An analysis of variables affecting standardized test results at the high school level
Warry, Jaye Ellen
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The purpose of this study was to determine the relative contribution to the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) English Language Arts (ELA) of five variables: Type of Community (Urban or Suburban), Gender, Race, Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) Verbal, and PSAT Writing. MCAS is a criterion-referenced examination administered to students at various grade levels to determine their knowledge of approved curriculum. As of 2003, students must pass the mathematics and English language arts sections in order to receive a diploma. Data for the study was gathered from three urban and four suburban school districts in Massachusetts. Data about 914 students was collected from Summer 2001 - Winter 2002. Multiple regression statistical analysis was used to examine the collective and separate contributions of five independent variables; gender, race, type of community (urban or suburban), score on the verbal subtest of the PSAT, and score on the writing subtest to the findings on the dependent variab le - tenth grade language arts achievement on the MCAS. Results of the statistical analyses showed a strong relationship between MCASELA and the five independent variables, with most of the relationship attributable to the PSAT Verbal test results. Three other variables combined - PSAT Writing, Type of Community, and Gender - accounted for just 4% of the additional variance. Step-wise multiple regression analysis indicated that exclusion of Race did not diminish predictiveness, and Gender added very little to predictiveness. PSAT Verbal, PSAT Writing, and Type of Community were the principal contributions to variation in MCAS-ELA in the study. The four null hypotheses and results follow: There is no significant relationship between the dependent variable - MCAS-ELA -- and the independent variables -- Type of Community, Gender, Race, PSA T Verbal, and PSAT Writing - rejected. There is no significant relationship between each independent variable and each of the other independent variables - rejected. There is no significant relationship between the dependent variable and the other variables taken together - rejected. There is no significant additional vanance m MCAS - ELA accou nted for by an independent variable after other variable (s) - responsible for greater contributions to variance - (have) accounted for as much of the variance as possible - accepted.
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