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Recently, a committee was convened by the student assessment division of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to provide guidance and suggest ways to implement higher education readiness component of the testing program all across the state, the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). This assessment intended to utilise the test performance of students to assess their level of academic preparedness for graduating from high school, into a college or an institution of higher learning. There have been extensive reviews and discussions about survey results obtained from the institutions of higher learning and also analysis of curriculum data and placement tests gathered from representatives of the universities and colleges.
A number of challenges have been identified as relates with the establishment of a link between TAKS performance and college level academic work readiness. There are various understandings about what constitutes college readiness and there is a lot of disagreement about what should be regarded as success in higher education or college-level work. Students in the state have plenty of opportunity to receive instruction after graduating from high school, and the level of instructional rigour varies among different institutions as well as the level of course diversity
Statement of Problem
The problem of assessing Higher Education Readiness Component for TAKS will be addressed in this project
Statement of the Research Design
` This proposal for higher education readiness component will incorporate research investigations that will be utilised in determining the exit level TAKS score scale for college readiness. The research design will also include a modified methodology study that includes data correlation performance studies on TAKS, as relates to students' performance on the ACT assessment, TASP test, and SAT I
Review of Literature
During the year 2006, the Federal Education Department reported that students from traditional schools had better scores than students from charter schools in virtually all categories of TAKS assessment. (Schemo, 2006). On the 10th of May 2006, an editorial in the New York Times noted that "states will need to abandon the strategy, now discredited, that consists largely of giving public money to what are basically private schools and then looking the other way" (New York Times, May 2006). A TAKS student-based reform will mean that parents and teachers alike will get a better sense of the knowledge that students are expected to have and what they should be able to do at any particular grade level. This enables the teachers to identify students in need of extra help and also help teachers to develop and share best professional practices with other teachers and gain more knowledge from professional development that is not based on the latest fads, but based on acceptable standards. "Thus, educational development that is based on these standards will relate with the recognition of teachers as professionals engaged in â€¦.. federal level ()
This report will include a description of the participating schools, a comparison of performance between the high school and college populations, and commentary regarding anything discovered during the research that was unanticipated or of additional interest. TEA will forward this information to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for use in determining what scale score on TAKS might best indicate readiness to enroll in an institution of higher learning. TASP, ACT, SAT I, and TAKS Performance Data Correlation Study The second component of the research proposal looks at college readiness using TAKS scores in relation to performance on the TASP test and to performance on national standardized college entrance exams.
For purposes of the current research, the assessment instrument will be the exit level versions of TAKS in English language arts and mathematics. The high school population will be first time TAKS test takers (all students in Grade 11) in the spring of 2003. The college population will be comprised of a sample of second semester freshmen at public two- and four-year postsecondary institutions in Texas. Analysis of the results will yield two different distributions of raw scores for each TAKS subject, one each for the high school and college populations. These distributions will be on the same assessment (TAKS) and can be directly compared as indicated in the figure below.
Figure 1. Example of Contrasting Groups Results
Currently, students who attend public institutions of higher learning in Texas must take the TASP test unless they are exempted based on their ACT,
SAT I, or TAAS scores. Colleges and universities use TASP test results to make placement decisions and to determine developmental education needs. The proposed research study will look at the TASP, ACT, and SAT I score results for Texas public high school students who take these tests in the spring, summer, and fall of 2003 and compare them to the spring 2003 Grade 11 exit level TAKS scores for the same student population. In addition, student test results from the spring 2004 Grade 11 exit level TAKS administration will be compared to TASP, ACT, and SAT I scores from the spring, summer and fall administrations of these tests. One methodology proposed for determining correlations between TAKS scores and TASP, ACT, and SAT I achievement is to create TAKS/TASP, TAKS/ACT, and TAKS/SAT I expectancy tables and perform regression analyses or, equivalently, contingency table analyses to establish predicted TASP, ACT, and SAT I scores from given TAKS scale scores. "Glasnapp and Poggio used this same methodology in establishing cut score equivalents for the current Grade 10 exit level TAAS test and the TASP test. For each TAKS score, the analysis would indicate the percentage of students with that score who also achieved a specified score on one of the other tests (TASP, ACT, or SAT I). TEA will coordinate the TAKS/ACT and TAKS/SAT I studies, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will coordinate the TAKS/TASP analysis." (Glasnapp, D., & Poggio, J. 1996)
A focus group made up primarily of representatives from two- and four- year Texas public institutions of higher learning, as well as some representatives from private higher education institutions and public high schools in Texas, will be convened by the
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Education Agency during the 2002 spring semester to give feedback to the Higher Education Readiness Component Task Force regarding the implications of the TAKS higher education component plan for colleges and universities. The group will also be asked to provide insight about performance expectations for entering college freshmen and will serve as a link to the higher education community, providing college and university personnel with ongoing updates regarding the development and implementation of the TAKS higher education component.
