The theoretical underpinnings of the CCSEQ are based in the concept of "quality of
effort," as defined by Dr. C. Robert Pace - "What students learn in college will depend
to a considerable degree on the quality of effort they invest in the college experience."
This is measured by the extent to which students are capitalizing on the opportunities
offered by the college, such as breadth and type of courses, library resources, access
to computers, skills to improve note-taking, study, test-taking and time-management,
cultural events, faculty contacts, student acquaintances, recreation, career and occupational
training and counseling. Some student activities require greater effort and, in turn,
provide greater influence on learning and development. Consequently, assessing "quality
of effort" becomes all the more valuable.
The content of the CCSEQ focuses on four distinct elements:
- Who are the community college students and why are they attending college?
- Which facilities and opportunities at the community college do students use productively
- What are the students’ impressions of the community college?
- What progress have students made toward their stated goals?
These concepts, as well as the roots of the CCSEQ, spring from a questionnaire designed
by Dr. Pace for four-year colleges and universities, the College Student Experiences
Questionnaire. Produced in 1979, the CSEQ is now used by several hundred institutions and over 300,000 undergraduates. In consultation
with Pace, Dr. Jack Friedlander began the initial work that led to the evolution of
the CCSEQ. A prototype was developed in 1989 and administered at eleven community
colleges. The efforts of Dr. Penny Lehman provided much of the statistical computations
in the original comparative data manual.
Since 1994, the CCSEQ has been housed in the Center for the Study of Higher Education
at The University of Memphis.