Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


Language & Literacy

First Advisor

Diane E DeFord


Research shows that students who take a certain core curriculum are better prepared for college than those students who do not; however, data indicate that taking core courses is not enough: Teachers must assign greater rigor in all courses they teach, especially courses needed for college (Schmeiser, 2007). As early as 1983 the National Commission on Excellence in Education in A Nation at Risk called for high schools to require a minimum common core course curriculum that all high school students must pass to include 4 years of English, 3 years of mathematics, 3 years of science, 3 years of social studies, one-half year of computer science, and for the college bound, 2 years of foreign language. Many states have complied and exceeded that mandate, yet as late as 2006, data suggest that only one fourth of students entering college are sufficiently prepared such that they can pass college courses (ACT, 2006; Dougherty, Mellor, & Jian, 2006). Against a backdrop of a society in which a college education is essential to maintaining a livelihood, researchers report that high schools are failing to prepare students for college and jobs of the future (Eisen, Jasinowski & Kleinert, 2005; Friedman, 2007; Gates, 2005; Wirt, Choy, Rooney, Provasnik, et al., 2004). ] The ACT Profile Report (2010) recommends that there are key indicators that schools can

use to improve scores and increase college readiness: 1) Providing access for more students to take the ACT (or another college placement test), 2) Making core curriculum a priority, 3) Assuring that students are taking the right kind of courses,

4) Increasing rigor of courses, especially the core courses necessary for college, and 5) Planning guidance activities based on students' career and college aspirations. This case study explores the academic preparation and achievement levels of students at one suburban high school in the South to determine student preparation for college as a result of Suburban High School's college preparation program. This study used the above benchmarks and other sources of information as a means of evaluating the adequacy of this school's college preparation program. Secondary school educators and personnel can use the methods used and findings from this study as guidance in evaluating the quality of their college preparation program.