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Expectations: What college instructors expect of their students behaviorally, emotionally and intellectually

Dissertation
Author: Kristine J. Ginley
Abstract:
Little has been written about instructor expectations, and few survey instruments have been designed to measure the specific behaviors and characteristics instructors expect of college students and how well the majority of their students meet those expectations. A focus group was convened to discuss the behavioral, emotional, and intellectual expectations college instructors have of their students. The group was composed of six part-time and full-time instructors from universities, private not-for-profit colleges, private for-profit colleges and community colleges. Five questions, with follow-ups, were asked. The instructors discussed emotional characteristics, such as acceptance of responsibility for their education and seeking assistance when needed; behavioral elements, such as attending class regularly and being active listeners; and academic expectations, such as analytical reading skills and accomplished writing skills. Identifying and understanding these expectations is critical to bridging the gap between expectation and reality in today s college classrooms. From the instructors responses, an original survey instrument was created. The survey was reviewed by the focus group participants and an expert in educational measurement to determine content and face validity. For construct validity and reliability, the survey was pilot tested via the Internet with a link to the survey sent to 250 college instructors who represented various content areas and levels of instruction. Findings indicate that college instructors have specific expectations of their students, and there are sometimes sizable gaps between the instructors expectations and their perceptions of how well their students meet those expectations. In particular, the gaps in the section on intellectual expectations are higher than those in the other two sections. Therefore, it is recommended that more attention to be directed toward helping high school students develop or improve the specific skills necessary for academic success in college. Although the gaps are smaller in the behavioral section of the survey, additional research into behavioral expectations may be warranted because of their overlap into the areas of intellectual expectations and emotional maturity. Finally, the academic community should directly address the concerns and expectations of college instructors. There is interest in the topic and willingness to discuss it.

v Table of Contents

Acknowledgements............................................................................................................iv List of Tables...................................................................................................................viii CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................1 Introduction to the Problem................................................................................................1 Background of the Study....................................................................................................2 Theoretical Framework.......................................................................................................3 Statement of the Problem....................................................................................................8 Purpose of the Study...........................................................................................................9 Rationale.............................................................................................................................9 Research Questions...........................................................................................................11 Significance of the Study..................................................................................................11 Assumptions and Limitations...........................................................................................13 Nature of the Study...........................................................................................................14 CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW.....................................................................................16 Behavioral Expectations...................................................................................................18 Example: Classroom Civility............................................................................................21 Intellectual Expectations...................................................................................................22 Example: Writing Skills....................................................................................................23 Emotional Expectations....................................................................................................24 Example: Academic Honesty............................................................................................26 Summary of Literature Review.........................................................................................27

vi CHAPTER 3. METHODOLOGY...............................................................................................28 Participants........................................................................................................................28 Data Collection and Analysis............................................................................................32 Survey Instrument.............................................................................................................33 Anticipated Ethical Issues.................................................................................................36 Timeline and Budget.........................................................................................................37 Summary of Methodology................................................................................................37 CHAPTER 4. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS...........................................................38 Phase One..........................................................................................................................39 Description of Responses..................................................................................................41 Establishing Content and Face Validity............................................................................47 Phase Two.........................................................................................................................49 Establishing Construct Validity and Reliability...............................................................51 Behavioral Subscales........................................................................................................51 Emotional Subscales.........................................................................................................52 Intellectual Subscales........................................................................................................53 Phase Three.......................................................................................................................55 Summary of Data Collection and Analysis.......................................................................63 CHAPTER 5. RESULTS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS............................65 Results...............................................................................................................................65 Emotional Maturity, Behaviors, Intellectual Characteristics and Types of Knowledge...66 Importance of Expectations vs. How Well Students Perform..........................................68 Instructor Comments.........................................................................................................70 Conclusions.......................................................................................................................73

vii Recommendations.............................................................................................................75 REFERENCES.............................................................................................................................78 APPENDIX A. FULL SURVEY..................................................................................................82 APPENDIX B. PAIRED SAMPLES CORRELATIONS - FULL SURVEY..............................90

