The effect of the Missouri A+ Program on the preparation, performance, and persistence of first-time, full-time community college students
The purpose of this study was to provide a measure of the impact of the A+ Program on student preparation, performance, and persistence at a rural community college in southwest Missouri. This quantitative group comparison study was designed as an ex post facto examination of the effects of the Missouri A+ Program.
To gain the greatest understanding of the impact of the A+ Program on college student behavior three separate group comparisons were made: (1) A+ students (A+) versus Non-A+ students (NA+), (2) A+ schools (A+/A+ & NA+/A+) versus NA+ schools (NA+/NA+), and (3) A+ students from A+ schools (A+/A+) versus NA+ student from A+ schools (NA+/A+) versus NA+ students from NA+ schools (NA+/NA+). Preparation was measured by results of the community college's entrance and placement testing program, performance was measured by first semester grade point averages (GPA's), and persistence was indicated by freshmen fall-to-spring re-enrollment rates.
The population for this study included 1,395 students (576 A+ and 819 NA+). The sample was limited to 963 students (524 A+ and 439 NA+) from 122 Missouri high schools (A+ schools = 68 and NA+ schools = 54). The population and sample were made up of first-time, full-time, direct entry students.
Logistic Regression Analysis and ANOVA were used to analyze the 27 null hypotheses that were formed from three research questions. The findings support several general conclusions regarding preparation, performance, and persistence: (1) A+ students outpaced NA+ students on all three measures, (2) Curricular reforms alone were not sufficient to generate significant improvement in any category, (3) Students who failed to participate in the A+ program (NA+/A+), even though the program was available at their high school, recorded the lowest levels of all, and, (4) Even after controlling for Minority Status, School Size, Pell Eligibility, and Student Gender it was clear that they are all important contributors to college preparation, performance and persistence.
0275: Community colleges