Student perceptions of the learning environment under a quarter system

Moore, James
Major Professor
Committee Member
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue

This study is the first phase of a longitudinal research project to determine the effects of the learning environment of the change at Iowa State University from a quarter to a semester form of academic calendar. Specifically, this study examined whether student perceptions of the quarter system learning environment differed based on grade point average, classification (year in school), college affiliation, and level of involvement in student organizations. Significant differences were noted on each of these variables;Based on grade point average, four of the eight factors, three of the four couplets, and three of the eight individual items resulted in significant differences. Excellent students perceived the quarter system more favorably and indicated a stronger desire to learn, more faculty interaction and a stronger belief that the curriculum was broadening and challenging. Poor students felt more fragmentation and pressure and perceived the semester system more favorably;Classification resulted in significant differences on three factors, two couplets, and five individual items. Graduate and undergraduate students perceived the environment very differently. Seniors perceived the environment differently than freshmen. Graduate students reported a stronger desire to learn, more interaction with the faculty, and a stronger preference for the semester system. Seniors reported more interaction with the faculty and a preference for the quarter system. Freshmen perceived more advantages to the semester system;The only "college" difference was between Graduate College students when compared to all undergraduates. The results were similar to the classification results;Students involved in two or more organizations expressed greater satisfaction with their decision to attend ISU and with the ISU learning environment than uninvolved students. They also perceived a higher level of student interaction with other students, and less fragmentation in the ISU learning environment;In summary, student perceptions of the ISU learning environment were significantly affected by the variables examined in this study.