List of Tables

Table 1 Pedagogy vs. Andragogy...................................................................................................4 Table 2 Post Secondary Faculty in Illinois...................................................................................29 Table 3 Part-Time and Full-Time Instructors in Illinois...............................................................30 Table 4 Sampling Calculation.......................................................................................................31 Table 5 Summary of Alpha Scores - All Scales...........................................................................54 Table 6 Summary of Alpha Scores - All Subscales......................................................................55 Table 7 Subscale Averages by Type of School............................................................................58 Table 8 Full-Study/Form B Comparison – All Subscales............................................................61 Table 9 Demographic Data from Full Survey and Form B..........................................................63 Table 10 Survey Responders Demographic Data.........................................................................66 Table 11 Subscale Averages and Gaps.........................................................................................68

viii

CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION

Introduction to the Problem Leslie was a 19-year-old college student majoring in graphic design. Her instructor, an experienced teacher and successful professional graphic designer, returned Leslie’s first project with a grade of “C.” The instructor noted many positive aspects of Leslie’s work and made several suggestions for improvement. Leslie saw the grade and immediately tore up the project, threw it in the garbage can, and walked out of the class. Jonathan was a 22-year-old college student who enrolled in a gender communications course. The instructor, a young woman from Alabama, introduced a unit on sexist language. Each time the instructor asked whether a word or phrase could be considered sexist, Jonathan pounded on the table and shouted, “No!” When the instructor asked him to control his outbursts, Jonathan left his seat, walked up to the instructor, looked down at her and whispered “You can’t talk to me like that!” before finally leaving the room. Michelle was a recent high school graduate. Her college placement scores indicated that she should be placed in developmental reading and writing classes, and her high school transcripts showed that she attended special education classes throughout her primary and secondary school years. At least one of her instructors contacted a dean to express concern about Michelle’s poor writing skills. 1

Scenes like the ones described above occur regularly at colleges throughout the United States. A college instructor is placed in a situation where her expectations of a student’s behavior, intellectual ability or emotional maturity may be challenged. While a great deal of research has been done into students’ expectations of the college experience, little has been written about college instructors’ intellectual, emotional and behavioral expectations of their students. Everyone has expectations. Colleges make their expectations known through the use of student handbooks and correspondence with faculty. Instructors make their basic expectations known through the use of syllabi, and students express their expectations through evaluation instruments like the College Student Expectations Questionnaire (CSXQ) and National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). Even instructors may complete surveys like the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE). However, what are the behavioral, intellectual and emotional characteristics the instructor expects to see in her students on the first day of a term?

Background of the Study Dr. Mark Taylor (2005) wrote that there are characteristics which identify the modern college students whom he labels as “generation neXt.” Some of these characteristics include consumer and entertainment orientations, a sense of entitlement, the need for instant gratification, and tendencies toward incivility and intellectual disengagement. These characteristics form the foundation for students’ expectations of their instructors and their college experience. Generation neXt students “Expect everything, including education, to be entertaining, easy, and fun” (Taylor, 2005, 86). If their perception of the education they are 2

receiving does not meet their expectations, Generation neXt students let it be known through their words and actions inside and outside of the classroom. On the other hand, instructors are expected to learn every student’s name, make eye contact, provide progress reports, offer more collaborative learning opportunities, make learning “fun” and participate in or plan numerous other tasks that most instructors take for granted. Central Michigan University expects its faculty to understand the goals and objectives of the program/class, construct a syllabus, design delivery to address various learning styles, assess student learning, engage in professional development, and so on (Central Michigan University's College of Extended Learning, 2001, p. 3). The South Dakota Board of Regents expects, among other things, that faculty will be competent instructors and evaluators, offer challenging courses, and meet with students outside of scheduled class times (South Dakota Board of Regents, n.d., p. 3.). In the end, instructors are required to meet the sometimes conflicting expectations of the students, some of whom want their education to be fun, and the school’s administration, which is concerned about retention.

Theoretical Framework In its most basic form, the andragogical approach to teaching and learning is learner centered. In contrast, the pedagogical approach is teacher centered. When Malcolm Knowles (1970) identified the characteristics that adult learners share, it was in the context of providing a basis for developing an adult learning model. As a result, the term andragogy made a reappearance onto the adult education stage. The andragogical model addressed the needs of the adult learner as a learner. It considered the learner’s life experience and readiness to learn, and it 3

focused on the learner’s orientation to learning. Later, the learner’s motivation to learn was added as a characteristic of adult learners. The following table, used with permission from the Florida site for Adult Education Technology and Distance Learning, lists the characteristics of learners and contrasts pedagogical and andragogical approaches to teaching and learning:

Table 1

Pedagogy vs. Andragogy

Pedagogical Andragogical

The Learner 1. The learner is dependent upon the instructor for all learning. 2. The teacher/instructor assumes full responsibility for what is taught and how it is learned. The teacher/instructor evaluates learning. 1. The learner is self- directed. 2. The learner is responsible for his/her own learning. 3. Self-evaluation is characteristic of this approach. 4

Table 1 (continued) Pedagogy vs. Andragogy

Pedagogical Andragogical Role of the Learner’s Experience 1. The learner comes to the activity with little experience that could be tapped as a resource for learning. 2. The experience of the instructor is most influential. 1. The learner brings a greater volume and quality of experience.

