A Factor Analytic Study of the Components of Educational Relevance

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Wilfred G. A. Futcher

Second Advisor

Robert J. Cruise

Third Advisor

Ruth R. Murdoch



There is a need for more systematic and empirical studies in order to clarify the understanding of the concept or meaning of "educational relevance" along with the findings and suggestions of Menges and Trumpeter (1972) and of Permut (1974) that there is a potential for a university of basic dimensions of educational relevance across diverse fields of disciplines. In view of this, the objective of this study was to determine the semantic structure of academic relevance for Andrews University students who had taken the following courses: EDRM 500 Educational Research, EDUC 454 Philosophy for Education, and EDPC 514 Psychology of Learning.


One hundred-seventy-eight subjects participated in the study: EDRM 500 Educational Research (N = 58); EDUC 454 Philosophy for Education (N = 29); and EDPC 514. Psychology of Learning (N =91). A set of fifteen semantic differential rating scales was the original research instrument for gathering the data. Of these seven bipolar adjectival terms were adapted from Menges' and Trumpeter's instrument (1972) and two from Permut's study (1974)- Eventually fourteen of the scales were used for the data analysis.

The statistical treatment of the data employed the factor analytic technique and Tucker's coefficient of congruence. The data were factor analyzed in order to determine the underlying dimensions and the factor structure of students' ratings of concepts commonly taught in the foregoing courses as measured by the semantic differential rating scales. Tucker's coefficient of congruence was also used to provide an analysis of the quality of agreement among the factor structures of pairs of groups.


Factor analysis of the twenty-three distinct concepts rated on fourteen identical scales revealed an apparent consistent trend as to how students perceived relevance. For these data the oblique solution and oblimin rotation of three factors provided the most satisfactory interpretation of the data almost consistently over the twenty-three concepts of the courses.. These factors could be identified as: Utility, Dynamism, and Easy/Difficult.


The study has revealed that there appears to be consistent semantic structures for the three groups of subjects and the data furnished empirical evidence in support of the hypothesis that there may be stable dimensions of educational relevance across diverse fields of study.

Subject Area




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