Access to College for Low Income and Minority Students Who Meet or Exceed Prairie State Standards
The Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE) was taken by all high school juniors in Illinois. This study identified the predictors of success on the PSAE Exam using data from 2001 and 2002 to show how analysis of PSAE data can inform educational policy-making that is designed to increase the number of Illinois High School graduates from low-income African-American and Hispanic families who are prepared to enter colleges and universities.
This study consisted of two research objectives. With the first objective, PSAE scores were analyzed at the individual student level, rather than the aggregate school level to facilitate a focused analysis of African-American and Hispanic students. It was hypothesized individual and school performance on the PSAE will vary directly with the number of years of core subjects taken, as well as whether or not students took honors, accelerated, and AP courses. Additionally, the performance gap between minority and majority students was predicted to decrease as high schools increase the number of years of core subjects taken by all students.
The second research objective was to analyze PSAE scores by student and high school according to the academic intensity of the high school curriculum, for example, whether or not students complete advanced mathematics beyond Algebra 2, as well as honors, accelerated, and AP courses. Course-taking patterns related to specific performance levels on the PSAE were studied and categorized by high school.
Staff on this project included: Ed Hines, W. Paul Vogt, William C. Rau, Zeng Lin, and Ross A. Hodel.