2. Adults are a rich resource for one another. 3. Different experiences assure diversity in groups of adults. 4. Experience becomes the source of self-identity. 5

Table 1 (continued) Pedagogy vs. Andragogy

Pedagogical Andragogical Readiness to Learn 1. Students are told what they have to learn in order to advance to the next level of mastery. 1. Any change is likely to trigger a readiness to learn. 2. The need to know in order to perform more effectively in some aspect of one’s life is important. 3. Ability to assess gaps between where one is now and where one wants and needs to be. 6

Table 1 (continued) Pedagogy vs. Andragogy

Pedagogical Andragogical Orientation to Learning 1. Learning is a process of acquiring prescribed subject matter. 2. Content units are sequenced according to the logic of the subject matter. 1. Learners want to perform a task, solve a problem, live in a more satisfying way. 2. Learning must have relevance to real-life tasks. 3. Learning is organized around life/work situations rather than subject matter units. Motivation for Learning 1. Primarily motivated by external pressures, competition for grades, and the consequences of failure. 1. Internal motivators: self- esteem, recognition, better quality of life, self- confidence, self- actualization. Note. Copyright 2006 by The Florida Site for Adult Education Technology & Distance Learning. Used with permission. 7

When the models are placed side by side as in the figure above, the differences are clear. There are emotional, behavioral and intellectual elements in each model. For example, the characteristics related to motivation for learning and the learner herself could be considered elements related to emotional development or maturity. Instructors at the secondary and post- secondary levels may use teaching methodologies that combine pedagogical and andragogical approaches; however, students who attend high school are not typically thought to be adult learners, unlike their counterparts who attend college. This could pose a problem if pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning at the secondary level do not adequately prepare students to meet the expectations of college instructors who use andragogical approaches in their classrooms.

Statement of the Problem At this time, not enough is known about the behavioral, intellectual and emotional expectations of college instructors and whether college students meet those expectations. While existing survey tools, such as the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE), measure a few basic instructor expectations, such as co-op experience, community service experience, participation in a learning community, independent study, foreign study and knowledge of a foreign language, there is a need to develop a more comprehensive survey instrument that can be used to gather data on expectations and perceptions.

8

Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study is to understand the behavioral, emotional and intellectual expectations college instructors have of their students and to determine, based on instructors’ perceptions, whether their students actually meet those expectations. Behavioral expectations are divided into three categories: in-class behaviors, study skills, and personal behaviors. Emotional expectations are those linked with emotional maturity. They are divided into three categories: adult learning characteristics, responsibility, and interpersonal skills. Intellectual expectations deal with academic preparedness for college in areas such as humanities, social sciences, mathematics, and science as well as critical thinking skills. Instructors will be asked to indicate the degree to which they expect their students to display the behavior, characteristic or level of knowledge and how well they believe their students meet their expectations.

Rationale “More than ever, college instructors have reason to believe that their students are out of touch with what their grades really symbolize, why they are even in college, and what responsibilities they have as students” (Hassel & Lourey, 2005, p. 2). Their project surveyed over 1100 students to assess attitudes on learning and accountability. They found that issues such as absenteeism and grade inflation contribute to a lack of student accountability. However, Hassel and Lourey looked at the problem from the perspective of what the instructors must do help students learn to be accountable while improving the quality of education. The instruments they used to measure attitudes were given to students to complete. At no point during their project did Hassel and Lourey measure instructor expectations. 9

The National Institutional Priorities Study conducted by Noel-Levitz is used to “determine the perceptions of faculty, administration and staff regarding the areas of highest importance, the areas of greatest and least agreement on meeting student expectations, and the greatest performance gaps between levels of importance and levels of agreement” (2003, p. 1). This study uses the Institutional Priorities Survey™ and the Student Satisfaction Inventory™, neither of which measure instructor expectations. In their article “Dealing with Disruptive and Emotional College Students: A Systems Model”, Hernandez and Fister (2001) made the following observation: Disruptive, disrespectful, and disorderly students have begun to stymie many faculty members and administrators in community colleges, colleges, and universities. It is often expected that by the time students reach college they will know how to behave in a classroom (p. 49).

