Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Effect of Enrollment in Middle School Challenge Courses on Advanced Placement Exams in Social Studies and Science
by Glaude-Bolte, Katherine, Ed.D., Lindenwood University, 2010, 180; 3440201
Abstract (Summary)

Educators seek to guide students through appropriate programs and courses that prepare them for future success, in more advanced coursework and in other challenges of life. Some middle schools offer Challenge, or honors, courses for students who have demonstrated high ability. High schools often offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses, which are taught at the college level. This study examined the correlation between enrollment in middle school Challenge courses and subsequent AP exam category scores in social studies and science in a suburban school district. The independent variables were the number of years of enrollment in middle school social studies or science Challenge courses. The dependent variables were the AP exam category scores in the eight social studies AP courses or the six science AP courses. The sample sizes were limited to the number of students who took an AP social studies or science exam and also attended the middle school of study. The null hypothesis was that there was no relationship between the two variables. This study included eight social studies AP courses and six science AP courses. A significant positive correlation was indicated in only two of the courses, U.S. Government and Comparative Government, supporting the claim that enrollment in middle school Challenge social studies was correlated with success, at least on these two AP exams. In the remaining 12 courses, there was not enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis. Therefore, enrollment in middle school Challenge science and social studies courses generally did not seem to correlate with AP exam category scores. Results of this study call into question the validity of the claim by the district that enrollment in Challenge courses helps prepare students for rigorous coursework in high school. Several factors, including student readiness, teacher training, familiarity with course content, and previous AP experience may contribute more to a student’s AP exam category score. Results also suggest that the district may need to revisit the effectiveness of the Challenge curriculum and the policy of limiting enrollment in Challenge courses.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hedges-Oldani, Vicki
Commitee: Oldani, John, Seiber, Karen
School: Lindenwood University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 72/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational evaluation, Middle School education, Social studies education, Science education
Keywords: Advanced Placement, Advanced Placement courses, Challenge courses, Science, Social studies, Teacher training
Publication Number: 3440201
ISBN: 978-1-124-46748-1
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