ISU-developed assessment tool earns the Laurel Wreath Award

May 5, 2010

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - An assessment tool designed by two Indiana State University researchers was awarded the North American Interfraternity Conference's 2010 Laurel Wreath Award during the conference's recent annual meeting in Washington DC.

The award, recognizing programs that promote Greek membership, was also given to the four national fraternities and one national sorority who utilized the University Learning Outcomes Assessment (UniLOA) in collecting data on fraternity men and sorority women across the country.

The UniLOA is an indicator of student growth, learning and development. The assessment results can be used to support evaluation, planning and program development.

"The recognition is based on the fact that the UniLOA has already provided the fraternity and sorority communities empirically-based information regarding the degree to which their members grow, learn, and develop as a result of their active membership," said Mark Frederick, assistant to the vice president of student affairs for research and assessment. "This is the type of data the Greek community has never seen before and as such, is considered by the Conference as ‘groundbreaking.'"

The survey, developed by Frederick and Indiana State colleague Will Barratt, examines seven areas of a student's life - critical thinking, self-awareness, communication, diversity, citizenship, membership and leadership, and relationships. Unlike many instruments that survey students' attitudes, feelings or beliefs the UniLOA is designed to measure actual behaviors. The 70-item survey can be administered in paper or electronic format, which is typically completed by students in 20 minutes.

Between 2007 and 2009, 5,697 male college students, Greek and non-greek, were surveyed using the UniLOA.

Greek organizations who utilize the survey include Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, Alpha Tau Omega, Delta Sigma Phi, Phi Kappa Tau and Delta Upsilon fraternities.

"The data shows a significant spike in several key areas of development. This spike occurs when individuals first join the fraternity, and continues to build cumulatively throughout their time in college," said Frederick. "The research shows significant advantages that are specific to the fraternity experience. Some of the most dramatic areas of difference are found in leadership and community involvement."

"Fraternity men scored higher, and experienced higher net gains in growth over their academic lifespan, than the national mean of all students in each of the seven areas measured," said Barratt, associate professor of educational leadership, administration, and foundations in the Bayh College of Education.

Most Greek-letter organizations focus on leadership development and the results suggest that focus is paying off, with higher leadership scores for fraternity and sorority members, Frederick said.

Frederick and Barratt discovered another noticeable signature of involvement in Greek life can be found in the field of citizenship. Citizenship scores for fraternity and sorority members are extremely high when compared to non-member college students.

Currently, there are 22 institutions and organizations utilizing the UniLOA for student assessment.


Contacts: Mark Frederick, Office of Student Affairs Research and Assessment, Indiana State University, 812-237-3888 or mark.frederick@indstate.edu

Will Barratt, department of Educational Leadership, Administration and Foundations, Indiana State University, 812-237-2869 or will.barratt@indstate.edu

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, 812-237-3783 or paula.meyer@indstate.edu