The effects of U.S. Marine Corps officer graduate education programs on officer performance : a comparative analysis of professional military education and graduate education
Zamarripa, Luis R.
Mehay, Stephen L.
Kocher, Kathryn M.
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This thesis compares the effects of Marine Corps graduate education programs, categorized as either Professional Military Education (PME) or Non-PME, on officer performance. The intent of the thesis is to provide empirical evidence to support or refute Marine Corps cultural perceptions that PME improves officer performance more than Non-PME graduate education. A performance index (PI) is derived from the current Marine Corps fitness report system and averaged before and after graduate education for PME and Non-PME graduates and for a group of officers without graduate education (NOS). Data from the Marine Corps Total Force Data Warehouse are used to assess the marginal effect of graduate education in models that also included demographic, affective and cognitive traits. ANOVA results for O4s show significant improvement in performance over time for all groups (PME, Non-PME and NOS), with the largest improvement for PME and the smallest for NOS, although differences between groups are not significant. Multivariate regressions indicate that, after accounting for other influences, the post-education performance of those with graduate education is not significantly different from those without (NOS). The change in performance between before and after receiving graduate education is not significantly different for PME and NOS, while it is slightly lower for Non-PME than for NOS (significant at .10 level). A limitation of the study is that the data only covered four years of fitness reports. Thus, we were not able to assess the long-run effects of graduate education on officer performance.
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