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High School Influences On College Enrollment And College Graduation Of Dallas Independent School District 2002 Graduates

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High School Influences On College Enrollment And College Graduation Of Dallas Independent School District 2002 Graduates

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Title: High School Influences On College Enrollment And College Graduation Of Dallas Independent School District 2002 Graduates
Author: Johnson, Linda K.
Abstract: The overarching goal for American education under President Barack Obama has been to increase college enrollment and completion rates. The pressure to achieve this goal has been keenly felt in the postsecondary community, especially as federal and state funding have become increasingly tied to achieving higher college completion rates. Yet the adequate preparation of students lies primarily in the secondary system, and the literature contains many statistics that support the view that few students are adequately prepared, especially those who are educated in urban public school systems. The challenge was to determine actions that can be implemented by school districts that will significantly improve students' ability to enroll in and graduate from college. This research study examines the college enrollment and graduation rates, and variables linked to those rates, for the class of 2002 of the Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) in order to uncover actions high school leaders can take to improve the college-going behavior of their graduates. The Dallas ISD is the nation's fourteenth largest public school district and has a very high proportion--eighty-seven percent--of low socioeconomic status students. Additionally, nearly one-third of the entire student body of 155,000 is composed of English language learners, the majority of whom were born in Mexico or whose parents were born in Mexico. The literature suggests that several high school factors are correlated with student success in college. These include student achievement, teacher quality, and the school environment. This study explores policies and practices that a district, or high school, can implement to improve student college preparation. Therefore, while it does provide statistics on student ethnicity for the class of 2002 graduates, the statistical analyses examine actionable variables, including teacher education levels and years of experience, and high school-level factors of percent of students taking advanced courses and college entrance exams. To explore the college enrollment and graduation rates of the class of 2002 Dallas ISD high school graduates, two types of analysis were conducted. The first provides descriptive analysis of the 6,509 class of 2002 high school graduates at the student-level. The second approach focuses on the high school as the unit of analysis. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to compute the standardized path coefficients for a College Success Model of high school influence on college enrollment and graduation. This study uses SmartPLS, a SEM program developed by Ringle, Wende, and Will (2005). This program for path modeling uses the partial least squares method for latent variable analysis. The latent variables in the model were high school college-going culture, teacher quality, student achievement, college enrollment, and college graduation. The findings of this study indicate that the high school environment has a significant effect on the future college enrollment and graduation of its students. The College Success Model explains a greater proportion of variance in college enrollment and graduation than any of the predictive factors taken alone. Students in high schools that promote a college-going culture and employ experienced, well-educated teachers were more likely to enroll in and graduate from college. School districts can take action to increase their high schools' college-going cultures and to encourage the professional development and further education of their teachers in pursuit of achieving higher levels of student college success.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10106/6170
Date: 2011-10-11

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