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Date of Graduation
Master of Arts (MA)
Department of Graduate Psychology
John D. Hathcoat
Christine E. DeMars
General education is a foundational aspect of higher education. Experiences and exposure to different perspectives allow students to interact with problems in a variety of ways. Institutions market expected outcomes, skills, knowledge, and abilities students will have upon completing general education coursework. Higher educational institutions often allow students to select from various specified courses that fulfill the same outcomes. Accrediting bodies require the assessment of outcomes, including those stated for general education. Measuring the specified outcomes through direct measures to demonstrate student learning is critical for accreditation and marketing. This study investigated the claims that various courses similarly meet the specified outcomes measured through a unified measure. Test interpretations and uses are limited when the test is not assessing the same construct or provides differing chances of answering correctly to those of the same ability who enrolled in different courses. Examinees were categorized by which course was selected to fulfill the general education requirement. The study indicated multiple items present DIF for multiple groups. A further evaluation of the courses, student learning outcomes, and item content provide a strong argument for the potential causes of DIF. The main suggested cause of DIF was the relationship, or lack thereof, between the content covered within the course and the item content. In turn, this presents a concern for students’ opportunity to learn valuable skills to demonstrate and apply in the workforce.
Hunsberger, Josiah, "What’s the DIFference: Evaluating the validity claims of a general education program" (2023). Masters Theses, 2020-current. 228.
Available for download on Friday, April 11, 2025