The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Higher Education Administration: Ed.D.


Educational Administration and Higher Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Michael Mills

Second Advisor

Frances Kayona

Third Advisor

Steven McCullar

Fourth Advisor

Krista Soria

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Student Performance on Learning Outcomes


In response to increased attention within higher education to develop essential learning outcomes, faculty and administrators have worked to measure students’ performance in relation to these outcomes. Students’ learning is often measured through standardized tests or students’ perception of their learning, rather than authentic learning that is connected to the curriculum. This study incorporated results from one institution’s involvement in the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) project to assess learning outcomes using the Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) rubrics. The learning outcomes assessed included critical thinking, quantitative literacy, and written communication. The purpose of this quantitative study was to identify relationships between students’ demographic background characteristics, collegiate experiences, and performance on three learning outcomes. The independent variables included race/ethnicity, age, gender, socioeconomic status, program of study, credit hours and degree level. Astin’s I-E-O model was used as a framework for my study to determine whether students grow or change differently based on the characteristics students bring to college and what they experience in college, and compared these variables with their performances on outcomes after exposure to the environment. The institution was a Midwestern 2-year public community college. Data collected were analyzed using multiple linear regressions to determine which independent variables had statistically significant relationships with higher scores on the three learning outcomes. The findings suggested that health majors and students increase in age scored higher in critical thinking, African American students and business and math majors scored higher in quantitative literacy, and females and Asian students scored lower in critical thinking.


This has been an amazing journey to becoming a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration. Thank you to my advisor Dr. Michael Mills for your constructive feedback, and to my committee members Dr. Frances Kayona and Dr. Steven McCullar. I want to especially thank Dr. Krista Soria for her support and advice in analyzing the data. I would like to thank all of the instructors listed above as well as many others in this program for their passion, insight, and for taking the time to develop me as a future administrator in higher education. Thank you to my parents, Pearl and Duane, for modeling hard work and for being so proud of me as I strived to complete my doctoral program. I appreciated the bed and breakfast you provided each weekend of my classes. Mom, I wish you were here to attend my graduation. I miss you, and even though you are no longer physically here, your presence will be felt.

Thank you to my children Alexis and Taylor, Clarke and Shelby, Jericho, and Abigail for your support, love, prayers, and encouragement. I know this has taken so much of my time away from you and I am incredibly thankful that God has blessed me with each one of you. Thank you to my sisters, Carolyn and Pam, for the many phone calls that kept me going during my long drives to and from school as I attended classes. Thank you also for listening to me through the highs and lows, and encouraging me to keep going. Thank you to Cohort 8, for stretching me in many ways and opening my mind to many new thoughts and ideas. Thank you to collaborative Cohort 7, for welcoming me into your classes and writing sessions. Thank you especially to my husband, Ken. I could not have completed this program or this dissertation without your support and encouragement. You believed in me even when I did not. You are an amazing, faithful, and gracious life partner. I love you so much. I am thrilled to be completing this degree just in time to become grandparents together and welcoming baby boy Jones.



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