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The structure of an honors curriculum by the methodology of Q-analysis

  • Education
  • Engineering


The work reported in this paper explicates the structure of honors study (honors credit courses) by university scholars at the Pennsylvania State University. The methodology of Q -analysis was employed in a four-year cohort analysis of honors (and other) courses taken by 1988-graduating university scholars. Research questions are examined with respect to structural (backcloth) considerations such as major/nonmajor honors course patterns, changes in the structure over time, and the differences among majors and semester standings, as well as considerations of learning activity (traffic) such as allowing general education to exist on the structure, the support of research and thesis needs, and the definition of an honors education experience. An example curriculum structure in engineering science is illustrated. Johnson's star - hub analysis is demonstrated. Vertex-specific traffic of values for course grades earned is shown and manipulated. A dimensionally based traffic measure (simplex traffic index) is introduced. Johnson's rectangle numbers are demonstrated. The star traffic average is introduced to show average traffic values on meaningful parts of the structure. 'Problematic' honors course structures are demonstrated. Structural and traffic cores are introduced. Procedures are presented for applying the methodology of Q -analysis to curriculum study.

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