Program For Afloat College Education In The Navy: Measuring Instructional Effectiveness In An Era Of Declining Resources

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Virginia Tech


Under the Program For Afloat College Education (PACE), Sailors are able to take undergraduate and pre-college level courses aboard US Navy ships through computer-based instruction or under the instruction of a college professor. This post-hoc descriptive study was designed to determine those elements or factors which contribute most to successful outcomes for Sailors enrolled in college level PACE courses.

A combination of descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were performed on a representative sample consisting of 8,124 Sailors enrolled worldwide between July 1, 1995 and May 31, 1996. Dependent variables were end of course grade and PASS/FAIL outcomes. Factors analyzed for each participant included up to 18 variables consisting of a broad array of demographic, career, environmental, academic, and mental ability data.

Factors found to have a positive correlation with grade and satisfactory completion rate were age, mental ability, paygrade, years of service, and semester hours of college level courses passed in the previous four years. Formal education at the level of an associate's degree or higher was also positively associated with grade and completion rate. Married Sailors performed better than single, and Sailors who were taking a course for the first time scored higher than those who attempted a course the second time. There were differences by course grouping as well.

The greatest difference observed for any variable was delivery mode, a complex dichotomous variable consisting of technology or instructor delivery. On average, Sailors in instructor delivered courses exceeded those in technology delivered courses by one half a grade point regardless of type of ship in which the course was taught or course group such as business, math etc.

Recommendations for enhancing PACE effectiveness are provided in order to produce a more efficient and cost-effective voluntary college education program for the Navy.



US Navy, voluntary education, Technology, instruction, afloat, college