents' education level (a measure of socio-economic status) for African-
American students in the sample was not significantly lower than for other racial categories, more than half (57%) of the African-American students' parents had only high school degrees. Once again, the low number of African-American students in the sample made a significant finding very difficult to obtain.

c. Managing Emotions

The only background trait associated with managing emotions was high school involvement. Ability to manage their emotions was statistically unrelated to gender, type of high school attended, combined SAT scores, admission's rating, parents' level of education, students' financial aid status, or race.

Table 4.15
Managing emotions by high school involvement

Students who were involved in high school co-curricular activities showed a greater ability to manage their emotions as measured by the Iowa Managing Emotions Inventory (F=4.31, p<.05.) The mean score on the inventory for students who were active in high school was 218.5; the mean for those who were uninvolved in high school was 205.2.

d. Alcohol Use

Alcohol use frequency and binge drinking were also used as indices of students' ability to manage their emotions. Gender, financial aid status, race, and high school co-curricular involvement were related to alcohol use frequency; gender and financial aid status were related to binge drinking.

Males used alcohol more frequently than females (chi-square=10.08; df=4; p<.05). Over one-third of the males reported using alcohol an average of two or more times per week (39%). Less than a quarter of the females (22%) reported doing so. Men also reported binge drinking, or drinking at least five drinks in one sitting, more often than women (chi-square=14.16; df=4, p<.01). Over two-thirds of the male students reported binge drinking in the two weeks prior to completing the questionnaire (71%) as opposed to slightly over half of the females (61%).

Students who received financial aid used alcohol more frequently than students who did not receive aid (chi-square=36.09; df=4; p<.001). They also binge drank more frequently (chi-square=36.09; df=4; p<.001). White students used alcohol more frequently than students of color, both when compared individually to African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and "Other" racial groups (chi-square=63.41; df=16, p<.001), and when compared to these groups as an aggregate (chi-square=20.77; df=4; p<.001). Nearly a third of the white students reported drinking an average of at least two times per week (30%), as opposed to less than a quarter of the students of color (23%). Lastly, students involved in high school activities were more frequent users than students who were not active in high school (chi-square=9.92; df=4; p<.05).

e. Student Satisfaction with the College Experience

When student satisfaction was compared on the basis of race, no significant differences were found between the specific racial categories. When white students were compared to non-white however, white students were more satisfied with their overall college experience (F=7.75; p<.01).

Table 4.16
Student satisfaction by race

In summary, when the outcome variables were compared on the basis of student background characteristics, a number of significant differences were uncovered. Male students tend to demonstrate greater self-confidence and to drink more than females. Students who receive financial aid drink more frequently than those who do not, but students who receive no aid binge drink more frequently. White students drink more frequently than students of color and are more satisfied with the college experience. African-American students tend to have a lower grade point average than the overall group. Finally, students who participated in high school co-curricular activities are more self-confident, show greater ability to manage emotions, and drink more frequently than students who were not involved in high school.

These differences will be accounted for during the analysis of the relationship between group membership and student success in college. Table 4.17 is a summary of the relationship between demographic and background characteristics and the positive student outcomes.

Table 4.17
Summary of student characteristics and college
outcomes


B. Relationship Between College Experiences and Student Outcomes

Table 4.18
Summary table: college experiences and student outcomes



An analysis was conducted of the relationship between the college experience variables of paid employment, time spent in co-curricular activities, leadership positions held, and the development of a close relationship with a University faculty or staff member and the college outcome variables of self-confidence, managing emotions, satisfaction, grade point average, and alcohol use. Table 4.18, above, summarizes this relationship.

No relationship was found between positive student outcomes and work for pay, time spent in co-curricular activities, and leadership positions held. Developing a personal connection with a faculty member was positively related to self-confidence, managing emotions, responsible alcohol use, and satisfaction with the college experience. Relationships with staff were also positively related to self-confidence, responsible alcohol use, and satisfaction. The more students worked for pay and the greater their college involvement, the less they used alcohol.

C. Relationship Between College Co-Curricular Involvement and
Student Outcomes

In general, few significant differences were uncovered among the three involved groups and the uninvolved group of students who did not participate in formal, university-sponsored, co-curricular activities, or between the overall involved group and the comparison group, when these groups were compared directly on the basis of positive student outcomes. Only in the case of grade point average and binge drinking were significant differences found. Service-learning students had a higher gpa than the other groups; athletes had a lower gpa and binge drank more. The combined group of formally involved students had a higher gpa than the uninvolved students.

a. Student Self-confidence

The scores on the Iowa Developing Competence, Self-Confidence subscale range from 30 to 150, with higher scores indicating a higher level of self-confidence. The students in the sample tested significantly higher on the self-confidence subscale (t=2.98, p<.05) than the mean provided by the test's authors (Hood & Jackson, 1988 a). The mean score for the total sample was 105.5 as compared to a national mean of 99.16.

Table 4.19
Self confidence by group membership

Students in the program groups scored slightly higher than students in the comparison groups; however, a one-way analysis of variance found no statistically significant differences when comparing each program group to the comparison group on the variable of self confidence. In addition, no statistically significant difference was found when the three program groups, as a whole, were compared to the comparison group.

b. Grade Point Average

Students reported their first year grade point average by checking a grouped item on the study questionnaire. Since these data are ordinal, a chi square test of significance was conducted comparing each program group with the uninvolved group and also comparing the program groups as a whole to the uninvolved students.

Overall, the students in the study had relatively high grade point averages, with 67.8% of the comparison group and 70.2% of the program groups having a gpa of 3.0 or better. When the groups were compared, the student-athletes possessed a significantly lower gpa (chi-square=14.49, df=4, p<.01.) Over 50% of the athletes had a gpa of 2.99 or less. The service learners, on the other hand, possessed a gpa that was significantly higher than the uninvolved students (chi-square=9.95, df=4, p<.05.). There was no statistically significant difference between the leaders and the uninvolved. Overall, the mean grade point average of the program participants was significantly higher than that of the uninvolved students (chi-square=36.78, df=12, p<.001). This finding, however, is somewhat unclear. The grouping of the grade point averages into categories, coupled with the significant differences found among the three involved groups, may have contributed to this result.

