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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Jinhai Zhang
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research, and Technology
Title: Advanced Placement Course and College Student Success: Evidence from BPS: 96/01
Dr. Andrea Beach, Chair
Dr. Louann Bierlein-Palmer
Dr. George Haus
Date: Monday, March 14, 2011 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
3310 Sangren Hall
The purpose of this study is, based on the application of Tinto’s student persistence theory, to explore whether AP course taking, as one pre-collegiate student background characteristic, impacts college students’ persistence, academic achievements, and college completion. This study used the national Beginning Postsecondary Study 96/01 longitudinal data set collected by the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), which includes 12,100 first-time postsecondary beginners over a period of six academic years from 1995/96 to 2000/01.
In this study, students were categorized into three groups by their SAT scores. Logistical regression analysis indicated that overall students who took any AP course in high school were more likely to persist in college than their non-AP peers in most SAT categories. Students who took more AP courses were more likely to persist in college than those who took fewer. Multiple regressions analysis suggested that students who took any AP course and more AP courses were more likely to have higher GPAs at different points of time in college. Multiple regressions indicated that the AP taking, and the number of AP courses taken contributed significantly to the prediction of time to graduate in most SAT categories. The AP course taking, and the number of AP courses taken are two critical factors in students’ college persistence, academic achievements, and time to graduation.
Following the results of the data analysis, it is found that, at certain SAT categories, AP did not contribute significantly to the regression model of students’ time to graduation. This study added literature to Tinto’s college persistence theory that students’ academic integration greatly influenced their persistence, college academic performance, and college completion. These findings provide critical information for policy makers in both K-12 and higher education institutions.