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Math Matters: Transition from High School to Postsecondary Education: 1109799

Principal Investigator: Jacqueline Spears
CoPrincipal Investigator(s):
Organization: Kansas State University

This study examines the capacity within the state of Kansas to use two state data bases, Kansas Individual Data on Students (KIDS) for K-12 and Kansas State Postsecondary Database (KSPSD), to inform a discussion between K-12 education and postsecondary education faculty and policy makers about mathematics. Two years of data 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 will be used to:
1. Examine the predictive validity of the K-12 state assessment for the placement of students in postsecondary mathematics courses;
2. Examine the extent to which curricular expectations in a given school district match those required for placement into and success in postsecondary education;
3. Examine the extent the analyses contribute to discussion about policy makers and stateholders in K-12 and postsecondary education.
In addition, a case study will be used to examine the extent curricular expectations in one school district match those required for placement and success in college level mathematics. Findings from the study will be reported to state board members. Researchers from Kansas State University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City will do the analyses. Data will be analyzed from two cohorts of all of the students who attended high schools in Kansas and continued to higher education in the state. The study will produce information about the validity of the high school state assessment to predict success in higher education mathematics and what type of information is informative to policy makers. Results from the study will increase the validity of the high school assessment with the intent of increasing the proportion of students ready to take college-qualifying mathematics.

Data from the two aggregated databases will be analyzed using Hierarchical Generalized Linear Modeling (HGLM). The data sets will include student performance, demographic, high school context, teacher preparation, and student degree of participation in postsecondary education. The analysis will produce data on the relationship of grade 11 mathematics scores and post secondary institution placement scores. The case study will analyze the data for two graduating classes from one high school who enrolled immediately into the community college. This analysis will look more closely at the expectations of the high schools with what is required by higher education. Information from all of the analysis will be given to policy boards to see what is most meaningful to them and what is most useful to develop their capacity to make decisions. Evaluation will be done by a panel review and the Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation.

The opportunity to examine the specific articulation (or not) between K-12 and higher education could be influential for policy makers, the entire K-12, and higher education systems. Results have the potential to reduce inefficiencies in students’ learning progression and extra monetary costs to students for these courses. The study could potentially have a very broad impact. For example, the two assessment consortia funded by Race to the Top grants are grappling with the issue of college-readiness and how to assess it. A carefully done study of this sort could affect policy decisions nation-wide.