Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Shirley A. Freed

Second Advisor

Diane Chaddock

Third Advisor

Naomi Ludman


Purpose. The purpose of this study was to use quantitative and qualitative data to describe the transition recent high-school graduates made to a small, rural community college. Both the students’ academic preparation and their own perceptions about their preparedness for college were described.

Method. Data from the transcripts of high-school graduates were examined using Chi square, tests of independent means, and analyses of variance to test the relationship to placement in developmental classes. The data included senior year course selections, the number of units taken in math, English, and textbook-dependent courses, and grade point averages in math, English, and textbook-dependent courses. Fifteen students were interviewed about their transition experiences.

Results. Students who took math during their senior year were more likely to test out of developmental math. Students who tested out of developmental math were found to have earned higher GPAs in high-school math, English, and textbook-dependent courses, and took significantly more units in math than those students who tested into developmental math. Students who tested out of English and reading had higher GPAs in English and textbook-dependent courses. Students who tested out of all developmental courses had significantly higher GPAs in math, English, and textbook-dependent courses. An analysis of the interview transcripts revealed several themes: students perceived a gap between the academic requirements of the high-school curriculum and those of college; students identified study behaviors and expectations required in college that were not required in high school. Guidance and support, both from the high-school staff and from parents, were identified as important components in a successful transition to college.

Conclusions. High-school and college administrators should work together to address the academic preparation of college-bound high-school students. Future research should include investigating the exit competencies required for high-school graduation and their relationship to entrance requirements of college.

Subject Area

College freshmen, High school seniors, College entrance achievement tests, Universities and colleges--Entrance examinations.

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