Table 4.20
Grade point average by group membership

c. Managing Emotions

The scores on the Iowa Managing Emotions inventory could range from a low of 60 to a high of 300, with higher scores indicating greater ability to manage emotions. The mean for this inventory, provided by the test's authors, is 212.6 (Hood & Jackson, 1988b). All three of the program groups as well as the comparison group, scored numerically higher than this norm. The mean score for the total sample was 217.4. The three combined program groups scored an average of 220; the comparison group mean was 215.1.

Table 4.21
Students ability to manage emotions by group membership

A one way ANOVA found no statistically significant differences when each of the three program groups was compared to the comparison group. Nor was a significant difference found when the three program groups were considered as a whole and compared with the comparison group.

d. Alcohol Use

Alcohol has, for the purposes of this study, been related to Chickering's second developmental vector, Managing Emotions. Two questions relating to the students' use of alcohol were included in the instrument. The first inquired about the frequency of alcohol use over the previous twelve month period. The second asked about the frequency of binge drinking, the number of times during the previous two weeks that the student had consumed five or more drinks at any one sitting.

Chi-square comparisons indicated no statistically significant differences when each of the three program groups were compared to the comparison group, nor when the programs groups as an aggregate were compared to the comparison group on frequency of alcohol use.

Table 4.22
Alcohol use (previous twelve months) by group membership


No statistically significant difference was found in binge drinking between the leaders and the comparison group nor between the service learners and the comparison group. Student athletes, however, consumed five or more drinks over the previous two weeks significantly more frequently than members of the comparison group (chi-square=10.12; df=4; p<.05). There was no statistically significant difference between the program groups as a whole and the comparison group.

Table 4.23
Number of times student has consumed five or more
drinks in the past two weeks by group membership


e. Student Satisfaction with the College Experience

Student satisfaction with the college experience was ascertained through four items on the survey instrument. The first three investigated satisfaction with the academic, co-curricular, and overall experience. The fourth asked whether the student would choose to attend Boston College again. Overall, Boston College students appear to be quite satisfied with their experience. Possible total scores on each of the four items ranged from 1 to 4, with the higher score indicating a higher level of satisfaction. The mean of all four satisfaction items for the entire sample was 12.4 indicating an average response to each satisfaction item of 3.1, with 3 being satisfied and 4 being very satisfied. A one-way ANOVA uncovered no statistically significant differences on this construct when each program group was compared to the comparison group nor when the three program groups as an aggregate were compared to the comparison group.

Table 4.24
Summary table: student outcomes by student groups

D. Combined Effects and Student Outcomes

The above analysis uncovered relatively few significant differences when student outcomes were compared directly on the basis of group membership. However, many factors, such as the demographic and background variables already discussed, potentially impact student outcomes.

Additional analyses, including two-way analyses of variance and analyses of covariance, were conducted which controlled for each of the demographic and background variables. These analyses compared the formally involved students to the students not involved in formal, co-curricular activities on the basis of student self-confidence, ability to manage emotions, and satisfaction. Due to the relatively small number of students in each of the co-curricular programs studied, it was not possible to conduct this analysis for each specific group. Therefore, the comparisons were made between the formally involved students as an aggregate and the group of uninvolved students.

When these analyses indicated that a statistically significant difference did exist, both the Scheffe and Tukey HSD post-hoc tests were utilized. The only control variable which proved to significantly affect the relationship between involvement and student outcomes was high school involvement. None of the other demographic or background variables, when controlled, impacted the findings.

a. Student Self-Confidence

When group membership and high school involvement were combined, a significant relationship was found in the area of student self-confidence. The findings indicate that students who participated in both high school and college co-curricular activities had a significantly higher mean score on self-confidence than did students who participated in neither high school nor college activities. Likewise, students who participated in only high school activities had a higher level of self-confidence than did students who did not participate in either high school or college.

Table 4.25
Self-confidence by group membership and high school.
involvement


F=4.51, p<.004

In addition, while the mean for students who participated in college but did not participate in high school is numerically greater than the mean for uninvolved students, the results in this case are not statistically significant due to the small number of cases in this category (n=6).

b. Managing Emotions

Managing emotions was also compared to college involvement and high school involvement. Once again, the students who were involved in both high school and college had a significantly higher mean score on this variable than the students who did not participate in either high school or college activities. These students also scored lower on the managing emotions scale than did students who participated in high school but not in college. Students who participated in college but not in high school scored numerically higher, but not in a statistically significant way.

Table 4.26
Managing emotions by group membership and
high school involvement


F=3.54, p<.015

c. Student Satisfaction

A similar analysis was conducted for group membership combined with high school involvement on student satisfaction. Students who participated in high school as well as college co-curricular activities were significantly more satisfied with their college experience. Students who did not participate in either high school or college activities were significantly less satisfied than students who were involved in both high school and college and students who were involved in high school but not in college. Once again, in the case of students who were active in college but not high school, the sample size is too small to elicit significant results.

Table 4.27
Satisfaction by group membership and high school
involvement

F=2.65, p<.049

With the knowledge gained from the above analysis, a multiple analysis of variance was conducted examining variations in self-confidence, managing emotions, and satisfaction simultaneously with group membership. In this instance, no controlling variables were used. This analysis yielded no significant variation in the set of these three outcome scales by group membership.

Next, another MANOVA was conducted looking at self-confidence, managing emotions, and satisfaction simultaneously by group membership (i.e. involved or not involved) controlling for high school involvement. This MANOVA examined three effects: the unique effect of group membership and high school involvement, the unique effect of high school involvement, and the unique effect of group membership.

