Keywords: ethics, principles, appraisals, worth, usefulness, merit

Introduction to Values

The desire to measure how students value beliefs, ethics, or ideologies is heavily used across all areas of higher education.  Better understanding what students deem as important is worth noting, whether professionals wish to assess how much students value their general education courses or even their experience during an orientation program.  The word “value” has been used to asses both internal processes (“How important is being honest, loyal, and conscientious”) and external processes (“How much do you value attending a class over attending a make-up session?”). 

When Would You Measure Values?

Student affairs professionals may want to measure values if their goal is to gauge:

  • Both personal and group-level values
  • Integration of values with short and long-term goals
  • Behavior in comparison with self-reported values and beliefs
  • Changes in values as a result of participating in a program



Those wanting to measure values may find it helpful to start their research by reviewing similar evidence-based literature:

A Comprehensive Model for Values Education and Moral Education (Kirschenbaum, 1992)

  • This article presents opinions on how and why different generations develop different values, and how those changes in values tackle different problems.


Adding Value: Learning Communities and Student Engagement (Zhao & Kuh, 2004)

  • The authors examine the relationship between participating in a learning community and changes in values (social, developmental, educational).


Frequently Used Instruments/Measures

The following instruments/measures have been used to assess values:

  • College Outcome Measures Program
  • Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory
  • Personal Values Questionnaire


Don’t Think This Construct Matches Your Assessment Goals? Check Out These Related Constructs: Engagement, Mindsets

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