Date of Award

Fall 8-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Susan Isenberg

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Rankins

Third Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom


In recent years, there has been an interest in the effectiveness of college assessment preparation, which has prompted many studies. The majority of these studies researched instruction/coaching on the Scholastic Assessment Tool (SAT). Notably, the college entrance exam has become a growing concern for minorities, particularly African American students. Prior research by ACT, Inc. (2012, p. 2) has shown African American students rank the lowest in American College Test (ACT) scores of all racial groups. Between 2006 and 2011 the average ACT composite scores increased for White, Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native, and American/Pacific Islanders. Hispanic scores remained unchanged and the scores of African Americans students declined by an average of two scale points. The focus of this research investigated whether instruction/coaching for the ACT would increase the scores of African American students. The participants of this study were African American high school students who attended a suburban high school in the Midwest. These students took a pre-test (PLAN) and a post-test (ACT) and were provided with reflective journals to document comments and attitudes of this six-week program. The average increase in the ACT scores after taking the ACT Preparation Course was 2.00 points. Considering other variables, it appeared that the increase in these scores could be attributed to the instruction they received taking the ACT Preparation Course and prior to taking the ACT. This research compared both scores of African American students over four semesters, analyzed questionnaire data, and reflective journaling data to examine if student attitudes and scores could be affected as a result of taking a preparation course. The resulting data suggest there was not only an improvement in ACT scores, but also an improvement in ii student attitudes after completion of the ACT Preparation Course. Student attitudes were positively impacted towards taking the ACT in that the majority of students felt more confident when taking the test as well as acquiring a new perspective in testing skills and study strategies.


Copyright 2015