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Demographic and Academic Characteristics Associated with College Readiness and Early College Success in the Republic of the Marshall Islands

Region:
Pacific
Description:

The purpose of this study was to examine college readiness and early college success of students who graduated from Republic of the Marshall Islands high schools and enrolled at the College of the Marshall Islands between 2015 and 2017. It also examined the relationships between student characteristics and college readiness and early college success. The study’s sample included 482 students. College readiness and early college success was defined as meeting all three of the following indicators: placement into only credit-bearing math and English courses at college, earning all credits attempted during the student’s first year of college, and persistence into a second year of college. Using existing data, the study involved calculation of descriptive statistics to describe the percentage of students who demonstrated college readiness and early college success. Multiple logistic regression models determined which student demographic and academic preparation characteristics predicted two indicators of college readiness and early college success. The study results show that 3 percent of all students demonstrated college readiness and early college success based on meeting all three indicators. The extent to which students met individual indicators varied: 5 percent placed into only credit-bearing math and English courses, 19 percent earned all credits attempted during their first year at the College of the Marshall Islands, and 53 percent persisted into a second year of college. Results found that high school grade point average, high school, and gender each predicted at least one of the individual indicators of college readiness and early college success. Specifically, students with a higher high school grade point average were more likely than other students to earn all credits attempted and persist into a second year of college. Additionally, graduates from one public high school were more likely than others to earn all credits attempted. Finally, male students were more likely than female students to persist into a second year of college. These findings suggest that relatively few students met all indicators of college readiness and early college success, but over half persisted into a second year of college. Monitoring students’ grade point averages in high school, learning more about why female students are less likely to persist, and examining how academic preparation practices vary across high schools could help inform efforts to support college readiness and early college success among students while they are in high school. Additionally, if apparent difficulties in placing into only credit-bearing courses persist, stakeholders could consider additional ways to support students. Stakeholders could also consider whether the current placement system that the College of Marshall Islands uses to determine student course placement should be modified.

Publication Type:
Descriptive Study
Online Availability:
Publication Date:
March 2021