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Created: Dec 3, 2012
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Were Trinity Undergraduate Students Academically Well Prepared for College Level Coursework
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     The purpose of this survey was to evaluate whether Trinity students were academically well prepared for college level coursework. Many students who enter college are not well prepared for the coursework that will be administered to them throughout their college careers. Some students are placed in non-credit preparatory courses for assistantship. Therefore, this survey was designed to evaluate whether or not Trinity students believed they were properly prepared; and if they believe they were not properly prepared, what factors they thought contributed to their incompetence. As a future educator it is important for us to know what we can do to assist future students to prepare them for higher education. This survey shows us the factors that may have contributed to lack of preparedness with college students, which we as future educators can use a guide. Before we administered the survey we hypothesized that Trinity students were not academically well prepared, which will have a steady correlation with the courses they took during high school – Advanced Placement, Honors, or General Education – distractions during freshman year, and Grade Point Average.  

Identify Population or Sample Technique:

     We as a group went to the basement of Main and stood at the Trinity Deli; without any bias we administered the survey randomly to individual Trinity students who passed by.  To yield good reults,we did not take anything into consideration except that the subjects had to be a sophomore or higher. We excluded the freshman because they were currently still transitioning from high school, and they had yet to receive their Grade Point Average. The majority of the students that took the survey were not our friends, but if a friend did pass by the Deli we asked them to take the survey as well. Overall, it was random because everyone was equally likely to be chosen to take the survey as long as they were in the Trinity Deli area.


Descriptive Measures:

     Out of an estimated 700 undergraduate students that attend Trinity Washington University excluding freshman, we sampled 51 students out of the total population. The descriptive measures we used helped us to organize our data to make the information useful. After collecting our data we decided the best way to determine whether our hypothesis was accurate or not was to evaluate which parts of the data was conspicuous. To make the data meaningful we decided to find the average of the different sets of questions we administered. Assessing the average of the information assisted us by allowing us to see the overall position of each section of the survey. For instance, when we grouped together the number of students who admitted to being distracted we recognized that on average a majority of the students were distracted by their social life.

     Also, another descriptive measure we used was mode, to determine what was most frequent among Trinity students. Overall we observed that a majority of the students felt that they were academically prepared for college level coursework, with a B average during their freshman year. The total measure of variation between those who stated they were prepared and those who said otherwise is 42, which is a large gap.

     The best measure of center that befits this data is mode. When we evaluate what occurs the most within the data we are able to assess what is most frequent among Trinity students, which gives us a better understanding the student population. Also, to make the observations more visible we chose to display our graphs in percentages, which gives us an idea of how each data varies.

     We minimized bias by allowing any student (sophomore or higher) an equal chance of taking the survey by randomly asking the students who walked by the Trinity Deli area.


Summary of Statistical Analysis:

     Prior to administering the survey, we hypothesized that if Trinity students were not academically prepared for college, then they would have taken general level courses in high school, had external distracting factors, and a low GPA. Upon reviewing the results the data revealed that our hypothesis was not completely true. Of the fifty one Trinity students surveyed, only eight said they were not academically prepared for college. To understand why select students were not prepared for college we included other variables such as the type of courses the students took in high school, and what type of distractions--if any--could have effected their performance or level of academic preparedness. 62.5% of the students who did not feel prepared for college took general classes throughout high school. On average, students are placed into general classes in high school because they are not capable of completing higher level course work or in the rare occasion that the school does not offer higher level courses. The correlation between students not feeling prepared for college academically, and taking general level classes brings up an unfortunate theory; students taking general classes are not adequately prepared for college. If there is a disconnect between the type of high school coursework, and college level coursework, than the transition between the two will be difficult for those who are not taking higher level courses.

