High school exit exams have become a popular policy tool in states as well as districts and even schools as a means of improving student achievement and holding students accountable. Despite the extensive use of these exams, the behavioral responses to them and their impact on student outcomes are not fully understood. This study used a nationally representative longitudinal data set—the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002—which tracked students starting in the spring of the 10th grade to explore the extent to which exit exam policies were associated with transfer behavior and student attainment outcomes. Transfer behavior was of interest because past research has found that schools that were successful in improving student achievement outcomes were not as successful in keeping transfer and dropout rates low (Rumberger & Palardy, 2005). Transfer behavior was conceptualized as a mediator to the likelihood of earning a regular high school diploma.
The logistic regression models used to answer the study's research questions found no evidence that statewide exit exams impacted the likelihood of transfer between the 10th and 12th grades or attainment of a regular high school diploma. There was also little evidence that the intensity of the exit exam, as measured using a composite indicator developed by the author, was associated with transfer or attainment outcomes, although the intensity may be influenced by the longevity of the policies.
Using a broader identification of exit exams that incorporated statewide exit exams, school-initiated exit exams, or locally mandated exit exams identified by school administrators, there was some limited evidence that exit exams were associated with an increased likelihood of transfer and decreased likelihood of earning a regular high school diploma. These results were particularly evident for the bottom quartile of performers on an achievement test (those most likely to fail an exit exam), while having no apparent impact on the top quartile of performers. The findings of this study suggest that school-initiated or locally mandated exit exam policies may be a confounding factor in analyses of the impact of statewide high school exit exam policies. Recommendations for future research and policy are discussed.
|Commitee:||Conger, Dylan, Dedmond, Rebecca, El-Khawas, Elaine, Futrell, Mary H.|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||Educational Administration and Policy Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 75/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Education Policy, Secondary education, Public policy|
|Keywords:||Accountability, Attainment, Dropout, Exit exams, Graduation tests, High school completion|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be