"An ancillary demographic study of the relationship between performance on TAKS and performance in college will provide valuable follow-up information about how successfully Texas public high school students are making the transition from high school to college. College readiness and success indicators such as course selection, placement, program rigor, grades, and retention rates will be correlated with TAKS performance results to furnish additional information about the relationship between TAKS scores and college readiness." (Nathan, J. 1999)
Since a scale score indicating higher education readiness will not be established until the spring of 2004, some avenue must be provided for those students who are sophomores in 2003 to qualify to register for dual credit courses using their TAKS results without taking TASP or an alternative test. After the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has established a higher education readiness scale score for the spring 2004 TAKS administration, it will be necessary to provide a permanent way for students to qualify for dual credit courses before their junior year begins. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will establish a temporary qualifying score on TAKS that will allow sophomores in 2003 to gain permission to register for dual credit courses and a permanent means for sophomores in 2004 and thereafter to get permission to register for dual credit courses using their TAKS results.
According to the Texas Education Agency "the passing rates for charter school students taking the English-version TAKS increased in all subject areas between 2004 and 2005, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) admits the percentages of students passing in charter schools is lower than in traditional public schools." (Texas Education Agency, 2005) Despite several indications of lower TAKS scores from students in charter schools, it has been continuously argued that these charter students are still making the grade. Charter schools are generally much too diverse for any reasonable comparison to the traditional public schools. According to Schemo, 2006 "the reported figures do not take into consideration the fact that students from charter schools are at more of a disadvantage than students from regular public schools, as these students are often sent to charter schools after having been unsuccessful in local neighbourhood schools" (Schemo, 2006) There has also been rising concern about the negative effects of test-driven accountability standards under the law in Texas, and federal law.
This proposal for higher education readiness component will incorporate research investigations that will be utilised in determining the exit level TAKS score scale for college readiness. The research design will also include a modified methodology study that includes data correlation performance studies on TAKS, as relates to students' performance on the ACT assessment, TASP test, and SAT I. The proposed methodology is taken from the standard setting research methodology, and is modified from the area of work that is usually known as 'contrasting groups'. In this type of methodology, different student populations are identified, i.e. those regarded as masters and the section of the student population deemed to be beginners or novices. Both of these groups will be assessed with the same instruments, and a comparison will be made of their performance in the assessment.
A clear and empirical relationship will be determined, depicting the manner in manner in which the section seen as masters compared with the population seen as novices for the assessment. "The point at which these two groups diverge is the optimal cut score on the instrument that would usually classify the novices and the masters correctly" (Zieky, M, J., & Livingston, S. A. 1977)
This proposal will also analyse the guidelines for implementing these tests. The broad range of content and the academic rigor of TAKS assessment suggests that this test is a better indicator of success potential for higher education work than other tests like TAAS (Texas Assessment of Academic Skills). As a result of this, it is expected that there will be a reliable relationship between students' post-high school performance and their TAKS scores. This proposed research will aim at investigating this relationship between students' post-high school performance and their TAKS scores. For the research, the TAKS test will be administered to a sample group of 2,000 College freshmen, with 1,000 students per subject area in both maths and English language)
This research will be balanced both as demographically and racially and as much as possible, and the data utilised will represent a range of public college students. During this study, a modified contrasting groups methodology will be used to analyse and compare the TAKS performance of the different groups, who have demonstrated a degree of readiness for higher education work to that of Texas public high school juniors who will be subjected to the same test at a later date. This study will analyse the degree to which students in public institutions of higher learning possess the necessary academic skills for performing higher education or college-level work. According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and National Evaluation Systems "TASP test results are used by public two- and four-year colleges and universities to make placement decisions and to determine developmental education needs. The more rigorous exit level TAKS will have a broader content range than the current exit level TAAS and should therefore be a stronger potential indicator of success on college-level work." (The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and National Evaluation Systems, Inc. 2000)
. The aim of this research will be the investigation of the relationship between students TAKS performance and the students' performance in post-high school work. The basic device for data collection during this study will be the TAKS testing instrument. During the study, a representative sample of college freshmen will respond to the same test which is utilised for the exit level TAKS program. The results of the test for both sets of student populations would then be compared, by the use of a methodology involving modified contrasting groups. This research design offers numerous advantages. For one thing, there is no real need for the identification of success definition. The comparisons carried out will also be empirical comparisons, with emphasis on the performance both groups. During this research, the groups selected will include a wide range of returning college freshmen with diverse background characteristics. Another advantage of this design is that there will be no need for any statistical or psychometric manipulations during the study, as the test will be administered to two different groups, and then results are obtained, showing the manner in which they compare.
This study aims at obtaining more information about the manner in which the students' TAKS scores relates with higher education/college success. This also points to a measure of academic preparation for college. Texas schools tend to traditionally incorporate results from national college entrance examination into their placement and admission decisions as well as relying on the TASP test. "Although the ACT and SAT I are just two measures among many that colleges and universities use to assess student preparation, these tests are used extensively and have an established reputation for providing reliable data about student readiness for college." (Glasnapp, D., & Poggio, J. 1996)
Since The Task Force for Higher Education Readiness Component is responsible for providing guidance and suggesting ways to improve upon the implementation of the TAKS readiness component for higher education a research study is proposed to ascertain the optimal college/higher education readiness scores for the exit level TAKS examination. Since the research methodology includes the analysis of contrasting groups of college student, and the performance and TAKS scores of high school students, the research process will be managed by a Student Assessment Division, with the goal of obtaining more information about the manner in which the students' TAKS scores relates with higher education/college success.