Effective Practices and Principles of an Internal College Readiness Program Based on Literature, School Staff and Student Perceptions: A Mixed Methods Analysis

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The University of Maryland McNair Scholars Undergraduate Research Journal, Vol. 3, 2011: 115-137.



This triangulated mixed methods study explores the effective elements of college readiness programs by analyzing the existing literature and also school staff and alumni perceptions of their experiences in an internal college readiness program. This study’s significance lays in its ability to answers the call for empirical research on the specific factors of these programs that promote successful college access. While existing studies effectively incorporate either quantitative or qualitative research methods both are somewhat inadequate indicators of effective principles, a combination of the two research methods would provide a more comprehensive explanation of the effective practices and principles of college readiness programs by making note of trends and generalizations as well as an exhaustive knowledge of the participant’s perspectives (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2007). For this reason this study will be incorporating a triangulation mixed-methods approach. The school staff perceptions will be collected in qualitative focus group interviews while alumni student perceptions will be collected through a quantitative survey. The keys findings from the literature show that the important components of an internal college readiness program are: academic preparation; the guidance counselor; teacher involvement; parental involvement; and college publicity. Continuing this research agenda, the researchers will gather data on school staff and alumni student perceptions of their experiences in the chosen internal college readiness program: KIPP Pride High, Gaston. In order to create a blue print for successful internal college readiness programs the following recommendations would be valuable: a comparison of two or more internal college readiness programs to discover more essential components; and a study of students who attend a high school qualifying as a n internal college readiness program but are also enrolled in an external college readiness program to assess if the access to higher education is heightened for that student.