In this article, there is a recognition that instructors have certain expectations; however, the authors do not address specific expectations. Rather, the majority of the article focuses on how to handle behavioral problems in college classrooms and on college campuses. There is reason to believe that instructors’ expectations of their students’ behavioral, intellectual, and emotional characteristics are taken for granted. Like the statement above that generalizes expectations of acceptable behavior, the same could be said for college students’ level of emotional maturity and intellectual achievement. However, such generalizations do not pinpoint specific characteristics that instructors expect to see in their students or gauge students’ success at meeting their instructors’ expectations. This study, therefore, hopes to fill that void.

10

Research Questions What characteristics of emotional maturity do college instructors expect their students to demonstrate? What behaviors do college instructors expect their students to demonstrate? What intellectual characteristics do college instructors expect their students to demonstrate or display? What types of knowledge do college instructors expect their students to bring into the classrooms? How does the importance instructors place on their expectations compare with how well they believe their students meet those expectations? Does the importance instructors at different types of colleges place on their expectations differ?

Significance of the Study This study is significant because it may create new knowledge. There are instruments available that measure broad faculty expectations. For example, there is the Institutional Performance Survey (IPS), which deals with institutional effectiveness, leadership styles, decision styles, institutional culture and institutional environment; the Institutional Priorities Survey™ (IPS), which can cover items like campus safety, academic advising, and school culture; and the Higher Education Research Institute Survey (HERI), which measures demographics, activities and priorities for faculty. In the 2004-2005 version of the HERI, question #20 dealt specifically with the importance of 16 education goals; however, only the two 11

items about writing skills and critical thinking are comparable to items that appear in the survey created for this study. In the 2006 promotional version of the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE), question #18 asks faculty to judge the importance of nine items, including tutoring students, and question #22 asks faculty to estimate the extent to which they design their courses to help students learn and develop such things as writing skill, speaking skill and working in teams. The majority of the remaining non-demographic questions deal with how often or how much students do certain things. These skills appear in this study; however, they do so as instructor expectations rather than as instructor actions. Therefore, the existing studies offer a broader view of instructor expectations than the current study. When reality does not match expectations, there is conflict. A great deal of time and money have been spent on developing instruments that measure student expectations and on identifying what college administrators, staff and faculty members need to do to meet those expectations. However, in 1999 Vincent Tinto of Syracuse University wrote: We know that more than 47 percent of all students in America who start at a four-year college still fail to earn a degree at that college; and nearly 56 percent of all dropouts from four-year institutions leave before the start of their second year. (p. 1) It seems clear that the research into student expectations and how to meet those expectations has not resulted in a high degree of success. Colleges are still looking for ways to improve retention in the face of all the information. Perhaps it is time to shift the study away from student expectations and begin focusing on instructor expectations. Doing so could redirect more of the responsibility for student retention onto the shoulders of the students and those who prepare them for college. 12

The conflict between expectation and reality surfaces far too often in college classrooms. It is possible that there has been a communication disconnect between K-12 teachers and curriculum developers, state governments which set graduation requirements, students, parents, college boards that set admissions requirements and college instructors. For example, in an ACT news release dated April 8, 2003, some of that disconnect became apparent. The group of writing skills that college instructors believe are most important for entering college students to have—grammar and usage skills—are considered to be least important by high school teachers, according to recent results from ACT's National Curriculum Survey of high school teachers and college faculty who teach entry-level courses. (ACT, 2003, 1) If such a chasm exists between college instructors and high school teachers in the area of grammar and usage skills, might not the same be true in other areas, both within and outside of the intellectual realm? In the March 10, 2006, issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Alvin P. Sanoff wrote the following in an article in the School and College section: Asked about students' overall preparation for college, 84 percent of faculty members— compared with 65 percent of teachers— say that high-school graduates are either unprepared or are only somewhat well prepared to pursue a college degree. Almost one- fourth of faculty members say flatly that students are not prepared. Just 12 percent of teachers agree with that assessment. (Sanoff, 2006, 5)

