Thursday, November 6, 2014

Factors Influencing Student Outcomes and How They Interact - 03 - ACT and SAT Participation

In response to the feedback received on "Educational Funding and Student Outcomes: The Relationship as Evidenced by State-Level Data," the KASB Research Department is working on a "Part II" which will dig further into other factors that impact student outcomes, and how funding impacts when these other factors are taken into consideration.

In this series of blog posts, I will describe the preliminary correlation analysis comparing these factors (independent variables) with each other in an attempt to show how closely tied to each other they are.  

Today's topic is ACT and SAT Participation

As discussed in Part I, the percent of graduates taking the ACT (as reported by ACT) and the percent of graduates taking the SAT (as reported by NCES) has an impact on the overall outcomes for these assessments at the state level.  However, the correlation analysis also found that these percents are related to quite a few of the other independent variables as well.

There is a strong negative correlation between the percent of graduates taking the ACT and the percent of graduates taking the SAT; which is to be expected.  

In terms of other independent variables, I will list the interactions in terms of the strength of the highest correlation between variables observed; Strong (+/- 1.0 to 0.5), Moderate (+/- 0.5 to 0.3), Weak (+/- .03 to 0.1), and None or Very Weak (+/- 0.1 to 0.0).

Strong

  • The percent of graduates taking the ACT has a strong negative correlation with state cost of living (RPP), and the percent of graduates taking the SAT has a strong positive correlation with RPP.  This means the ACT is more likely to be taken in states with lower cost of living; whereas the SAT is more likely to be taken in states with higher cost of living.  
  • There is no correlation between the percent taking the ACT and the percent with at least a high school diploma, but there is a moderate negative correlation between the percent taking the ACT and the percent with at least a bachelors or at least a graduate degree; indicating that students from states with a higher percent of college degree earners are less likely to take the ACT.  There is no correlation to a weak positive correlation between the percent taking the SAT and the percent with at least a high school diploma, and a strong positive correlation between the percent taking the SAT and the percent with at least a bachelors or at least a graduate degree; indicating that students from states with a higher percent of college degree earners are more likely to take the SAT. 

Moderate

  • There is a moderate positive correlation between the percent taking the ACT and the percent eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and a weak negative relationship between the percent taking the SAT and the percent eligible for free or reduced-price lunch; meaning students from states with higher percents of free or reduced-price lunch participants are more likely to take the ACT and less likely to take the SAT.  
  • There is a moderate negative relationship between the percent of graduates taking the ACT exam and teacher salary, and a moderate to strong positive relationship between the percent of graduates taking the SAT exam and teacher salary; meaning students from states with higher average teacher salaries are less likely to take the ACT and more likely to take the SAT.  This relationship remains moderate when adjusted for inflation (CPI2014), but becomes weak or non-significant when controlled for state cost of living (RPP).  
  • There is a moderate negative relationship between the percent of graduates taking the ACT exam and per pupil spending, and a moderate to strong positive relationship between the percent of students taking the SAT and per pupil spending; meaning students from states spending less on education are more likely to take the ACT and less likely to take the SAT.  This relationship remains strong when adjusted for inflation (CPI2014), but becomes moderate when adjusted for state cost of living (RPP).  
  • There is a moderate positive correlation between the percent taking the ACT and poverty, and a weak to moderate negative correlation between the percent taking the SAT and poverty; meaning students from states with higher poverty are more likely to take the ACT and less likely to take the SAT.  
  • There is a moderate negative correlation between percent taking the ACT and population per square mile, and a strong positive correlation between percent taking the SAT and population per square mile; indicating that students from less densely populated states are more likely to take the ACT and less likely to take the SAT. 
  • There is a moderate negative correlation between percent taking the ACT and personal or household income, and a moderate positive correlation between percent taking the SAT and personal or household income.  This is consistent when adjusting for inflation (CPI2014) and cost of living (RPP); meaning students from states with lower average income are more likely to take the ACT and less likely to take the SAT. 

Weak

  • There is a weak positive correlation between the percent of graduates taking the ACT and period, but no significant correlation between the percent of graduates taking the SAT and period; suggesting more students are taking the ACT each year, while the percent taking the SAT remains constant on the average.  
  • There is a weak negative correlation between the percent taking the ACT and the percent served under IDEA, but a weak positive correlation between the percent taking the SAT and the percent served under IDEA; indicating that students in states with higher percents of special education students are less likely to take the ACT and more likely to take the SAT.
  • There is a weak negative correlation between the percent taking the ACT and the percent participating in ELL programs, and a weak positive relationship between the percent taking the SAT and the percent participating in ELL programs; meaning students from states with higher percents of students in ELL programs are less likely to take the ACT and more likely to take the SAT.  
  • There is a weak positive correlation between percent of white students in a state and percent taking the ACT, and a weak negative correlation between percent taking the SAT and percent of white students in a state.  This relationship is reversed when looking at percent of Hispanic students in a state; meaning states with more white students and fewer Hispanic students are more likely to take the ACT and less likely to take the SAT.  There is no correlation between percent of black students and ACT or SAT participation.  There is no correlation between percent of Native American or Alaska Native students in a state and percent taking the ACT, but there is a weak negative relationship between percent of Native American or Alaska Native students and percent participation on the SAT; meaning students from states with a larger percent of American Indian or Alaska Native students are less likely to take the SAT. 
  • There is no correlation between percent of graduates taking the ACT exam and student-teacher ratio, but there is a weak negative correlation between percent of graduates taking the SAT and student teacher ratios; indicating graduates from states with more students per teacher are less likely to take the SAT.
  • There is a weak negative correlation between the percent taking the ACT and spending on instruction as a percent of current spending, and a weak positive correlation between the percent taking the SAT and spending on instruction as a percent of current spending; meaning students coming from states where more of the overall spending goes to expenses classified as "instruction" are less likely to take the ACT and more likely to take the SAT.  There is no correlation between the percent of students taking the ACT and spending on instruction as a percent of total revenue, and a weak positive correlation between percent taking the SAT and spending on instruction as a percent of total revenue. 

None or Very Weak

  • No correlations with ACT and SAT participation yielded very weak or non-significant results

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