Educators are increasingly focused on ensuring that students experience a rigorous curriculum in high school and graduate college and career ready. One way of introducing rigorous course work is to have students take college-level work, often in the form of either an AP® course and exam or a dual enrollment course. This study compared the outcomes of students who participated in either program and graduated high school in 2006.
This primer should provide the reader with a deeper understanding of the concept of test validity and will present the recent available validity evidence on the relationship bewtween SAT® scores and important college outcomes.
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.
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.
The purpose of this report is to describe the procedure for revising the ReadiStep™ score scale using the field trial data and to provide technical information about the development of the new ReadiStep scale score. In doing so, this report briefly introduces the three assessments — ReadiStep, PSAT/NMSQT®, and SAT® — in the College Board Pathway system, describes the sample obtained in the field trial, discusses the procedure for linking ReadiStep to PSAT/NMSQT, and presents the results of the new ReadiStep scale score.
In March 2005, substantial revisions were made to the SAT, to better align test specifications with K–12 curriculum (Lawrence, Rigol, Van Essen & Jackson, 2003). Over the last five years, the College Board has made a concerted effort to collect higher education outcome data to document evidence of the validity of the SAT for use in college admission in light of these changes to the test specifications. Due to this large-scale data collection initiative, numerous reports have been released documenting the validity of the SAT for use in college admission. However, the information is siloed within individual reports, making it particularly difficult to synthesize the results and get a sense of the main take-away points. The purpose of the current report is to summarize the research findings from the various reports into a single document, illuminating patterns across cohorts and years. The document will serve as an overview of the research done to date, in a straightforward, easily digestible manner. The report relies heavily on graphical representations of the data to elucidate the main findings; however, data in tabular form are also provided in appendices for interested readers.
The current study examined the role of AP® Exam participation and performance on four-year college graduation in four years. Because students who take AP Exams can earn college credit while still in high school, it was expected that AP students would have higher four year graduation rates. Moreover, it was expected that AP students who earned higher exam scores would also have a higher likelihood of graduating within four years compared to AP students who do not perform well on the exam because academic performance across a variety of measures has been positively linked to graduation. Two national samples were used to test these research questions, and the results confirmed a positive relationship between both AP Exam participation and performance with graduation within four years. This relationship was evident even after controlling for relevant institutional- and/or student-level factors. The academic and financial benefits of the AP Program are discussed.
Research has consistently shown that traditional admission measures — SAT® scores and high school grade point average (HSGPA) — are valid predictors of early college performance such as first-year grades; however, their usefulness to predict later college outcomes has been questioned, especially for the SAT. This study builds on previous research showing that both SAT scores and HSGPA are predictive of a more distal measure of college success — college graduation within four years. Moreover, each measure provided unique information to the prediction of graduation, indicating the utility of using both measures in the admission process to elect applicants who are most likely be successful. Finally, the relationships between SAT and HSGPA with four-year graduation rates by institutional control and selectivity (i.e., undergraduate admittance rate) were also investigated. The findings demonstrate the usefulness of traditional admission measures for predicting long-term college outcomes.
The Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) was created to provide access to rigorous, college-level curricula to motivated and prepared high school students. This study evaluated whether the AP Exam scores from the summative exams associated with 10 courses were valid for the placement of students into higher-level college courses in the subject area of the exam. The specific AP Exams examined were: Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Biology, Chemistry, Physics C: Mechanics, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Psychology, U.S. Government and Politics, and U.S. History. We based this study on a sample of 53 four-year institutions with publicly available AP Exam credit and placement policies that had a total of 95,518 first-time, first-year students entering college in fall 2006. Using a multilevel propensity score–matching approach, we constructed groups of AP and non-AP students who were comparable on a number of key characteristics, including gender, racial/ethnic identity, anticipated college major, high school grade point average, PSAT/NMSQT® section scores, and mean AP course enrollment at students’ high schools. The results showed that after matching AP and non-AP students on those important covariates, the AP students performed as well as or better than comparable non-AP students in terms of subsequent college course grades.