How to Read the CIRP Theme Reports

Theme Description – Provides a brief definition of the topics covered by the theme.

Summarized Frequencies –
Full results for all items are provided in the Institutional Profile Report.

Mean – The arithmetic mean is computed for each survey item based on the response options. Response options are given numeric values and are listed in descending order (i.e., 5=Much Stronger, 4=Stronger, 3=No Change, 2=Weaker, 1=Much Weaker).
CIRP Surveys are comprehensive, covering a wide range of topics that research has shown are impacted by the college experience. Theme reports combine relevant items together for easy access. By examining these items together, these reports illustrate what contributes to specific areas of interest on campus and to facilitate discussion on your campus. Although the survey items were included because they relate to the theme, the item(s) may not be the most important to your institution, its mission, programs, or goals. We encourage you to review your entire Institutional Profile for additional results of specific interest on your campus. Theme reports are generated for graduating seniors, defined as those respondents who indicated that they will have earned a bachelor's degree as of June 2017.

Comp 1 – The first comparison group is based on your institution's type and control.

Comp 2 – The second comparison group is based on a similar grouping of institution type and control.

Standard Deviation
– Measures the variability around the mean. A small standard deviation indicates that the responses to the item tend to be very close to the mean, whereas a large standard deviation indicates that the responses are spread over a larger range of response options.
Academic Outcomes illustrates changes to academic skills and abilities during college and how students’ academic skills compare to their peers.
See also - CIRP Construct: Academic Disengagement, Faculty Interaction: Mentorship, Civic Awareness, Academic Self-Confidence; CIRP Theme: Active and Collaborative Learning, Academic Enhancement Experiences, Written and Oral Communication.
  Total Men Women  
  Sample University Your Inst Comp 1 Comp 2 Your Inst Comp 1 Comp 2 Your Inst Comp 1 Comp 2  
  Ability to think critically
   Much Stronger / Stronger
67.9% 62.3% 72.0% 69.3% 67.2% 76.4% 67.1% 60.0% 69.5%  
  Mean 3.82 3.76 3.92 3.87 3.83 4.03 3.79 3.72 3.86  
  Standard Deviation 0.68 0.73 0.75 0.71 0.75 0.77 0.66 0.72
- ** *** -   *** - ** **  
  Effect Size - 0.08 -0.13 -
-0.21 - 0.10 -0.10  
  Note: Significance * p<.05, ** p<.01, *** p<.001  

Statistical Significance – Uses the t-test to examine the difference between the mean score for your institution and the comparison group. Items with mean differences that are larger than would be expected by chance are noted with one, two, or three stars, which correspond to the three standard levels of significance (*p< .05, **p< .01, and ***p< .001). Statistical significance measures the extent to which a difference is occurring by chance, not the extent to which a difference is important. Large sample sizes (like those in the comparison groups) tend to generate statistical significance even though the magnitude of the difference may be small and not practically significant. In order to provide additional context to statistical significance, effect sizes are provided.

Effect Size – Determines the practical significance of the mean difference between your institution and the comparison group. It is calculated by dividing the mean difference by the standard deviation of the comparison group. Generally, an effect size of .2 is considered small, .5 medium, and .8 large. A positive sign indicates that your institution’s mean is greater than the mean of the comparison group; a negative sign indicates your mean is smaller than the mean of the comparison group. Note that a negative effect size is sometimes preferred (e.g., a negative effect size on "Since entering college, how often have you felt unsafe on this campus” suggests fewer students at your institution reported this was the case).