College readiness refers to factors that both prepare students for college and that enable them to succeed in college. According to the research, the elements that lead to college readiness include institutional academic preparation (Conley, 2008; Pike & Saupe, 2002; Schomaker, 2011; Gewerts, 2009; Adelman, 2006; Rogers, 2010; Edmund & Berntein, 2010; Kim & Bragg, 2008; Ongaga, 20100, familial influences (Holcomb-McCoy, 2010; Martinez, Cortez, & Saetnz, 2013; Herndon & Hirt, 2004), and individual student characteristics (Komarraju, Ramsey, Rinella, 2012; Matthews-Armstead, 2002; Allen, 1999). When students are prepared for college, they are more successful and consequently persist; therefore, college readiness should ultimately lead to degree attainment. The purpose of this study was two-fold: to examine perspectives of leaders in five Minnesota public schools where students attended college at rates higher than the state average and to address underrepresented student college enrollment rates in Minnesota. Leaders interviewed in this study included principals, assistant principals, deans, and counselors. Schools were selected where the college-enrolling population and the underrepresented populations were both above state averages. Underrepresented populations for this study were defined as any non-White student groups and included all students qualifying for free or reduced lunch regardless of race or ethnicity. Data used in this study included interview data from school leaders at all study sites. This information was used to gain the perspectives of leaders from schools considered successful using the criteria guiding this study. Additionally, this analysis employed data from the Minnesota Department of Education to ascertain college enrollment and persistence rates of students from all study sites. This study examined factors that lead to college readiness and identified schools with leadership that sought to implement strategies that addressed the elements of college-readiness. The focus of the study was on perspectives of leaders within schools regarding college readiness factors and how each school addressed those characteristics. This study concluded that leaders in the study sites sought to engage all students in rigorous courses through flexible, open access to advanced programming. School leaders also enlisted the use of programs that taught students skills needed to navigate both advanced course work and post-secondary systems in an attempt to make transitions seamless. The education leaders in the study sites also sought to address key elements of college readiness. That is, school leaders fostered schools that were inclusive and sought to engage families and mold key student attributes, factors that other practitioners often consider outside of the school’s control.
University of Minnesota D.Ed. dissertation. 2017. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisor: Nicola Alexander. 1 computer file (PDF); 163 pages.
An Exploratory Study Of Leadership Perspectives: Underrepresented Populations And College Enrollment.
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