Assumptions and Limitations Using relevant literature and current research as a guide, this study was conducted in light of the following assumptions: First, this study assumed that college instructors have certain expectations about the levels of their students’ prior learning and that the instructors can express those expectations. Another assumption was that college instructors would be able to identify or communicate characteristics of emotional maturity that reflect their expectations of their 13

students. It was also assumed that college instructors could articulate or identify specific behaviors they expect from their students. Finally, it was assumed that the college instructors who were surveyed would respond to the questions or statements honestly. There were two significant limitations in this study. The primary limitation was in receiving an adequate rate of response. The survey was available to instructors across the state of Illinois via Internet. The timing of the invitation to participate and availability of the survey impacted the return rate. The second limitation related to the data analysis. There was a section of the survey that asked for instructors’ opinions about the topic of instructor expectations. This section provided only anecdotal information, which was harder to measure than the quantitative data. Nature of the Study This study looked at three elements of human development, placed them in the context of a college environment, and asked an education professional to define his/her expectations. The three elements of human development upon which this study was based were the intellectual, emotional and behavioral. This study did not attempt to redefine any of these elements, nor did it attempt to relate other aspects of human development, such as chronological age or physical maturity, to them. The study used commonly accepted definitions of intellectual preparedness, the prerequisite knowledge needed to meet the requirements of a college course; emotional maturity, the ability to control one’s emotions in a variety of stressful and non-stressful situations; and behavioral maturity, the ability to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors and engage in appropriate behaviors; however, the study approached each as an individual factor for analysis as it related to instructors’ expectations. 14

The education professionals whose expectations were measured came from a variety of post-secondary environments. Instructors at state universities and private colleges and universities in Illinois, including both 2-year and 4-year institutions, were surveyed. Both full- time and adjunct instructors were included in the study, and instructors from a variety of subject areas were represented. 15

CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW In a classic problem-solving situation, the problem must first be defined and then described, after which the problem solver will determine the criteria the solution must meet. Throughout the literature about instructor expectations, a dance develops between instructors’ implied expectations (partial criteria), their students and what instructors must do to bridge the gap between reality and expectation in order to provide a conducive learning environment (the problem). As a result of this re-ordering of the problem-solving process, instructor expectations as criteria for a successful solution are often overlooked. This provides the guiding theme to the literature review. Instructor expectations are referred to in literature, such as in the Hassel and Lourey (2005) project, the Noel Levitz National Institutional Priorities Survey™, the ACT (2003) news release about instructor expectations about writing skills, and Sanoff’s (2006) article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about college preparedness. What is interesting about the information contained in these sources, though, is that it is either very general – using words like decorum, civility and preparedness – or it is one-topic, as in the studies about writing skills or math proficiency. This study, however, hoped to identify very specific behaviors and knowledge that instructors felt were important for students to possess. Before delving into the literature about expectations, it is important to address two other issues that relate to expectations. The first issue is that of expectations vs. reality, which could be 16

thought of in terms of conflict leading to negative outcomes. Hassel and Lourey (2005) suggest that instructors: tell students what we want from them and what we intend to give them in return. Assumptions are dangerous in higher education. Although study after study indicates that students value good grades in college over actual learning, instructors assume that their students want to learn and know that their grades reflect their performance. (p. 6) They went on to point out some of the expectations students may have of their instructors that the instructors may not recognize or condone. There is a distinct and growing group of students who follow the extra credit model of education. If they do not do the work, do the work on time, or do the work to the required level, they believe there will always be an extension or an assignment to get their grade back where they think it should be. In our study, 5 percent of students thought that an F signifies that they need extra credit, not that they were failing. Additionally, 62 percent think it is an instructor’s responsibility to offer extra credit, and 52 percent expect instructors to be flexible in grading. (p. 7) Although not explicitly defined as such, the attitudes cited above are reminiscent of some of the attitudes expressed by the students who belong to what Mark Taylor (2005) called “Generation NeXt.” They exemplify self-interest and lack of intellectual rigor. The second issue that relates to instructor expectations is student success. In none of the literature studied was there an explicit statement that if students did exactly what was spelled out in a syllabus or checklist to meet an instructor’s expectations they would achieve success. Perhaps this is because success has a different meaning for each person. It could also be because student success can be measured in various ways. On the other hand, the implication is clear that if a student does meet an instructor’s expectations, s/he is more likely to be academically successful than if s/he does not meet an instructor’s expectations. In consideration of these two issues, there are elements addressing student success and the potential conflict between expectations and reality within each of the expectations sections. 17

This literature review is divided into three sections. Each section concludes with an example of the literature related to one specific expectation. This format was chosen to demonstrate the availability of information about individual elements that may or may not frame an instructor’s expectations of her students while underlining the lack of literature on the topic of instructor expectations as a whole.

