The study presented here is an investigation and comparison of the relationships between the Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) and dual-enrolled high school courses and college outcomes. Previous research provides evidence that participation in AP, and subsequent success on AP Exams, is positively related to various college outcomes including an increased likelihood of graduating from college and better preparation for the academic rigor of the college classroom. This study aims to contribute to the understanding of the value of advanced course work in high school in preparing students for higher education success by investigating the relationships between participation and performance in AP courses and exams, dual enrollment courses, and regular courses and four different college outcomes including first-year subject-specific GPA, final subject-specific GPA, calendar time to bachelor’s degree, and credit hours attempted. Results indicated that higher performance on AP Exams was related to higher college performance in the subject area, as well as fewer credit hours taken to bachelor’s degree. Most dual enrollment course grades were at a C or higher, and students taking these courses tended to graduate from college in fewer calendar terms than other groups.
The ability of the United States to remain competitive in the expanding global economy will require a more knowledgeable and skilled workforce than ever before. Most of the jobs in the fastest-growing industries will require individuals with some postsecondary education. As such, there is a need to engage students in an effective college- and career-preparation process early to increase their likelihood of readiness and success in college and careers. A system that allows students to exhibit their knowledge, skills, and abilities as they relate to college and career readiness and monitor whether they are on target and stay on target for postsecondary success is an integral component of this process. The College Board offers a set of psychometrically sound assessments called the Pathway that provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate whether they are successfully engaging in the college-preparation process. ReadiStep™, the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), the SAT®, and their associated tools, also create a trajectory that assists students with getting and staying on target for success in college and careers. Using the College Board Pathway, the research presented in this report examines the relationship between student engagement in the college-preparation process and success in postsecondary outcomes for a sample of students who graduated from high school in 2006. Results from analyses of these data indicated that:
• Students who entered the College Board Pathway and exhibited being on target to college and career readiness earlier tended to have higher rates of postsecondary success in terms of four-year college enrollment, retention, and graduation.
• Students who exhibited being on target for college and career readiness early in high school and continuously monitored their readiness throughout the Pathway system tended to have higher rates of postsecondary success than students who did not continue in the Pathway sequence.
• The postsecondary benefits of entering the Pathway in 10th grade, and getting and staying on target to college and career readiness early accrue to all students, regardless of race or ethnicity.
Engagement in the college-preparation process is an important component in a student’s college and career readiness. In addition, getting on target early and staying on target is positively related to a student’s likelihood of succeeding in postsecondary education. This is meaningful, given the importance of students acquiring the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to achieve postsecondary success and engage in careers that will support the nation’s competitiveness in the growing global economy.
AP Potential™ is an educational guidance tool that uses PSAT/NMSQT® scores to identify students who have the potential to do well on one or more Advanced Placement® (AP®) Exams. Students identified as having AP potential, perhaps students who would not have been otherwise identified, should consider enrolling in the corresponding AP course if they have the interest and motivation to do so. To date, several studies have been conducted to evaluate the validity of using PSAT/NMSQT scores to predict success on AP Exams (Camara & Millsap, 1998; Ewing, Camara, & Millsap, 2006; Ewing, Camara, Millsap & Milewski, 2007). Results have shown that PSAT/NMSQT scores were moderately to strongly correlated with scores on most AP Exams and that self-reported high school grade point average (HSGPA), grades in related subjects, and total years of study in related subjects accounted for very little additional variance in AP Exam performance once PSAT/NMSQT performance was taken into account.
The methodology used to develop prior versions of AP Potential was empirical; that is, it involved pooling test data across schools and computing expectancy tables showing the percentage of test-takers earning passing scores on AP Exams at various levels of PSAT/NMSQT performance. The purpose of the current research is two-fold. The first is to switch from the empirical approach of building expectancy tables to the use of logistic regression models. Logistic regression models allow for more flexibility should, for example, there be a desire to evaluate and incorporate additional variables that may be important to consider when predicting AP Exam performance. In addition, logistic regression models can be used to determine the PSAT/NMSQT score associated with a particular probability of success (e.g., 50%, 70%), which is in contrast to the previously used empirical approach that yielded the raw percentage of students achieving success on a particular AP Exam for each PSAT/NMSQT score category. The second purpose of this research is to update AP Potential predictions based on more current PSAT/NMSQT and AP score data, which is necessary to do periodically as test-taking populations change over time.
The Study evaluated the predictive validity of various operationalizations of AP® Exam and course information that could be used to make college admission decisions. The incremental validity of different AP variables, above and beyond traditional admission measures such as SAT® and high school grad point average (HSGPA), in predicting first-year grade point average (FYGPA) was also explored. The AP variables examined included the following: the number of AP Exams a student took, the number of AP Exams a student took on which he or she received a score of 3 or higher, the proportion of the number of AP Exams the student took in relation to the number of AP courses offered at his or her high school, his or her average AP score, followed by the number of AP scores the student received that were greater than or equal to 3. With regard to the incremental validity of the different AP predictors above and beyond HSGPA and SAT scores to predict FYGPA, we found that the AP Average score variable produced the greater increment. This report discusses the practical implications of these results in using AP information, in addition to traditional admission measures to improve admission decisions.
The purpose of this study is to illustrate the use of explanatory models based on Rasch measurement theory to detect systematic relationships between student and item characteristics and achievement differences using differential item functioning (DIF), differential group functioning (DGF), and differential person functioning (DPF) techniques. The major focus of the analyses in this study was to demonstrate a set of methodological techniques that can be used to better understand subgroup performance on a large-scale writing assessment, rather than to conduct bias or sensitivity reviews.
Institution Aid Patterns at Public and Private Colleges and Universities
Summary of the report analysis and findings.
Research Brief. Using a 2004 sample of students who applied to at least one four-year college, this research brief finds that applying to more colleges causally increases students’ probabilities of enrolling in a four-year college, especially for those lower-income students applying to only one or two colleges.
Research brief. This brief presents information about the characteristics of the nation’s Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) and their students, as well as the HSIs’ contributions to the educational attainment of the Latino population.
Literature Brief. This brief gives an overview of the prevalence, causes, and consequences of college remediation, which aims to improve basic literacy skills among college students.
Research brief. This brief studies California's introduction of the Early Assessment Program to bridge the gap between K-12 educational standards and postsecondary education requirements, similar to the Common Core State Standards movement.