In the first instance (combined effect), a significant relationship exists between the interaction of high school involvement and college group membership and the three outcome variables, self-confidence, managing emotions, and satisfaction (F=2.656, p<.049). Since a significant difference was uncovered, a series of univariate post hoc tests were conducted to determine where this significant difference lies. The results indicate self-confidence (F=4.82, p<.03) and managing emotions (F=4.42, p<.04) were significantly higher for the involved students. The effect on satisfaction approached, but did not reach, statistical significance (F=3.21, p<.07).

The second effect tested was the unique effect of high school involvement. No significant relationship was discovered between high school involvement, on its own, and the three outcome variables.

The effect of group membership was analyzed, controlling for high school involvement and the college group membership/high school involvement interaction. This procedure allowed the researcher to study college involvement unencumbered by these other effects. In this instance, the effect of group membership on the set of outcome variables proved to be statistically significant (F=3.81, p<.01). In addition, univariate F tests indicate that group membership, controlling for the other two effects, is significantly related to confidence (F=7.54, p<.01), managing emotions (F=6.24, p<.01), and satisfaction (F=6.24, p<.04).

When the effects of high school involvement were separated out, group membership proved to be significantly related to student self-confidence, managing emotions, and student satisfaction.

Table 4.28
MANOVA: Outcomes by group membership and high school
involvement

CHAPTER FIVE

FINDINGS OF THE STUDY

Introduction

This research sought to determine if involvement in formal, University-sponsored co-curricular activities during the first year of college was related to positive student outcomes as measured by grade point average, student self-confidence, ability to manage emotions, alcohol use, and satisfaction with the overall college experience. The study was conducted at Boston College, an institution with an undergraduate population of nearly nine thousand students.

Three co-curricular activities were studied: a leadership program, a service-learning program, and non-scholarship intercollegiate athletics. A comparison group of students not involved in formal, college-sponsored co-curricular activities was also examined. In this sample of approximately three hundred students at Boston College, involvement in the three co-curricular activities studied proved to be positively related to students' academic success, self-confidence, their ability to manage emotions, and their satisfaction with the overall college experience.

Four research questions were posed at the outset. The first three, relating to the relationship between specific types of involvement and student outcomes were unable to be confirmed by the study. The only group-specific, positive relationship uncovered indicated that students in the service-learning program did better academically than their peers.

The small sample sizes of the program groups hindered the statistical analysis of the data and made it difficult to detect possible relationships among the three program groups taken individually and the uninvolved students. Consequently, the data for all three program groups were combined. This limited most of the findings to a comparison of involved and uninvolved students. Questions relating to the effects of different types of formal involvement were lost in the process. However, the fourth research question, involving a comparison of the total aggregate of involved students to the comparison group of uninvolved students, yielded many significant findings.

It is important to note that the term uninvolved students, as used in this study, refers to students who did not participate in any type of formal, university-sponsored, co-curricular activity during their first year at Boston College. In fact, 58% of this comparison group of "uninvolved students" did participate in some type of co-curricular activity. This participation, however, was not in a formal program, but consisted of activities such as attending a lecture or a social event on campus or an occasional meeting of an interest club. What differentiated the two groups was the type of involvement: time-intensive, formal, university-sponsored programs as opposed to informal, less structured participation in general student activities. The findings support the contention of student affairs professionals that co-curricular programs contribute to the development of the whole person and are a valued and worthwhile component of the academic enterprise.

Involvement at Boston College was found to positively influence student growth and development. When the three program groups, the Emerging Leader Program, the PULSE Program, and non-scholarship intercollegiate athletics were combined, involved students at Boston College possessed greater self-confidence and were better able to manage their emotions than uninvolved students. Finkenberg (1990), Fitch (1991), Pace (1987), Walsh (1985), and Williams and Winston (1985) have also come to similar conclusions about the benefits of formal co-curricular activities.

This study also indicates that involvement in the co-curricular programs studied contributed to students' academic success. Previous studies by Angelo (1988), Astin (1985), Hanks and Eckland (1976), Light (1990), Ory and Braskamp (1980), and Walsh (1985), also determined that involvement in different forms was positively related to academic performance.

Lastly, this study concluded that the involved students were more satisfied with their overall college experience than were their uninvolved peers. A plethora of studies, including Astin (1977, 1985, 1993), Angelo (1988), Cosgrove (1986), Holland and Huba (1991), Keegan (1987), Light (1990), Pascarella et al. (1986), Pascarella and Smart (1991), Ryan (1989), and Walsh (1985) also found that involved students were more satisfied than uninvolved students.

It is apparent, however, that the relationship between these positive outcomes and participation in the service-learning, leadership, and athletic programs is somewhat mitigated by the wealth of other experiences a first year college student undergoes. As Terenzini and Pascarella (1994) concluded, "a majority of the important changes that occur during college are probably the cumulative result of a set of interrelated and mutually supporting experiences, in class and out, sustained over an extended period of time" (p. 31). Peer group and family relationships, non-college-related activities, residence environment, travel opportunities, academic programs, and work are all experiences that can impact a student's intellectual and psychosocial development.

Implications of Findings

At Boston College, formal university-sponsored co-curricular programs are a valuable and worthwhile component of the overall academic enterprise. Given the fact that significant, positive outcomes were associated with participation in formal, co-curricular programs, it is important to ask what practical implications these findings hold for Boston College. What lessons can be learned from this research, what modifications, additions, and/or deletions should be made to the existing academic and co-curricular environment of the university? The implications of these findings can be grouped into two areas: implications for student affairs policies, programs, and procedures and implications for the academic realm.

