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Factors Predicting College Readiness and Early College Success: An Exploratory Study of High School Students' Demographic and Academic Characteristics In the Republic of Marshall Islands

Region:
Pacific
Abstract:

Description: College readiness and early college success are of major concern in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), as more than 75% of recent incoming students at College of the Marshall Islands (CMI) are initially placed in non-credit developmental courses rather than credit-bearing courses. Enrolling in non-credit bearing courses can have negative implications for students, and the lack of research around predictors of college readiness and early college success in this population makes it difficult to intervene and support at-risk students before they enroll in college. Therefore, the RMI Ministry of Education and CMI have expressed a need to learn more about college readiness and early college success among students in the RMI, as well as whether various factors—especially potentially malleable factors, such as high school academic preparation—are associated with college readiness and early college success in this population.

Using existing data, this project will examine various demographic and academic preparation characteristics of three cohorts of recent graduates from the RMI public school system who enrolled in CMI from 2013 through 2015. The study will also examine which demographic and academic preparation characteristics predict college readiness and early college success among these students. Understanding these factors is critical to RMI's efforts to provide high school experiences that will better prepare all students for future college success, and the study's findings are intended to inform changes to policy and practice earlier in the pipeline to college.

Research Questions:

  1. What were the demographic and academic preparation characteristics of students who graduated from RMI high schools between 2013 and 2015 and enrolled as first-year students at the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI)?
  2. What percentage of recent high school graduates in the RMI who enrolled as first-year students at CMI demonstrated college readiness and early college success based on meeting all three indicators examined for this study: enrollment in only credit-bearing English and math courses at the CMI, earning all credits attempted during their first semester at CMI, and persistence into a second year of college?
  3. Among recent high school graduates in the RMI who enrolled as first-year students at CMI, how does college readiness and early college success (based on meeting all three indicators examined for this study) vary by demographic and academic preparation characteristics?
  4. What demographic and academic preparation characteristics of recent high school graduates in the RMI who enrolled as first-year students at CMI predict college readiness and early college success (based on meeting all three indicators examined for this study), after controlling for other factors?

Study Design: For this descriptive and correlational study, the REL Pacific research team will conduct descriptive analyses to characterize the demographic and academic preparation characteristics of RMI high school graduates who enrolled at CMI as first-year students from 2013 to 2015. In addition to determining the percentage of these students who demonstrated college readiness and early college success based on the three indicators for this study, the research team will also describe how college readiness and early college success vary based on these students' demographic and academic preparation characteristics. Finally, the research team will conduct multiple logistic regression analyses to examine what demographic and academic preparation characteristics predict college readiness and early college success among these students.

Projected Release Date: Fall 2020

Partnership or Research Alliance: Republic of the Marshall Islands Partnership for College and Career Readiness and Success

Study Related Products: Stated Briefly report
Making Connections report

Principal Investigators & Affiliation:
Lisa Shannon, Director of Research and Evaluation, Magnolia Consulting, LLC
Dale Lewis, acting director of REL Pacific at McREL International
Max Altman, Researcher, McREL International