High School Achievement and Admissions Test Scores as Predictors of Course Performance of American Indian and Alaska Native Students

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  • This article was downloaded by: [Cornell University Library]On: 28 October 2014, At: 18:04Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UK

    The Journal of Psychology:Interdisciplinary and AppliedPublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/vjrl20

    High School Achievementand Admissions Test Scoresas Predictors of CoursePerformance of AmericanIndian and Alaska NativeStudentsJ. Daniel House aa Office of Institutional Research , Northern IllinoisUniversityPublished online: 02 Apr 2010.

    To cite this article: J. Daniel House (1998) High School Achievement and AdmissionsTest Scores as Predictors of Course Performance of American Indian and Alaska NativeStudents, The Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied, 132:6, 680-682,DOI: 10.1080/00223989809599301

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00223989809599301

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  • The Journul of Psychology. 1998. /32(6) , 680-682

    High School Achievement and Admissions Test Scores as Predictors of Course

    Performance of American Indian and Alaska Native Students

    J. DANIEL HOUSE OBce of Institutional Research

    Northern Illinois University

    THE UNDERREPRESENTATION OF AMERICAN INDIAN and Alaska Native students in postsecondary education has been reported in the High School and Beyond longitudinal study of the high school class of 1980, which indicated that American Indian and Alaska Native students were less likely to participate in post- secondary education or earn a college degree (Tuma, Geis, & Carroll, 1995). Berkner, Cuccaro-Alamin, and McCormick (1 996) also found that American Indi- an and Alaska Native students who began postsecondary education were less like- ly than other students to have attained bachelors degrees after 5 years.

    Concern exists that the importance given to admissions test scores tends to restrict access to higher education for American Indian and Alaska Native stu- dents. An analysis of data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 indicated that American Indian and Alaska Native students were less likely than other students to have earned SAT scores high enough to be eligible for admission to selective colleges and universities (Owings, McMillan, & Daniel, 1995). Recent findings have also shown that these same groups are underrepre- sented among students who obtained particularly high scores (top 5%) on the American College Testing Program assessment (Kerr, Colangelo, Maxey, & Christensen, 1992).

    Relatively few researchers have examined the validity of admissions test scores and high school achievement as predictors of college outcomes for Amer- ican Indian and Alaska Native students, and those studies have produced con- flicting results. For example, House and Keeley (1997) found that admissions test scores were significantly related to the grade performance of American Indi-

    Address correspondence to J. Duniel House, ODce of Institutional Research, Northern Illinois University, DeKulb, IL 601 15.

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  • House 681

    an students in college. Other researchers, however, have not found significant relationships between admissions test scores and college grades (Benjamin, Chambers, & Reiterman, 1993).

    Kerb0 (198 1) found that American Indian and Alaska Native students grade performances in high school were significant predictors of grade performance in college. However, Pave1 and Padilla (1993) did not find a significant relationship between high school achievement and subsequent school withdrawal. Conse- quently, it appears that previous research has produced inconsistent results regarding the relationships between admissions test scores, high school achieve- ment, and subsequent outcomes of American Indian and Alaska Native students in postsecondary education. Furthermore, these studies have not contained an assessment of the influence of admissions test scores and high school achieve- ment on the grade performance of these groups in specific college courses that may be critical to continued enrollment in school and to the opportunity to pur- sue careers in fields such as mathematics or science.

    In this study, I investigated the predictive relationships between admissions test scores, high school achievement, and grades in specific college courses. I expected to contribute to the identification of factors that are predictors of the postsecondary achievement of American Indian and Alaska Native students.

    Participants were 98 students (54 men, 44 women, M age = 18.50 years, SD = 0.75) enrolled as new freshmen at Northern Illinois University. The two predictor variables collected for each student were their composite scores on the American College Testing Program (ACT) assessment and their high school class percentile rank. The academic performance of each student was tracked during the first year of college, and the dependent variables I examined were grades earned in 16 cours- es commonly taken during the freshman year.