A. Implications for Student Affairs

The findings suggest a number of ways that the student affairs program at Boston College can better serve the developmental needs of the undergraduate population. Six specific areas were identified: general implications, program-specific modifications, uninvolved students, alcohol use, the first year student, and assessment of co-curricular programs.

a. General Implications for Student Affairs

The formally involved students were more likely than their less involved peers to have developed close relationships with Boston College faculty and staff. The Emerging Leader Program is coordinated by two staff members from student affairs, the PULSE program is directed by a faculty member from the Philosophy Department, and the athletic participants are surrounded by coaches, trainers, and learning support personnel. Through participation in such programs, these students presumably had a quantitatively and qualitatively greater exposure to adult members of the college community. Students in these programs frequently travel with the adults, eat meals with them, have numerous opportunities for both one-on-one and group discussions, and, in general, interact on a much more personal level with the faculty and staff members than do students not involved in programs of this nature.

This is a finding of some significance given that the value of such relationships has been consistently documented in the literature. Many researchers, including Angelo (1988), Astin (1977, 1993), Chickering and Reisser (1993), Kuh, et al. (1991), Light (1990), Pascarella and Terenzini (1993), Pascarella, Ethington, and Smart (1988), and Weidman (1979), have reported on the value of out-of-class relationships with university faculty and staff. Faculty relationships have been related to increased student learning and personal development. Kuh and associates also point to the importance of relationships with non-faculty staff of the institutions such as "librarians, trustees, secretaries, custodial staff, and buildings and grounds workers," (1991 p. 181) who set the stage for positive student growth and development.

Consequently, the student affairs division at Boston College should strive to set the stage for the development of such relationships as an integral part of the co-curricular program of the University. Existing programs that do not currently have clearly defined faculty and/or professional staff involvement should develop such roles. For example, Boston College currently has over 150 registered student clubs, accommodating interests ranging from sports and recreation to politics and religion. There is currently a very loose and informal faculty/professional staff advisor program in place where the role of most advisors is limited to an occasional signature on a form. No training is provided for the advisors nor are they made aware of the expectations of their role. Kuh, et al. (1991, p. 320) stress the importance of creating "windows of opportunity" to more clearly define the role of faculty advisors to student groups. Strengthening the existing faculty advisor program through recruitment and training of interested faculty, raising the level of awareness of the faculty of the importance of the role, clearly articulating the expectations for this role, and providing increased opportunities for faculty-student interaction in planned programs, workshops, and activities is a promising way to increase faculty and staff interactions with students in the co-curricular arena.

The study determined that participation in formalized, co-curricular programs was more developmentally beneficial than participation in informal co-curricular activities. The members of the comparison group were deliberately defined as those who had not participated in formal, university-sponsored, co-curricular programs. Nearly two-thirds of the comparison group indicated that they had participated in informal co-curricular activities during their freshman year.

The nature of involvement in formalized programs differs significantly from involvement in informal student activities. Formally involved students commit both time and effort or, as Astin (1984, p. 297) states, "physical and psychological energy" to their participation. These programs provide a locus for students' out-of-class lives, where they can develop a sense of identity with, and loyalty to, the program, their peers, and the institution. These programs have been designed and supervised by professionals who set clear standards for students' participation. The professional staff who oversee these programs delineate clear expectations for students' commitment of both time and energy.

It is not clear from this study what specific aspects of formal involvement make the difference. It is clear, however, that participation in these programs proved to be positively related to student success as defined in this study. Consequently, another recommendation for the student affairs program is to develop more structured formal programs to reach a wider population of students. (See Chapter 3 for the study definition of such programs.)

Another finding with clear implications for co-curricular life is the importance of active recruitment of students of color to existing programs. The freshman leadership program examined in this study actively recruited students of color and consequently had a greater percentage of AHANA students (32%) than the undergraduate total (19%), the service-learning program, PULSE (12%), or non-scholarship athletics (16%).

With the cooperation and the assistance of the Boston College Office of AHANA Student Programs, the leadership program's directors sent a mailing, cosigned by a staff member of the AHANA office, to all incoming students of color encouraging them to apply to the program. One of the directors also met, during the early part of the summer, with the incoming class of the Options Through Education Program, a remedial program for disadvantaged students, most, if not all, of them students of color. In addition, students of color were given special consideration during the applicant selection process for the leadership program. A waiver of the normal $60 leadership program fee was also granted to any applicant who requested it. This deliberate attempt to recruit AHANA students proved to be successful and should be emulated by all college-sponsored co-curricular programs and activities.

Lastly, the findings of this study point to a potential model for co-curricular programs of this nature. The service-learning program, PULSE, consists of both an experiential, service component and an in-class academic component. Those students who participated in the service-learning program not only accrued the developmental benefits (self-confidence, ability to manage emotions, and satisfaction) associated with involvement, but were also more successful academically than their peers. Combining the academic and experiential realms appears to be an effective way of creating desirable faculty-student relationships, increasing academic success, and contributing to student development and student satisfaction. This approach is supported by Kuh et al. who advocate the "blurring of boundaries...between in-class and out-of-class learning experiences" (1991, p. 334). In order to accomplish this, a collaborative approach must be developed between student affairs and academic affairs.

b. Program Specific Modifications

As stated above, one of the findings of this study was that the service-learning program, with its combination of academic and experiential dimensions, appeared to effectively contribute to both psychosocial development and academic success. In addition, study findings indicate that the time students spend in their co-curricular endeavors is positively related to student success. This finding is supported by Astin's Involvement Theory (1984) which stresses the importance of not only the quality of student involvement, but the quantity as well.

Given the above, it appears that the Emerging Leader Program at Boston College could be enhanced through the addition of an academic component and the incorporation of an experiential, community service element. The academic component could take the form of fuller utilization of university faculty in the program, involving them perhaps in topics such as current affairs, leadership, or human relations. The interaction between faculty and students in this environment would differ markedly from the normal classroom setting. The interaction would be less formal and more interactive and could facilitate two-way learning and discussion between students and faculty. Opportunities would exist for students to become acquainted with faculty as real people rather than just professors.