     More students who took AP (Advanced Placement) and honors level courses in high school felt prepared for college compared to those who took general courses in high school. 22% of students who took general classes in high school did not feel prepared for college, while only 8% of the students who took AP and honors level courses. Based on the results, there is clearly a relationship between the type of high school courses taken and academic preparedness, because 60% of the students who felt academically prepared for college took AP and honors classes, and 37% of students who were not academically prepared for college took AP and honors classes.  The 37% had distractions which could have altered or effected academic preparedness. 

     Under the basis that GPA's are a fair measure of a students work ethic, and academic capabilities, we analyzed the students GPA's to see if there was a correlation between ones GPA and academic preparedness. 76% of students who felt prepared for college had a 3.0 B average, while 75% of students who were not prepared for college had a 2.0 C average.Students who did well in school--getting a 3.0 B average--felt prepared, but those who did not do so well--getting a 2.0 C average--did not feel prepared. The students who struggled in high school proceeded to struggle in college which parallels the conclusion addressed with the type of coursework taken in high school. If students are not excelling, and taking higher level courses in high school, adjusting to college will be difficult; leaving students feeling like they were not academically prepared correctly.

     As colleges nationwide recognize there may be many distractions that interfere with a student’s ability to excel in high school, positively or negatively. The fourth question in the survey is as follows, "Do you think there were other factors that contributed to your adjustment to college?" To give students an opportunity to identify factors that may have caused students to have a busy schedule, or lose focus. 13.7% of the students did not have distractions, and only one of them did not have a GPA below a 3.0 B average. This contributes to every parents theory that distractions will decrease ones GPA, as it causes students to have less study and homework time, or a hard time focusing in class. As seen in the pie chart below, 63% of students who earned a 2.0 GPA were distracted by friends or social life.

     The rest of the variables like what type of school the students attended, and in what particular state did not have statistical importance. The data comparing academic preparedness and the type of school was relatively evenly distributed. The difference between students that were home schooled and enrolled in a charter school who were academically prepared is 25%, but the data might not be representative because only one student was home schooled, causing there to be a 100% rate of academic preparedness. The same is true for the students who did not feel prepared for college. Because only one student who was home schooled completed the survey, the data could be misleading due to the lack of home school representation.

     The data explaining the correlation between academic preparedness and state is not relevant, because there is not enough data to describe the population in each state. For instance, only one student surveyed is from Virginia, which does not give us sufficient data to draw conclusions. For the data to be useful, the sample population from each state needs to be the same, to create a basis on which they can be compared.

     From the results, we concluded that the type of courses taken in high school and distractions that can take away from ones academic potential influence academic preparedness. As teachers of the future, this survey has enlightened us to some of the causes that prevent students from academic success; therefore we will use this information later on in our careers.





Result 1: Correlation Between 2.0 GPA and Distractions   [Info]
Right click to copy

Result 2: Academic Preparedness by Courses Taken   [Info]
Frequency table results for Q5 The majority of my high school courses consisted of?:
Group By: Q3 Do you think you were academically prepared for college?

Results for Q3 Do you think you were academically prepared for college?=No
Q5 The majority of my high school courses consisted of? Frequency Relative Frequency
AP 1 0.125
General 5 0.625
Honors 2 0.25

Results for Q3 Do you think you were academically prepared for college?=Yes
Q5 The majority of my high school courses consisted of? Frequency Relative Frequency
AP 13 0.30232558
General 17 0.39534885
Honors 13 0.30232558

Result 3: Type of Courses and Academic Preparedness   [Info]
Frequency table results for Q3 Do you think you were academically prepared for college?:
Group By: Q5 The majority of my high school courses consisted of?

