Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Terrence A. Tollefson

Committee Members

Louise L. MacKay, Martha Pointer, Russell F. West


This study was a correlational investigation of the effect of student demographic characteristics, prior academic performance, college academic performance, and college status on general education achievement at a rural community college in Tennessee. The criterion variable in this study was student performance on the Academic Profile examination, a nationally normed standardized test published by the Educational Testing Service that is designed to measure academic skills in general education subject areas.

The population for this study included students at Walters State Community College located in Morristown, Tennessee, who had completed or were nearing completion of a minimum of 60 semester hours required for an associate degree and who had applied for graduation during the academic year 2003. All students in this study sat for the Academic Profile examination as a final requirement for graduation and their scores were posted in the college's student information system. Other data extracted from the student information system and used in this study include race, age, gender, evidence of financial need, zip code of permanent residence, type of degree earned, ACT composite score, placement test requirement, undergraduate grade point average, general education credit hours, grades earned in general education courses, evidence of college preparatory course participation, transfer status, and the dates of first and last terms graded. Variables were analyzed using descriptive techniques appropriate to the level of measurement of each variable including t-tests, analysis of variance (ANOVA), Pearson's r, and stepwise multiple regression.

The statistical analyses indicated that race, age, ACT composite score, placement test requirement, undergraduate and general education GPA, college preparatory course participation, and length of time between first and last semesters had a relationship to student performance on the Academic Profile examination. The ACT composite score was the strongest predictor of student performance on the examination.

Although this study addressed only a small number of variables affecting achievement in general education, it contributes to the literature by identifying interesting relationships among student variables that could be explored. The study also indicates that standardized tests that measure student general education achievement may not be the best assessment measures for public community colleges with open admission policies.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.