PACE Interpretation Instructions

Your institution’s PACE report consists of sixteen tables and two figures. The tables are of two types: frequency distributions (Tables 1-4) and item mean comparisons (Tables 5-8). Figure 1 compares your institution’s overall PACE mean and means for each of the four PACE climate factors (Institutional Structure, Student Focus, Supervisory Relationships, and Teamwork) with the PACE normbase as a whole, institutions of a similar size, and one comparison group chosen by your institution.

Comparative Group Descriptions

Every institution that participates in PACE receives comparison data with the full PACE normbase, comprising 87 two-year and four-year institutions of higher education across North America. Every report also includes comparative data to institutions of comparable size from one of the following five categories: small 2-year, medium 2-year, large 2-year, very large 2-year, and 4-year (any size). In determining an institution’s classification PACE utilizes a compressed version of The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Per Carnegie, institutions classified as “small” have fewer than 2,000 students, “medium” institutions have 2,000-4,999 students, “large” institutions have 5,000-9,999 students, and “very large” institutions have 10,000 or more students.

In addition, participating institutions may select one other comparison group for the PACE report. When a comparison group is selected, your institution is compared to all other institutions in the PACE normbase that share your institution’s classification along that dimension. For example, if you select geographic division and your institution is located in New England, your comparison group will consist of all other PACE normbase institutions located in New England. Some classification groups have been compressed to facilitate comparisons. Comparison group options, and the original data sources from which they are drawn, include:

• Division (Census): New England, Middle Atlantic, East North Central, West North Central, South Atlantic, East South Central, West South Central, Mountain, and Pacific
• Region (Census): Northeast, Midwest, South, and West
• Degree of urbanization (IPEDS): city, suburb, town, or rural
• Institutional control (public, private not-for-profit, private for-profit)

A complete list of all institutions that comprise each comparison group is available here.

Interpreting Frequency Distributions Tables
Tables 1-4

The frequency distributions tables report basic statistics for each question on the PACE survey. Questions are grouped by the four PACE climate factors with one table for each factor. In the first (gray) column, each table presents the count (n) and percentage of respondents at your institution who answered “very satisfied,” “satisfied,” “neutral,” “dissatisfied,” and “very dissatisfied” for each PACE question corresponding to that climate factor. The other three columns provide the same statistics corresponding to schools of a similar size, a chosen custom comparison group, and the PACE normbase. Statistical significance is not reported in the frequency distribution tables, so bear in mind that any differences across columns may occur due to chance and do not have substantive meanings.

Interpreting Item Mean Comparisons Tables
Tables 5-8

The mean comparison tables report your institution’s mean for each question on the PACE survey. The mean comparison tables follow the same structure as that of the frequency comparison table. The gray column presents your institution’s data for each PACE item by climate factor, in the form of the total number of respondents to that item (n) and the mean score for that item. The other three columns present mean difference comparison between your institution and the three comparison groups with corresponding statistical significance and effect size.Table 5. Institutional structure item mean comparison
Three levels of statistical significance are reported: p < .05 (*), p < .01 (**), and p < .001 (***). If the statistical significance column for an item is blank, then the mean difference for that item may be due to chance alone and should not be considered meaningful for the sake of informing institutional decision-making. However, even if there is a statistically significant difference, there may not be a practically meaningful difference between two means, especially if your institutional sample is large.SignificanceTherefore, we also report effect size in the item mean comparisons tables. Effect size (Cohen’s D) is reported to three decimal places. General guidelines for interpreting effect size are: .2 = small, .5 = moderate, and .8 = large. If your institution’s mean is larger than the normbase mean, the effect size will be positive; if your institution’s mean is less than the normbase mean, the effect size will be negative. Practically speaking, we encourage your institution’s leadership to pay special attention to items with absolute value effect sizes of .5 or greater, as these are the areas in which your institution is doing well (positive effect size) or may need to take action for change (negative effect size).Effect Size