Expansion of the program by adding an experiential component could include an on-going, structured, community service experience, either on or off campus. This experiential component could also entail students working side by side with faculty and staff and also provide opportunities for analysis and reflection on the experience. A long range goal of the Emerging Leader Program could be to establish a cooperative relationship with an academic department to integrate the leadership program with an academic course offering.

c. Uninvolved Students

The research is clear about the benefits of involvement in these formal, university-sponsored, co-curricular programs. Outreach should be made to involve as many students as possible in some type of structured, co-curricular experience where they would have an opportunity to meet and learn from faculty, university staff, and their own peers. Given the institution's motto of "Ever to Excel," it is incumbent upon the university to reach out to those students who are not taking advantage of the developmental experiences offered through formalized, co-curricular involvement.

A variety of methods could be utilized to reach out to uninvolved or under-involved students. Beginning at freshman orientation, both students and their parents could be informed of the potential benefits of such involvement. They could be made aware of the different types of programs available on campus. Student representatives of the various activities could be present to speak with new students and their parents about the programs and encourage them to become involved.

Faculty advisors, chaplains, members of the residence life staff, and anyone else who has contact with students could be asked to encourage students to become involved. In addition, most involved students have friends, roommates, or classmates who they know are not actively involved on campus. These student leaders could be encouraged to recruit new members from among their uninvolved peers.

Students who do not have a history of high school involvement were actively recruited by the Emerging Leader Program. The application materials for the program state that "Prior leadership experience is not a prerequisite for the program" (Emerging Leader Program Application Brochure, 1992). The program directors have apparently succeeded in attracting uninvolved, as well as involved, students to the program, since 13% of the students involved in the leadership program reported no active involvement in high school co-curricular activities as opposed to no service-learners and 2% of the student-athletes. A recruitment appeal targeted specifically at uninvolved students could work for other established programs as well.

In addition, new programs could be designed which could incorporate some of the specific attributes delineated in this study into a model that would appeal to students who do not have a history of co-curricular involvement. One example of such a program could be a weekend leadership retreat, offered by student affairs but utilizing university faculty as presenters and facilitators. Uninvolved students could be recruited through advertisements or, perhaps even more effectively, by being nominated by involved classmates or by faculty members. The retreat would take place off campus on a Friday through Sunday format so the students and the faculty and staff would have an opportunity to interact not only over the course of two and a half days, but during two evenings as well. The content of such a leadership retreat could vary depending on the goals of the program's directors and the talents and skills of the faculty and staff volunteers and could include follow up sessions during the semester.

d. Alcohol Use

One of the disturbing findings of the study was that athletes "binge" drink more frequently than the other groups. This may be related to the fact that the athletes are the only group with a higher percentage of males (55%) than females. We have already noted that the male students in the study "binge" drink more frequently than females. This finding is troublesome given the importance of wellness for college athletes. It may be appropriate, as a result, to specifically target student-athletes for educational programming around the issue of alcohol use and abuse. Coaches also need to be made clearly aware of this disturbing finding. Since they frequently set parameters for the behavior of their student-athletes, their influence could dramatically affect the student-athlete culture.

Another relevant finding in the area of alcohol use concerned the relationship between the development of close relationships with faculty and staff and alcohol use. Students who had developed a close relationship with a faculty or staff member drank less frequently than did their peers. With most colleges and universities currently struggling with ways to ameliorate the use and abuse of alcohol by their students, providing students with increased opportunities to interact with faculty and staff could help lessen this problem.


e. First Year Students

Of all the background variables studied, high school involvement appeared to have the most wide ranging impact. Students who were involved in high school co-curricular activities proved to have more self-confidence and were better able to manage their emotions. Gholson (1985) also found a positive relationship between participation in high school co-curricular activities and success after high school.

Baker (1993), Camp (1990), Eidsmore (1964), and Otto (1975) document the positive relationship between participation in high school co-curricular activities and success in high school. Many studies have also identified a positive relationship between college involvement and college success [cf. Astin (1977, 1985, 1993), Cosgrove (1986), Erwin and Lowe (1989), Finkenberg (1990), Holland and Huba (1991), Hood (1989), Keegan (1987), Light (1990), Ory and Baskamp (1980), Pace (1987), Pascarella et al. (1986), Pascarella and Smart (1991), Ryan (1989), Walsh (1985), and Williams and Winston (1985)]. This relationship between high school involvement and success during the first year of college appears to be a fertile area for further research.

The importance of involvement in high school co-curricular activities, documented by this study, is related to greater self-confidence, greater ability to manage emotions, and greater satisfaction with the college experience among Boston College freshmen. At present, some weight is given to high school involvement in the admissions process, as one of the factors involved in determining an applicant's admission rating at Boston College. With high school involvement leading to more satisfied first year students who are better able to manage their emotions and are more self-confident, perhaps its importance in the admission review process should be elevated. Likewise, the value and importance of high school involvement should be communicated to faculty, staff, and students at the high school level.

The findings of this study also point to the importance of involving first year students in the full fabric of life at the university. Participation in co-curricular activities, particularly of the type described in this study, leads to students who are generally more satisfied, more academically successful, more self-confident, and more socially in control than their uninvolved peers. The key is to develop a format through which more students can become involved in these type of formal co-curricular activities.

At present, the Emerging Leader Program, PULSE, and non-scholarship athletics reach less than 10% of the freshman class at Boston College. While there are a small number of other programs (such as the Boston College Band, the University Chorale, and the Presidential Scholars Program) available to freshmen that fit the definition of formal involvement delineated in Chapter 3, the total number of participants in these programs is also quite small.

There are a number of ways to provide for greater involvement in formal co-curricular programs for freshmen. Programs such as the Emerging Leader Program, which currently accepts less than 25% of the incoming student who apply, could be expanded. Other existing, less time-intensive programs could be modified. For example, the current 48 Hours program, which sponsors weekend discussion retreats with upper division students and faculty/staff facilitators, could incorporate more faculty, staff, and student contact and a more on-going experience for its participants. New opportunities to participate in community service activities, especially those activities that provide for some type of discussion and synthesis of the experience with both peers and faculty/staff, could also help fill this void.

Lastly, the concept of a viable, on-going freshman year experience program, incorporating both academic and psychosocial goals, should be explored. The present freshman year experience program consists of little more than a two to three day summer orientation program that ceases to have an impact on students academic or personal development after they arrive in September. The development of an extended freshman year experience program that would meet in small groups on a regular basis for one semester, utilize upper division students in conjunction with faculty and University staff as facilitators, and explore both academic and developmental issues would provide many of the aspects of formal involvement that have been identified in this study. Ideally, successful completion of a program of this type, whether it be a leadership program, a service program, or a freshman year experience program, could be required of all first year students.

f. Assessment of Co-curricular Programs

The use of general outcome measures such as self-confidence and managing emotions to assess the impact and effectiveness of specific co-curricular programs proved to be difficult and inexact. Many extraneous factors affect the development of self-confidence and the ability to manage emotions. It is virtually impossible to control for all of them. In addition, there is little consensus as to what self-confidence and the ability to manage emotions actually mean.

A more effective way to assess such programs may be to look at the specific goals of each program and to measure achievement of those goals. For example, a leadership program may possess goals such as understanding the concept of situational leadership theory, public speaking ability, and maneuvering one's way around the university bureaucracy. The goals for non-scholarship athletics may include physical fitness, the ability to work in a group, and the development of specific kinesthetic skills. The goals for a service-learning program may include knowledge and understanding gained from both the community service and the academic component.

This approach of developing specific outcome measures for specific co-curricular programs has been advocated by RiCharde, Olney and Erwin (1993) and Winston and Miller (1994) who stress the importance of establishing "specific expected student outcomes" (p. 8). Of the co-curricular programs investigated in this study, only in the case of the service-learning program was a program-specific goal, academic success, investigated. This study indicates that the PULSE Program has successfully achieved this objective.

Utilizing program-specific assessment methods would respond to the need for program evaluation and assessment in the student affairs area. Rather than attempting to determine the value and worth of co-curricular programs by evaluating macro issues like developmental growth, student affairs professionals could look more closely at the specific goals of each program and assess accordingly. The development of specific, measurable program goals and objectives and assessment based upon the achievement of those goals and objectives would be manageable and quantifiable.

B. Implications for Academic Affairs

Three factors stand out when this study is viewed from the perspective of academic affairs: academic success, student satisfaction with the college experience, and the importance of faculty-student interaction. These factors have implications for the academic area, particularly in light of recent national debate concerning the role of faculty in the academy.

a. Academic Success

The formally involved students in this study achieved greater academic success than their uninvolved peers in general, and the service-learners were found to have significantly higher grade point averages than their peers in the other study groups. This was true even though the students in the PULSE Program spent significantly more time involved in co-curricular activities and had somewhat lower entering SAT scores and admissions ratings than their peers. These results are very encouraging and are in accord with findings by other researchers including Angelo (1988), Astin (1984), Hanks and Eckland (1976), Light (1990), Ory and Braskamp (1980), and Walsh (1980) who also determined that co-curricular involvement was positively related to academic performance.

Athletes, however, were found to have significantly lower gpa's than the other groups. This finding is troublesome, but not unexpected. Angelo (1988) and Light (1990) at Harvard found that involvement in college athletics had a slightly negative relationship to academic performance.

While athletes in this study did not have significantly lower combined SAT scores nor significantly lower admission ratings, they did spend significantly more time actively involved, with 89% spending ten or more hours per week engaged in their athletic endeavor. In addition, the student-athlete "sub-culture" may place less value on academic success, emphasizing athletic success instead. The commitment of "physical and psychological energy" that Astin (1984, p. 297) refers to may be directed more towards a particular sport than to academics. While it is beyond the scope of this study to determine causality, the issue of student-athletes' academic performance calls for an increased commitment by Boston College to provide an environment for student-athletes that is both supportive and conducive to success not just on the field, but in the classroom as well.

The relationship between race and academic success is also troublesome. The study indicates that African-American students had significantly lower grade point averages than any of the other racial groups. This lower academic achievement may be related to some of the entering student characteristics examined in this study. The data show that the African-American students in the sample entered Boston College with significantly lower SAT scores, came almost exclusively from public high schools, and came from a lower socio-economic status (based on findings relating to parent's level of education and financial aid status) than members of the other groups. Consequently these students were not necessarily as well prepared academically as their peers in other racial categories. As a result, after the first year of college, African-American students were not performing as well as their peers. This finding calls for a renewed effort on behalf of the institution to provide increased academic assistance and support for students who enter the university without adequate academic preparation.

b. Student Satisfaction

In addition to academic success, involvement in college or university-sponsored outside-the-classroom experiences has been demonstrated, by a number of researchers, to enhance student satisfaction with the overall college experience [cf. Astin (1977, 1985, 1993), Cosgrove (1986), Holland and Huba (1991), Keegan (1987), Light (1990), Pascarella et al. (1986), Pascarella and Smart (1991), Ryan (1989), and Walsh (1985)]. This study supports this conclusion. Given such overwhelmingly positive evidence, it should be incumbent upon the Boston College faculty to not only encourage such involvement, but assist in providing opportunities for formalized involvement.

The PULSE Program, which combines the academic with the experiential, provides an interesting model. The service-learners in the sample not only performed better academically than their uninvolved peers, they also performed better than the students in the leadership program and the student-athletes. While PULSE is specific to service-learning and the philosophy department, many other programs and departments could utilize a similar structure. Sociology and psychology students could work in community-based programs ranging from probation departments to mental health facilities; management students could serve internships in local corporate enterprises. Incorporating an experiential component into academic coursework could provide students with a truly holistic educational experience, enhancing their psychosocial development, academic success, and overall satisfaction with the total college experience.

c. Faculty-Student Interaction

The development of relationships between faculty and students also directly impacts the academic arena. As already mentioned, a plethora of researchers, including Angelo (1988), Astin (1977, 1993), Chickering and Reisser (1993), Kuh, et al. (1991), Light (1990), Pascarella and Terenzini (1993), Pascarella, Ethington, and Smart (1988), and Weidman (1979) have concluded that such relationships serve to enhance the overall college experience. Pascarella and Terenzini state, "the educational impact of a college's faculty is enhanced when their contacts with students extend beyond the formal classroom to informal non classroom settings" (1991, p. 620).

