Date of Award

Fall 12-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Chair

Dr. Michael Ward

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

Dr. Gary Peters

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 3

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 4

Dr. James T. Johnson

Abstract

This study was designed to solicit the perspectives of AP and IB graduates who have completed at least one semester of postsecondary education about their experiences while in their respective programs. This study was also conducted to determine whether these IB graduates report that they were better prepared for postsecondary studies than students who participated in the AP program. The researcher was also able to determine whether AP and IB graduates believed they experienced any long-term benefits or detriments by having been in their programs and whether they believed their experiences were worthwhile. Lastly, the researcher was able to determine if the AP and IB graduates were satisfied with their overall high school experience in their respective programs.

It was the researcher's goal to determine whether there were differences in the perceptions of AP and IB program participants regarding their programs' stress levels, long-term benefits and detriments, ACT scores, levels of college preparation, and satisfaction within their program. With the increase in the number of students enrolling in these advanced programs, students and parents should be knowledgeable about the long-term impact of program participation. The researcher's goal for this study was to add to the existing literature pertaining to these programs and believes the findings offer administrators, teachers, and parents a detailed look into these advanced curricula so as to enhance their school's performance and choose the best program for each student.

To investigate the perceptions of the AP and IB graduates, the researcher modified an existing qualitative survey into a Likert scale quantitative survey. The surveys were used to examine the five constructs: stress, college preparedness, long-term benefits and detriments of program participation, ACT scores, and overall satisfaction with their respective program.

Data were collected from the surveys, independent sample t-tests were used, and the researcher found there was not a significant difference between perceived levels of stress by AP and IB graduates; however, both groups of participating graduates did report experiencing high levels of stress. The researcher found there to be significant difference between AP and IB graduates with regard to college preparedness, long-term benefits and detriments, ACT scores, and overall program satisfaction. IB graduates reported a higher sense of college preparedness, more long-term benefits and more long-term detriments from having participated in their program, higher ACT scores, and a higher overall satisfaction rate from their high school experiences.