A study of first -time -in -college students' college readiness: Using standards from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills and the Elementary Algebra ACCUPLACER
College readiness is one of seven national education priorities (U.S. Department of Education, 2000). A current pressing issue among college mathematics programs is that many students enroll in post-secondary developmental education courses. This is due to academic deficiencies, which prevent students from initially enrolling in college-level mathematics courses. Approximately 41% of first-time freshmen enroll in at least one remedial course in Texas (Perin, 2006). The purpose of this research study was to gain an understanding of the functional relationships among secondary school mathematics curriculum and the criterion-referenced scoring on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) and the Elementary Algebra (EA) ACCUPLACER among 830 first-time-in-college (FTIC) students' college mathematics readiness at a community college district in south central Texas. The Texas Success Initiative (Senate Bill No. 286 78(R)) and the Texas higher education readiness component (Texas Education Code Section 39.028(c)) are policy mandates that influence the rationale for this study. The general research question asked does high school mathematics curricula and performance in Texas prepare students for the study of mathematics in college. Data collection consisted of a review of high school and college transcripts. The research design constituted standard and logistic regression on five research hypotheses. This study showed how participants who met the college ready mathematics standard on the TAKS exit exam increased their mean public high school mathematics grade average by 5.101 points and were nearly four times more likely to have completed advanced levels of high school mathematics exposure (three secondary school mathematics courses versus more than three). Participants who met the college ready mathematics standard on the TAKS exit exam were also five times more likely to meet the college ready mathematics standard on the Elementary Algebra ACCUPLACER and were two times more likely to pass their FTIC term mathematics course (college level or developmental).