A University’s Multifaceted Approach to Measuring Character and Spirituality Outcomes


Brigham Young University, Institutional Assessment and Analysis, higher education


Brigham Young University (BYU) has had defined by its sponsoring institution since its founding in 1875 those elements of character and spirituality (affective domain) that comprise mission, in addition to the intellectual (cognitive domain). However, it is only since the establishment of the Office of Institutional Assessment and Analysis (hereafter Office) in 1996 that any strategic and comprehensive analysis has been undertaken to gather evidence, measure results, and assess or evaluate the degree to which these affective outcomes have been realized according to students, employers of graduates, alumni, staff, and faculty.

From its university’s foundational documents, the Office developed those constructs of character and spirituality to measure and then assess. In an effort to also benchmark the university’s relative standing on these affective constructs with other universities of comparison, the Office identified three national studies and instruments: the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) Faculty Survey, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), and the National Academic Integrity Study survey. To make the evaluation complete, it then developed and adopted five institutional instruments: the BYU Alumni Questionnaire; the BYU Senior Survey; the Employers of BYU Graduates Survey; the BYU Mission, Aims, and Objectives Study; and BYU Student Ratings.

This article briefly describes each of these eight instruments and then summarizes key findings from each (two tables are included). One of the most significant findings is taken from the NSSE study wherein 96 percent of students reported that they participate in activities that enhance spirituality “often” or “very often” and that they experience substantial growth from their experience at BYU in developing a personal code of values and ethics. This result was further substantiated by the Academic Integrity Study that found BYU students cheat significantly less than the national norm.

Original Publication Citation

Terry, R., Wygant, S., Olsen, D., and Howell, S.(2007). A university’s multifaceted approach to measuring character and spirituality outcomes.(ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.ED498261).

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date







David O. McKay School of Education


Instructional Psychology and Technology

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor