Date of Graduation

8-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

John C. Pijanowski

Committee Member

Michael K. Daugherty

Second Committee Member

Wen-Juo Lo

Keywords

Education; ACT; College readiness; English language learners (ELL); Mathematics; Socioeconomic status (SES); State testing

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to determine the degree to which academic and demographic variables affected the ACT results used in determining college readiness. This quantitative research study followed a non-experimental correlational design. A multiple regression was used to analyze archival data to determine the impact the combined Arkansas Comprehensive Testing, Assessment and Accountability Program (ACTAAP) mathematics end-of-course (EOC) score, high school GPA, and highest mathematics class completed had on the ACT mathematics exam. In addition, a hierarchical multiple regression model was used to determine how English language learner (ELL) status and socio-economic status (SES) impacted students' ACT performance used in determining college readiness.

The students who graduated from one Northwest Arkansas high school over a three-year period established the population for this study. The sample included students who graduated in the years 2010, 2011, or 2012; who participated in the district's individualized graduation plan (IGP); and who took the Algebra 1 EOC test, the Geometry EOC test, and the ACT exam.

The results indicated that the study's academic variables significantly influenced the mathematics score on the ACT. The strongest predictor was the combined ACTAAP mathematics EOC scale score. In addition, the demographic results of how ELL status and SES modified the predictive nature of the ACTAAP mathematics EOC scale score supported that ELL status had a significant impact; however, when SES was added it appeared to offer little additional predictive power beyond that contributed by ELL status.

The current study added to the literature by using high school curriculum, college admission tests, state-mandated mathematics assessments, and selected demographic information to help parents, students, and school personnel improve their understanding of how to prepare students for college.

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