Despite this widespread consensus, the pressure on faculty to conduct research and for scholarly publication limits the time they have available for out-of-class interaction with their students. A frequent complaint heard from students relates to the poor quality of academic advising they receive from the faculty at Boston College. Students often complain that the faculty have no time available to assist them, nor interest to do so.

As Boston College continues towards its goal of becoming a world-class research institution, younger, tenure-track faculty, in particular, face a reward structure that emphasizes research and publication, often at the expense of teaching and community involvement. As Kuh et al. state, "Changes in the faculty reward system and institutional expectations are altering faculty roles and priorities" (1991, p. 175).

This is an issue which needs to be reviewed at Boston College. As the national and international prominence of the institution has increased the focus on faculty research has increased. The conventional wisdom is that research and publication, not teaching ability or student involvement, are the keys to the tenure process. Without an adequate system for rewarding faculty for teaching and involvement, younger faculty will have little incentive to participate in these activities. While research is of critical importance to any major university, an institution founded to develop "men and women for others" needs to establish mechanisms that promote the involvement of faculty in the full life of the institution. Stanford University could serve as a model in this area, as it has recently established a tenure track teaching line for those faculty members who choose to dedicate themselves to teaching and community service instead of just research and publication.

Two areas that appear fruitful for increasing and enhancing faculty-student contact at Boston College are the faculty advisor program and the undergraduate research assistants program. The importance of the role of the faculty advisor needs to be communicated and incentives for quality advising by faculty need to be developed. An expansion of the undergraduate research assistants program, which provides funding for undergraduate students to work with faculty on research projects, would provide additional opportunities for faculty and student to work together in a collegial capacity.

In the final analysis, these factors all point to an increased need for collaboration between student and academic affairs at Boston College. In order to begin responding to the needs of the students of today, an attempt must be made to reach a "seamlessness" in the academy, where both areas cooperatively strive towards the education of the whole person.

Limitations of the Study

Several limitations of this study have been identified. Among these are the large variety of factors influencing student growth and development during the college years, the limited types of involvement studied, the lack of a pre-test, post-test format, the relatively small sample sizes, the length of the instruments used, and the lack of a significant qualitative dimension to the analysis.

One of the most challenging tasks of this study was to disentangle the myriad of influences that affect college age students. Despite the number of possible confounding or intervening variables collected, examined, and accounted for, it is apparent that there are many other factors that impact positive student outcomes during the first year in college.

The freshman year is a time of new beginnings. New peer groups are formed, new interpersonal relationships develop, inquiry into spiritual, ethical, political, intellectual, and social issues flourishes. New living environments are encountered and new challenges are brought on by the freedom and opportunities inherent in a residential college. All of these elements for growth clearly confound the researcher's ability to extract the effects of any one of these elements, such as participation in co-curricular activities.

This study focused on formal involvement in university-sponsored, co-curricular programs. It did not look closely at other types of involvement, either on or off campus. Paid employment either on or off-campus, participation in off-campus religious, athletic, or fraternal organizations, and participation in college based, but not university-sponsored co-curricular programs were not studied. While the study is about involvement, it focuses on a narrowly defined type of involvement.

This was not a longitudinal study, but a "snapshot in time." Consequently, it is impossible to argue causality. We do not know what the level of self-confidence of the leaders, service-learners, student-athletes, or uninvolved students was before they matriculated at Boston College. It is conceivable that the students who participated in the formal programs were more self-confident at the start and it was this self-confidence that led them to get involved. All that can be said about the relationship between co-curricular involvement and student outcomes in the present study is that it is a positive one.

Growth along the first two of Chickering's developmental vectors was measured by the Iowa Student Development Inventories developing competence and managing emotions scales (Hood & Jackson, 1988a, 1988b). The two instruments consisted of 89 forced-answer Likert scale questions which many respondents found awkward and tedious. These instruments were cumbersome and lengthy to complete and, based upon unsolicited comments from some members of the sample, contributed to the relatively poor response rate among the uninvolved students (43%). The response rates of the three program groups was considerably higher (58%).

The modest response rate from the uninvolved group raises a question as to the profile of the non-respondents and may diminish the representativeness of the larger group of uninvolved students. It is conceivable that those students who did return the survey from that group were the students who were the most satisfied or different in some other systematic way from most uninvolved students. The remaining 57%, who did not respond, may have a significantly different profile. The higher return rate for the involved group is likely attributable to a sense of group loyalty and identification, tighter bonds to the institution, and greater cooperativeness due to faculty/staff relationships developed as a result of involvement.

Another limiting element of this research was the lack of significant qualitative data. Limiting analysis to quantitative data eliminated a dimension of the findings. Without the data derived from one-on-one interviews with at least some of the respondents, a certain richness is lost. While statistics may indicate that a positive relationship exists between involvement and satisfaction, they do not necessarily indicate why such a relationship exists.

In virtually every research study the concept of generalizability of the results must be addressed. The generalizability of this study is limited due to a variety of factors. The institutional environment, the particular types of programs studied, and the homogeneous nature of the Boston College undergraduate population are all unique to Boston College. Nevertheless, the underlying theoretical assumptions, methodology, and general findings of the study should be of value to other institutions and other researchers who want to undertake the task of assessing student development programs on their campuses.

Future Research

While this study has answered some questions with respect to student involvement in formal, university sponsored co-curricular activities it has raised even more questions.

1. Given the restriction of the study sample to one Catholic university with a very homogeneous student body, to what extent do study results generalize to other types of institutions? Does the positive relationship between involvement in formalized co-curricular programs hold true in different environments?

