Global Learning Survey Results 2014-2015

The purpose of this survey was to gauge the general changes in student beliefs and attitudes related to the goals of Appalachian’s Quality Enhancement Plan. First-year freshmen and graduating seniors were surveyed during the 2014-15 academic year. Freshmen were invited to participate via email prior to and after their orientation experience. Of the 3037 freshmen invited to participate 1327 (44%) completed the online questionnaire. Questions for seniors were imbedded in the Graduating Senior Survey (GSS) which all seniors graduating in the spring are invited to complete. Of the 2928 seniors invited to participate 2001 (68%) completed the survey. Because of the length of the GSS the QEP Survey was divided into 3 sections. Each senior was randomly assigned one of the three sections to complete

The survey was adapted from one used in a project sponsored by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) titled Liberal Education and Global Citizenship: The Art of Democracy. In that project it was used by participating higher educational institutions to measure the effect of globally-focused courses on students at their campuses. The composition of the subscales and their descriptions were taken from an unpublished report by Heather Wathington, the project evaluator, provided by staff at AAC&U.

The QEP Survey subscales were submitted to factor analysis to determine if the instrument could be simplified into a smaller number of scales that might more clearly measure the goals of the QEP. Table 1 shows how the subscales grouped together into three scales: Competence, Citizenship, and Action.


Table 1. QEP Survey Scales and their Subscales

Competence Citizenship Action
Attitudinal Complexity Social Awareness Active Political Awareness
Pluralistic Orientation Valuing Social Action Speaking Up and Acting Out
Social Self-confidence Self-efficacy for Social Change Civic Engagement
Multicultural Competency Awareness Concern for Public Good  
Interest in Current and Global Issues Openness to Engagement  

The Competence scale reflects students’ degree of attainment of the second of three goals of the QEP, “Cultivate intercultural competence.” The Citizenship scale resonates with the third goal of the QEP “Foster globally competent citizenship.” Though the Action scale does not coincide with any of the three QEP goals it indicates the likelihood of students’ acting on their beliefs and attitudes. A comparison of the mean scale scores of new students and graduating seniors is shown in Table 2.


Table 2. A Comparison of Fall 2014 First-year Students and 2015 Graduating Seniors on QEP Scales

Class   Citizenship* Competency Action*
First-year Student

Std. Deviation



Graduating Senior Mean
Std. Deviation
Total Mean
Std. Deviation
Effect Size   0.13 -0.10 0.17

* Groups are significantly different (p <= .01)

Due to the large number of respondents in each group the mean scale scores for Citizenship and Action were statistically significant between the first-year students and graduating seniors. It should be noted however that the small effect sizes for the scales indicate that the differences between the groups are not really meaningful.