Application of latent variable modeling to evaluate engagement and institutional commitment of military-affiliated students in higher education

Date

2018-04

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Abstract

Higher education institutions recognize the challenges faced by military-affiliated students, and increased their efforts to support this diverse student population. However, limited quantitative research exist evaluating the longitudinal trajectory of engagement and institutional commitment of military-affiliated students enrolled in higher education. The present study utilized latent variable modeling to evaluate engagement and institutional commitment of military-affiliated students compared to their non-military peers. A customer relationship management (CRM) framework was implemented to conceptualize student engagement as a multidimensional higher-order latent construct. Innovative measurement techniques were used to capture longitudinal data (end of spring 2017 semester, fall 2017 semester) from 527 (MA = 293, NM = 234) higher education students in one measurement occasion. Modern approaches to psychometrics were used to validate the reliability and stability of the student engagement construct across time and multiple groups. Longitudinal panel model analysis evaluated the direct and cross-lagged paths of student engagement and institutional commitment. The results revealed the applicability of CRM to capture the context-dependent multidimensionality of student engagement. The direct effects of student engagement and institutional commitment were statistically significant. Military-affiliated students displayed stronger direct effects in the context of faculty and academic engagement. No significant differences were found between student groups in the context of campus life engagement. Study results indicate military-affiliated students are engaged in their educational pursuits and felt supported at their respective higher education institution.

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Keywords

Military-affiliated students, Latent variable modeling, Retrospective pretest-posttest, Customer relationship management

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