    The courses were representative of the following four major curricular areas and specific courses:

    1. Mathematics (College Algebra, Trigonometry and Elementary Functions, Finite Mathematics, and Calculus I)

    2. Biological-Physical Sciences (General Biology, Human Biology, Chem- istry, and Introductory Geology)

    3. Social Sciences (Introduction to Anthropology, Introduction to Psycholo- gy, Introduction to Sociology, and Fundamentals of Oral Communica- tion)

    4. Arts-Humanities (Introduction to the Visual Arts, Introduction to Philos- ophy, Rhetoric and Composition I, and Rhetoric and Composition 11).

    Validity coefficients were computed for the relationship between both predictor variables and subsequent grades in each course taken during the first year of post- secondary study.

    Considering the predictive validity of the ACT assessment for course perfor- mance, significant correlations were found for four courses: Chemistry, r( 14) =

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  • 682 The Journal of Psychology

    .626, p < .05; Introduction to Philosophy, r( 14) = .709, p < .05; Introduction to Soci- ology, 49) = .873, p < .01; and Introduction to Psychology, 469) = .240, p c .05. However, none of the correlations between ACT scores and grades in mathematics courses were significant. Considering the predictive relationship between high school class percentile rank and course grades, significant correlations were found for three courses: Introductory Geology, 412) = .653, p < .05; Introduction to Soci- ology, 49) = .774, p < .01; and Rhetoric and Composition I, r(79) = .266, p < .05.

    These results indicate that admissions test scores and high school achieve- ment were significant predictors of the subsequent performance of American Indian and Alaska Native students in specific college courses taken during the first year of study. However, neither high school performance nor admissions test scores were significant predictors of grade performance in mathematics courses. Further study is needed to assess the influence of other factors that may affect course performance, such as cultural identity (Canabal, 1995) or language back- ground (Huffman, Sill, & Brokenleg, 1986). However, the results of this study indicate that, in some instances, admissions test scores and high school achieve- ment are significantly correlated with the grade performance of American Indian and Alaska Native students in their college courses.

    REFERENCES

    Benjamin, D. P., Chambers, S., & Reiterman, G. ( 1 993). A focus on American Indian col- lege persistence. Journal of American Indian Education, 32, 24-40.

    Berkner, L. K., Cuccaro-Alamin, S., & McCormick, A. C. (1996). Descriptive summary of 1989-1990 beginning postsecondary students 5 years later: With an essay on post- secondary persistence and attainment (Report No. NCES96- 155). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

    Canabal, M. E. (1995). Native Americans in higher education. College Student Journal, 29, 455-457.

    House, J. D., & Keeley, E. J. ( 1 997). Predictive validity of college admissions test scores for American Indian students. The Journal of Psychology, 131, 572-574.

    Huffman, T. E., Sill, M. L., & Brokenleg, M. (1986). College achievement among Sioux and White South Dakota students. Journal of American Indian Education, 25, 32-38.

    Kerbo, H. R. (1981). College achievement among Native Americans: A research note. Social Forces, 59, 1275-1 280.

    Kerr, B., Colangelo, N., Maxey, J., & Christensen, P. (1992). Characteristics of academi- cally talented minority students. Journal of Counseling and Development, 70, 606-609.

    Owings, J., McMillen, M., & Burkett, J. (1995). Making the cut: Who meets highry selec- tive college entrance criteria? (Report No. NCES95-732). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

    Pavel, M. D., & Padilla, R. V. (1993). American Indian and Alaska Native postsecondary departure: An example of assessing a mainstream model using national longitudinal data. Journal of American Indian Education, 32, 1-23.

    Tuma, J., Geis, J., & Carroll, C. D. (1995). High school and beyond: Educational attain- ment for 1980 high school sophomores by 1992 (Statistics Report No. NCES95-304). Washington, DC: National Center for Education.

    Received August 20, 1997

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