Behavioral Expectations This review of the literature begins by focusing on the topic of how college instructors expect their students to behave in the classroom. Many consider higher education one of the last domains of decorum — an environment for discovery and civility — an ivory tower where sage professors engage eager learners in academic debate, social discourse, and enlightened discussion. But, as in the larger society, incivility on American college campuses is a serious and growing concern. (Kolanko et al, 2006, 45) Numerous articles detail the types of unacceptable behaviors that occur in college classrooms (Baldwin, 1999; Hassel & Lourey, 2005; Hernandez & Fister, 2001; Morrissette, 2001; Taylor, 2005). A few of the articles discuss the fact that faculty and/or college administrators have expectations of student behavior (Baldwin, 1999; Hernandez & Fister, 2001; Kolanko et al, 2006). However, none of the literature that was examined detailed instructors’ specific behavioral expectations. Instead, the topic of instructor expectations was handled in generalities. The Collegiate Development Network, Inc., wrote that “Too often faculty falsely assume that students are aware of basic behavioral expectations in the classroom. However, faculty can no longer assume that students understand the classroom protocols of common courtesy and respect” (p. 6). Hernandez and Fister (2001) echoed that theme by writing “He [Amada] argued 18

that many instructors make the assumption that students are aware of rules of classroom comportment, when in reality there is a discrepancy between what students and faculty see as acceptable behavior” (Hernandez and Fister, 2001, 46). They went on to write that many college students treat their college instructors as peers because they have matured in isolation. “This is in direct conflict with the drastically different expectations of faculty and staff who assume respect and deference”. Finally, Hernandez and Fister wrote “Individual institutions have different needs, values, and desired outcomes for the behavior of their students. It is therefore impossible to argue for a specific set of policies that can be universally applied with any degree of success”. The literature supports the notion that instructors have expectations about how college students should behave, and much of the literature relates those behaviors to student success in the forms of learning outcomes and engagement. “FSSE findings point to important connections between faculty expectations, pedagogical approaches, and student engagement” (National Survey of Student Engagement, 2005, p. 32). In the demonstration version of the 2005 FSSE, there were approximately 13 questions related to students’ academic behaviors. For example, faculty were asked to judge the percentage of their students who participated in in-class and outside-of-class discussions with students from other races or ethnic traditions. Faculty were also asked how often students came to class without having read or completed assignments and how often students participated in discussions (Faculty Survey of Student Engagement 2005). The FSSE survey asks each faculty member how much time students are expected to spend preparing for a selected course and how much time students actually spent preparing for the course. . . . As in previous years, faculty members expect students to study about twice as much as students actually reported. In addition, faculty members in the Physical Sciences, Engineering, and Biological/Life Sciences reported more per class study time than other subject areas (FSSE Overview, 2005, p. 5). 19

Full document contains 117 pages
Abstract: Little has been written about instructor expectations, and few survey instruments have been designed to measure the specific behaviors and characteristics instructors expect of college students and how well the majority of their students meet those expectations. A focus group was convened to discuss the behavioral, emotional, and intellectual expectations college instructors have of their students. The group was composed of six part-time and full-time instructors from universities, private not-for-profit colleges, private for-profit colleges and community colleges. Five questions, with follow-ups, were asked. The instructors discussed emotional characteristics, such as acceptance of responsibility for their education and seeking assistance when needed; behavioral elements, such as attending class regularly and being active listeners; and academic expectations, such as analytical reading skills and accomplished writing skills. Identifying and understanding these expectations is critical to bridging the gap between expectation and reality in today s college classrooms. From the instructors responses, an original survey instrument was created. The survey was reviewed by the focus group participants and an expert in educational measurement to determine content and face validity. For construct validity and reliability, the survey was pilot tested via the Internet with a link to the survey sent to 250 college instructors who represented various content areas and levels of instruction. Findings indicate that college instructors have specific expectations of their students, and there are sometimes sizable gaps between the instructors expectations and their perceptions of how well their students meet those expectations. In particular, the gaps in the section on intellectual expectations are higher than those in the other two sections. Therefore, it is recommended that more attention to be directed toward helping high school students develop or improve the specific skills necessary for academic success in college. Although the gaps are smaller in the behavioral section of the survey, additional research into behavioral expectations may be warranted because of their overlap into the areas of intellectual expectations and emotional maturity. Finally, the academic community should directly address the concerns and expectations of college instructors. There is interest in the topic and willingness to discuss it.