Date of Award

Spring 3-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Lynda Leavitt

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Third Advisor

Mrs. Nancy Cook

Abstract

A college education is essential to the future. Those with a college degree will make a higher income and be affected less by economic instability. Employment requiring a college degree will grow, while jobs that do not require postsecondary education will decline. Yet barriers exist that keep all students from attaining a college education. It is the charge of schools to prepare students so they not only enter college, but also have the necessary skills to be successful in college-level courses. Federal initiatives mandate periodic assessments to ensure student learning and to hold schools accountable. However, scores from these assessments do not help students gain college entrance nor do they evaluate college readiness. Some states now provide the ACT to all high school students as part of the required state assessment. By doing so, all students will have a common measure of academic achievement in terms of college readiness in time to close achievement gaps before leaving high school. This study examined the effects of increased ACT testing on college enrollment and readiness for students graduating in 2010. State testing percentages were obtained from the 2010 ACT Profile Reports for each state in the sample. College enrollment information was obtained from the Digest of Education Statistics. College readiness was measured by the percentage of students who met or exceeded the ACT benchmark scores in English and Mathematics. Results revealed a relationship between increased testing and college enrollment, especially in Caucasian/White students, although the degree to which testing was responsible for this increase was limited. Strong relationships were found between iii increased testing and college readiness in both English and Mathematics. A negative correlation was found between the percentage of students who took the ACT and the percentage of students who met benchmark scores. Results suggested a disconnect between what high school students are taught and what they need to know for college success. Additional study should be pursued to investigate possible reasons for these findings. Recommendations for improvement and suggestions for future research are presented.

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