The relationship between selected standardized test scores and performance in advanced placement math and science exams: Analyzing the differential effectiveness of scores for course identification and placement

Josue N Urbina, Florida International University

Abstract

There is a national need to increase the STEM-related workforce. Among factors leading towards STEM careers include the number of advanced high school mathematics and science courses students complete. Florida's enrollment patterns in STEM-related Advanced Placement (AP) courses, however, reveal that only a small percentage of students enroll into these classes. Therefore, screening tools are needed to find more students for these courses, who are academically ready, yet have not been identified. ^ The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which scores from a national standardized test, Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/ National Merit Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), in conjunction with and compared to a state-mandated standardized test, Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), are related to selected AP exam performance in Seminole County Public Schools. An ex post facto correlational study was conducted using 6,189 student records from the 2010 - 2012 academic years. ^ Multiple regression analyses using simultaneous Full Model testing showed differential moderate to strong relationships between scores in eight of the nine AP courses (i.e., Biology, Environmental Science, Chemistry, Physics B, Physics C Electrical, Physics C Mechanical, Statistics, Calculus AB and BC) examined. For example, the significant unique contribution to overall variance in AP scores was a linear combination of PSAT Math (M), Critical Reading (CR) and FCAT Reading (R) for Biology and Environmental Science. Moderate relationships for Chemistry included a linear combination of PSAT M, W (Writing) and FCAT M; a combination of FCAT M and PSAT M was most significantly associated with Calculus AB performance. ^ These findings have implications for both research and practice. FCAT scores, in conjunction with PSAT scores, can potentially be used for specific STEM-related AP courses, as part of a systematic approach towards AP course identification and placement. For courses with moderate to strong relationships, validation studies and development of expectancy tables, which estimate the probability of successful performance on these AP exams, are recommended. Also, findings established a need to examine other related research issues including, but not limited to, extensive longitudinal studies and analyses of other available or prospective standardized test scores.^

Subject Area

Education, Tests and Measurements|Education, Evaluation|Education, Gifted|Education, Sciences

Recommended Citation

Urbina, Josue N, "The relationship between selected standardized test scores and performance in advanced placement math and science exams: Analyzing the differential effectiveness of scores for course identification and placement" (2014). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3632565.
https://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI3632565

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