Masters Thesis

Completion of advanced high school mathematics courses as a predictor of graduation rates among first-time freshmen at CSU Bakersfield

Public institutions of all kinds are being subjected to more accountability by legislators, educators, the media, and taxpayers. But, U.S. colleges and universities that once enjoyed relative freedom from accountability have been increasingly in the spotlight. In light of the recent nationwide recession and painfully slow recovery, college graduation rates are being heavily scrutinized, especially among public community colleges and universities. This study focused on graduates of Kern High School District who enrolled at CSU Bakersfield as first-time freshmen and whether taking advanced mathematics courses improved their odds of completing a college diploma. Binary logistical regression results indicated an overall model including the rigor of students’ last high school mathematics class was reliable in distinguishing between those who graduated with a bachelor’s degree and those who did not. Holding all other variables constant, KHSD students taking any course(s) above Algebra 2 were 3.2 times more likely to complete college in four years. The findings held for five-and six-year college graduation rates as well. Students taking more rigorous mathematics courses were 2.2 times more likely to finish their degree in five years and 1.8 times more likely to finish their degree in six years.

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