Results for Q5 The majority of my high school courses consisted of?=AP
Q3 Do you think you were academically prepared for college? Frequency Relative Frequency
No 1 0.071428575
Yes 13 0.9285714

Results for Q5 The majority of my high school courses consisted of?=General
Q3 Do you think you were academically prepared for college? Frequency Relative Frequency
No 5 0.22727273
Yes 17 0.77272725

Results for Q5 The majority of my high school courses consisted of?=Honors
Q3 Do you think you were academically prepared for college? Frequency Relative Frequency
No 2 0.13333334
Yes 13 0.8666667

Result 4: Exported data   [Info]
Response_idQ1 What type of school did you go to?Q2 What state do you live in?Q3 Do you think you were academically prepared for college?Q4 Do you think there were other factors that contributed to your adjustment to college?Q5 The majority of my high school courses consisted of?Q6 What was your Grade Point Average during your freshman year?
120490PublicMarylandYesNo distractionsHonors4.0 (A)
120494PublicMarylandYesSports and clubsAP3.0 (B)
120495PublicOtherYesFriends (social life)General3.0 (B)
120497PublicMarylandYesOtherAP3.0 (B)
120502PrivateD.C.YesFriends (social life)General3.0 (B)
120503CharterD.C.YesFriends (social life)AP3.0 (B)
120505CharterOtherNoFriends (social life)Honors3.0 (B)
120506PublicMarylandNoFriends (social life)General2.0 (C)
120507PublicD.C.YesFriends (social life)Honors3.0 (B)
120508PublicD.C.NoFriends (social life)General2.0 (C)
120509CharterD.C.NoFriends (social life)General2.0 (C)
120512PublicMarylandYesSports and clubsHonors3.0 (B)
120513CharterD.C.YesWorkAP2.0 (C)
120514CharterD.C.NoFriends (social life)Honors2.0 (C)
120515PublicD.C.YesFriends (social life)General3.0 (B)
120516PrivateD.C.YesFriends (social life)Honors3.0 (B)
120517PublicMarylandYesNo distractionsAP4.0 (A)
120518PublicNew JerseyYesSports and clubsAP3.0 (B)
120519PrivateNew JerseyNoSports and clubsAP3.0 (B)
120522PrivateMarylandYesFriends (social life)Honors3.0 (B)
120523PublicMarylandNoWorkGeneral2.0 (C)
120527PublicD.C.YesOtherGeneral3.0 (B)
120528PublicMarylandYesSports and clubsAP2.0 (C)
120529PrivateMarylandYesSports and clubsAP3.0 (B)
120530PublicOtherYesFriends (social life)General3.0 (B)
120532PublicOtherYesFriends (social life)Honors3.0 (B)
120533CharterD.C.YesNo distractionsAP3.0 (B)
120535PublicMarylandYesOtherHonors3.0 (B)
120536PublicMarylandNoFriends (social life)General2.0 (C)
120538CharterMarylandYesSports and clubsGeneral3.0 (B)
120540CharterD.C.YesFriends (social life)General3.0 (B)
120541PrivateMarylandYesFriends (social life)General4.0 (A)
120545PrivateVirginiaYesSports and clubsGeneral1.0 (D)
120546PrivateD.C.YesSports and clubsGeneral4.0 (A)
120549Home schooledD.C.YesFriends (social life)AP3.0 (B)
120551PrivateNew YorkYesFriends (social life)Honors3.0 (B)
120552PublicMarylandYesNo distractionsGeneral3.0 (B)
120554PublicOtherYesSports and clubsHonors3.0 (B)
120555PublicD.C.YesFriends (social life)General2.0 (C)
120558CharterOtherYesNo distractionsAP2.0 (C)
120559CharterD.C.YesOtherHonors3.0 (B)
120560PublicMarylandYesNo distractionsGeneral3.0 (B)
120561PublicMarylandYesOtherHonors3.0 (B)
120562PublicNew YorkYesNo distractionsAP3.0 (B)
120564PrivateMarylandYesFriends (social life)General3.0 (B)
120565PrivateMarylandYesFriends (social life)General3.0 (B)
120566CharterNew JerseyYesFriends (social life)AP3.0 (B)
120572PrivateNew JerseyYesFriends (social life)Honors3.0 (B)
120573CharterD.C.YesOtherGeneral3.0 (B)
120574PublicMarylandYesFriends (social life)General3.0 (B)
120587PublicMarylandYesFriends (social life)Honors2.0 (C)

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