College and University Environment Scales

Purpose: Designed to assess students’ conceptions of the prevailing atmosphere of the campus.

Population: College students.

Score: Yields seven scores.

Time: (30) minutes.

Author: C. Robert Pace.

Publisher: Educational Testing Service.

Description: The purpose of the College and University Environment Scales (CUES) is to help institutions define the cultural, social, and intellectual climate of the campus. The instrument is composed of 160 items, that may be administered to individuals or groups, that are grouped into seven scales.

Scoring: The CUES yields seven scores: practicality, community, awareness, propriety, scholarship, campus morale, quality of teaching and faculty-student relationships. The CUES provides only group scores. Group scores are obtained by adding the number of items answered by 66 percent or more of the students in the keyed direction, subtracting the number of items answered by 33 percent or fewer of the students in the keyed direction, then adding 20 points to avoid the possibility of a negative score.

Reliability: The reliability of CUES scores as measures of institutional differences was determined by means of Cronbach’s coefficient alpha. These range from .89 to .94. The manual reports test-retest comparisons made from comparable samples of reporters over a one- or two-year period or comparisons of scores for different groups judged to be qualified reporters have been summarized for 25 different colleges and universities. The finding is that of different groups within a single institution 80 percent differed by 3 points or less and 90 percent differed by 4 points or less.

Validity: The manual provides an extensive set of tables showing intercorrelations between CUES scale scores, college aptitude measured by mean SSAT scores of entering freshmen, and a wide variety of other factors. Although these various relationships are reasonably congruent with expectations, reviewers have noted that this information still leaves unsettled the question of just what the college environment is and what the CUES is measuring.

Norms: Acquiring normative data required a compromise between two approaches involving a straightforward averaging of the numbers or proportions for a sample of 100 institutions categorized in terms of region, level or program, form of control (pubic or private), and type of institution (liberal arts, teachers’ college, etc.).

Suggested Uses: The CUES is recommended as a useful resource for systematically gathering data on student perceptions of the college environment and its impact on them.