2. One of the unrealized objectives of this study was to determine if there are different student outcomes for different types of co-curricular involvement. Due to the small sample sizes of the involved groups it proved to be statistically difficult to distinguish the differential effects of the three programs studied. With sufficient sample sizes would it be possible to determine the differing effects of various types of involvement? If involvement matters, what specific types of involvement are the most beneficial to students? Where should student affairs staffs put increasingly scarce financial and human resources?

3. Of the three co-curricular programs reviewed in this study, one of them, the freshman leadership program, required significantly less commitment of time than the other two programs. Does the amount of time, in and of itself, that students commit to a co-curricular activity affect student outcomes? What is it about involvement in these co-curricular programs that matters? Is it the time involved, the establishment of positive peer group relationships, the development of close relationships with faculty and university staff, or the cognitive learning that takes place? Given the consensus that involvement matters, what specifically is it about involvement that makes a difference?

Additional research can answer many of these questions and also provide practitioners with clearly defined methods and strategies to assess the impact and effectiveness of co-curricular programs. The present study has shed some light in this area. Involvement matters. It is now up to future researchers to develop answers to the questions that linger.
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Appendix A - Cover Letter to Emerging Leader Program Participants

November, 1993

Dear Former ELP'er,



I am asking for your assistance. I am currently conducting a study of Boston College students who were involved in the Emerging Leader Program during their freshman year. The purpose of this research is to help determine the impact that being involved in a program such as the ELP has on students. Could you please take a few minutes to complete the enclosed survey and return it to me as soon as possible. Students who have completed it report that it only takes about ten minutes.

It will only take a short time to complete the survey Please use a pencil in marking your answers on the enclosed answer sheet (two of the questions ask you to write the answers on the questionnaire itself); it is not necessary to put your name or any other identifying data on the answer sheet. Once you complete the survey, please place the answer sheet and the questionnaire in the enclosed pre-addressed envelope and either drop the envelope in campus mail or drop it off at ODSD in McElroy 141 or 233.

Of course, all of your responses to the questions will remain strictly confidential and will be used only for the purposes of this research. If you are interested in receiving a report on the findings of this research, just enclose a brief note with your name and address in the envelope along with the answer sheet and the survey. I will be glad to send you a summary report when it is ready.

Please return the completed answer sheet and the survey to me in the enclosed envelope as soon as possible. Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

Paul J. Chebator
Appendix B - Cover Letter to PULSE Program Participants

November, 1993

Dear Student,



I am asking for your assistance. I am currently conducting a study of Boston College students who participated in programs such as the PULSE program during their freshman year. The purpose of this research is to help determine the impact that being involved in an activity such as PULSE has on students. Could you please take a few minutes to complete the enclosed survey and return it to me as soon as possible. Students who have completed it report that it only takes about ten minutes.

It will only take a short time to complete the survey Please use a pencil in marking your answers on the enclosed answer sheet (two of the questions ask you to write the answers on the questionnaire itself); it is not necessary to put your name or any other identifying data on the answer sheet. Once you complete the survey, please place the answer sheet and the questionnaire in the enclosed pre-addressed envelope and either drop the envelope in campus mail or drop it off at ODSD in McElroy 141 or 233.

Of course, all of your responses to the questions will remain strictly confidential and will be used only for the purposes of this research. If you are interested in receiving a report on the findings of this research, just enclose a brief note with your name and address in the envelope along with the answer sheet and the survey. I will be glad to send you a summary report when it is ready.

Please return the completed answer sheet and the survey to me in the enclosed envelope as soon as possible. Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

Paul J. Chebator
Appendix C - Cover Letter to Student-Athletes

November, 1993

Dear Student-Athlete,



I am asking for your assistance. I am currently conducting a study of Boston College students who participated in intercollegiate athletics during their freshman year. The purpose of this research is to help determine the impact that being involved in an activity such as the athletics has on students. Could you please take a few minutes to complete the enclosed survey and return it to me as soon as possible. Students who have completed it report that it only takes about ten minutes.

It will only take a short time to complete the survey Please use a pencil in marking your answers on the enclosed answer sheet (two of the questions ask you to write the answers on the questionnaire itself); it is not necessary to put your name or any other identifying data on the answer sheet. Once you complete the survey, please place the answer sheet and the questionnaire in the enclosed pre-addressed envelope and either drop the envelope in campus mail or drop it off at ODSD in McElroy 141 or 233.

Of course, all of your responses to the questions will remain strictly confidential and will be used only for the purposes of this research. If you are interested in receiving a report on the findings of this research, just enclose a brief note with your name and address in the envelope along with the answer sheet and the survey. I will be glad to send you a summary report when it is ready.

Please return the completed answer sheet and the survey to me in the enclosed envelope as soon as possible. Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

Paul J. Chebator
Appendix D - Cover Letter to Comparison Group

November, 1993

Dear Student,


I am asking for your assistance. I am currently conducting a study of Boston College students who were freshmen during the 1992-1993 academic year. The purpose of this research is to help assess the experience of being a first year student at B. C.

As part of the research, I am asking a randomly selected group of members of the class of 1996 to complete the enclosed questionnaire. Could you please take a few minutes to complete the enclosed survey and return it to me as soon as possible. Students who have completed it report that it only takes about ten minutes.

Please use a pencil in marking your answers on the enclosed answer sheet (two of the questions ask you to write the answers on the questionnaire itself); it is not necessary to put your name or any other identifying data on the answer sheet. Once you complete the survey, please seal the answer sheet and the questionnaire in the enclosed envelope and return it to your RA as soon as possible. Of course, all of your responses to the questions will remain strictly confidential and will be used only for the purposes of this research.

If you are interested in receiving a report on the findings of this research, just enclose a brief note, with your name and address, in the envelope along with the answer sheet and the survey. I will be glad to send you a summary report when it is ready.

Please return the completed answer sheet and the survey in the enclosed envelope to your RA at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

Paul J. Chebator