The Academic Experiences Survey (AES): Measuring Perceptions of Academic Climate in Liberal Arts Institutions

Main Article Content

Kathleen Marie Galotti
Lacey R. Clare
Courtney McManus
Andrea Nixon


The Academic Experiences Survey (AES) consists of five scales: Comfortable in College (feeling at ease, at one’s educational institution), Skills (feeling mastery of writing, critical thinking, reading, and other academic skills), Interdisciplinary Understanding (seeing connections among different disciplines), Liberal Arts Integration (understanding what and how different disciplines contribute to a liberal education), and Future Academic Plans (making course, major, sophomore housing, and first-year summer choices with an eye toward future goals). We present data on different scales’ prediction of retention in college, and enrollment in STEM courses, and longitudinal changes over the course of students’ first year in college.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Galotti, K. M., Clare, L. R., McManus, C., & Nixon, A. (2016). The Academic Experiences Survey (AES): Measuring Perceptions of Academic Climate in Liberal Arts Institutions. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 16(5), 32–48.
Author Biography

Kathleen Marie Galotti, Carleton College

W. H. Laird Professor of Cognitive Science Director of Cognitive Science


Bloxham, S., and Boyd, P. (2007). Developing effective assessment in higher education. New York, NY: Open University Press.

Cacioppo, J. T., and Petty, R. E. (1982). The need for cognition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42 (1): 116-131. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.421.116

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching 2013. Center for Postsecondary Research 2016. ble%20Skills%20Module.pdf

Clinchy, B. (2002). Revisiting “Women’s Ways of Knowing.” In B. K. Hofer and P. R. Pintrich (Eds.), Personal epistemology: The psychology of beliefs about knowledge and knowing (pp. 6387). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Colby Sawyer College (2013). Fast facts. Retrieved from

Elveton, R. O., Galotti, K. M., Komatsu, L. K., Rand, M. S., and Singer, S. R. 2000. “Origins and Mind: An Integrated Academic Experience for New Students.” Liberal Education, 86 (1): 32-40.

Galotti, K. M. 1999. “Making a “Major” Real-Life Decision: College Students Choosing an Academic Major.” Journal of Educational Psychology, 91 (2): 379-387. doi:10.1037/00220663.91.2.379

Galotti, K. M. 2007. “Decision Structuring in Important Real-Life Choices.” Psychological Science, 18 (4): 320-325. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01898.x

Galotti, K. M. and Tinkelenberg, C. E. 2009. “Real-Life Decision Making: Parents Choosing a First-Grade Placement.” American Journal of Psychology, 122 (4): 455-468.

Heywood, J. (2000). Assessment in higher education. London, ENG: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Hofer, B. K. (2001). Personal epistemology research: Implications for learning and teaching. Journal of Educational Psychology Review, 13 (4): 353-383. doi:10.1023/A:1011965830686

Hurtado, S., Griffin, K. A., Arellano, L., and Cuellar, M. (2008). Assessing the value of climate assessments: Progress and future directions. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 1 (4): 204-221. doi:10.1037/a0014009

King, P. M. and Kitchener, K. S. (2004). Reflective judgment: Theory and research on the development of rpistemic assumptions through adulthood. Educational Psychologist, 39 (1): 518. doi:10.1207/s15326985ep3901_2

King, P. M. and Kitchener, K. S. Eds. (1994). Developing reflective judgment: Understanding and promoting intellectual growth and critical thinking in adolescents and adults. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Kitchener, K. S., and King, P. M. (1981). Reflective judgment: Concepts of justification and their relationship to age and education. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 2 (2): 89-116. doi:10.1016/0193-3973(81)90032-0

Klein, S., Benjamin, R., Shavelson, R., and Bolus,R. (2007). The collegiate learning assessment: facts and fantasies. Evaluation Review, 31 (5): 415-439. doi:10.1177/0193841X07303318.

Kuh, G. D. (2001). Assessing what really matters to student learning: Inside the national survey of student engagement. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 33 (3): 10-17. doi:10.1080/00091380109601795. 1795

Lawrence, J. 2010a. Class of 2013 Profile: Highlights. Retrieved from

Lawrence, J. 2010b. Diversity. Retrieved from

Magolda, M. B., King P. M., Taylor, K. B., and Wakefield, K. M. (2012). Decreasing authority dependence during the first year of college. Journal of College Student Development, 53 (3): 418-435. doi:10.1353/csd.2012.0040

Nussbaum, M. C. (2010). Not for profit: Why democracy needs the humanities. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Palomba, C. A., and Banta, T. W. (1999). Assessment essentials: Planning, implementing, and improving assessment in higher education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Perry, W. G. (1970). Forms of intellectual and ethical development in the college years: A scheme. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.

Secolsky, C., and Denison, D. B. Eds. (2012). Handbook on measurement, assessment, and evaluation in higher education. New York, NY: Routledge.

Seifert, T. A., Goodman, K., King, P. M., and Magolda, M. B. Baxter. (2010). Using mixed methods to study first-year college impact on liberal arts learning outcomes. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 4 (3): 248-267. doi:10.1177//15586898103474960.

Suskie, L. (2009). Assessing student learning: A common sense guide (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Simons, D. J. and Galotti, K. M. 1992. “Everyday Planning: An Analysis of Time Management.” Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 30 (1): 61-64.U. S. Department of Education. (2006). A test of leadership: Charting the future of American higher education. (Report of the commission appointed by Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings). Washington, DC: Author.