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Title:The impact of the National Commission on Excellence in Education's "new basics" on student performance in midwestern colleges and universities
Author(s):Sherman, Barbara Joyce
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Thurston, Paul W.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Education, Higher
Abstract:Since the publication of A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform (National Commission on Excellence in Education $\{$NCEE$\}$, 1983), the governing boards of many public colleges and universities have adopted course-specific admission requirements as recommended in the report.
One of the considerations in developing these admission requirements is a theoretical framework which suggests that high school students are taking fewer academic courses; that completion of a sequence of academic courses is related to improved student performance on college admission tests; that college admission tests represent a major predictor of success in college; and that therefore student completion of a specific sequence of courses is related to college success. As the policy of prescribing specific coursework as an admission requirement becomes more prevalent, the merits of this policy need to be assessed. A review of the literature revealed that only one study (Phipps & McDonald, 1988) has been conducted, in the State of Missouri, which directly linked the completion of a set of courses with student success in college.
The present study was designed to examine the validity of the individual components of the theoretical framework adopted by the governing boards of higher education. The major research question focused on the relationships that exist between the academic performance of students who completed different quantities of a prescribed rigorous sequence of high school courses as measured by postsecondary grade point averages. In exploring the major research and subsidiary questions, a combination of transcript analysis and statistical calculations were performed on data from the Sophomore Cohort of the National Longitudinal Study of High School and Beyond. The sample consisted of students from the Midwest Census region.
The research highlighted intrinsic weaknesses of the theoretical framework. The research not only suggested that near completion of a core curriculum is as effective as full completion, but it also indicated that the explained variance of course credit variables resulted in a negligible improvement in the prediction of postsecondary grade point average.
Issue Date:1990
Rights Information:Copyright 1990 Sherman, Barbara Joyce
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9114410
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9114410

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