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The Disconnect Between College Eligibility and College Readiness

Vargo, Tyler (2019) The Disconnect Between College Eligibility and College Readiness. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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With graduation rates for four-year schools at 58 percent, and two-year schools at 28 percent, the idea that college eligibility equates to college readiness seems to be flawed. Many researchers have attempted to identify factors, attributes, and behaviors that could predict the likelihood of students’ success in college. Building on that body of research, this study aims to identify whether the criteria that determines college eligibility is flawed in predicting college readiness. In addition to identifying possible flaws with traditional measures of college eligibility and readiness, this study strives to identify whether other factors, such as academic behaviors, provide insight into college readiness.
This study is a mixed-methods case study of one school; it seeks to explore the disconnect between college eligibility and college readiness. Specifically, this study examines traditional measures utilized in college admissions versus other measures of college readiness. Three methods anchor the study: descriptive statistics were utilized to determine whether participants from Gilpin High School were college eligible. Students’ transcripts were analyzed for weighted GPA, unweighted GPA, core subject GPA, units of classes taken, numbers of high-level courses taken, and PSAT scores. The second method was a modified academic behavioral survey designed to determine students’ college readiness. The third method consisted of a Principal Component Analysis that provided insight into the relationship between traditional and non-traditional measures utilized to determine college eligibility and college readiness. In addition, two matrices were created, one utilizing scores from the academic behavioral survey and weighted GPA, the second utilizing scores from the academic behavioral survey and PSAT scores. The results of both illustrate the number of students who were college eligible and college ready, college eligible and not college ready, not college eligible and college ready, or not college ready and not college eligible.
Results can be utilized in curriculum development, interventions, and evaluation at the secondary level. At the post-secondary level, results could inform admissions practices that could be modified to include behavioral measures. In regard to future studies, self-discipline could be studied to determine whether this characteristic is a bridge from high school success to college success.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Vargo, TylerTDV4@pitt.eduTDV4
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKirk,
Committee MemberCorrenti,
Committee MemberLogue-Belden,
Committee MemberTrovato,
Date: 16 December 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 24 April 2019
Approval Date: 16 December 2019
Submission Date: 4 September 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 94
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: College Readiness, College Eligibility, Disconnect
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2019 14:54
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2019 14:54


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