Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

Sub-Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Susan Schramm-Pate

Abstract

The purpose of this quantitative action research study was to describe the effectiveness of the American College Testing (ACT) KeyTrain program in the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC), conducted with 50 inmate-student-participants who were enrolled in the Palmetto Unified School District’s Tyger River High School’s (TyRCI) adult education program. The identified problem of practice for this dissertation in practice (DiP) was an evaluation of the effectiveness of this program for one group of low socioeconomic status Black male inmate-student-participants. This evaluation was of vital importance to the Palmetto Unified School District (PUSD) and SCDC because ACT WorkKeys is one of the educational opportunities offered to inmate-students in an effort to improve the reintegration of inmates into society through reduced recidivism. Surveys, questionnaires, ACT KeyTrain curricula, and official ACT WorkKeys scores constituted the data for this research. Inmate-student-participant performance and patterns were described using a statistical t test. A correlation test was employed to describe the predictive ability of the ACT KeyTrain program. The primary research question “How effective is the ACT KeyTrain program at predicting and improving ACT WorkKeys performance for 50 low socioeconomic-status, Black, male inmate-students in South Carolina?” drove the data collected in this study that implies that the ACT KeyTrain program was not effective in improving ACT WorkKeys performance for 50 low-SES Black male inmate-student-participants at TyRCI. However, when accounting for inmate-student “work ethic” (defined and quantified through a quality study time statistic), the data collected in this study showed that the ACT KeyTrain program was somewhat effective in improving ACT WorkKeys performance for 50 low-SES Black male inmate-student-participants at TyRCI. The researcher-participant reflected on the data with the inmate-student-participants to design an action plan for the school. Based on feedback from inmate-student-participants, Tyger River High School will continue to use and expand the use of ACT KeyTrain to prepare inmate-students for ACT WorkKeys

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