High school students' content mastery as measured by the Mississippi Department of Education Subject Area Tests

Sandra Lane Reed

Abstract

The primary purpose of this study was to determine if there was a correlation between course grades assigned to high school students by high school teachers and content mastery of Algebra I, Biology I, and U.S. History from 1877 as measured by the Mississippi Subject Area Tests. The correlation of male and female students' course grades and content mastery as measured by the Mississippi Subject Area Tests were examined to determine if there was a difference between the two groups. The sample included 121 students of a Mississippi public high school who took the Mississippi Subject Area Tests in Algebra I, Biology I, and U.S. History from 1877 during their high school years (1996-2000). The students all attended the same high school without interruption during their entire high school careers and took the aforementioned Mississippi Subject Area Tests at the respective high school. Student registration records were reviewed and a list of students who met the subject criteria was formulated. The cumulative records of each subject were reviewed and the appropriate test scores were documented on a data collection sheet. During the data collection phase, documentation was also made of the gender of each subject. The researcher reviewed the data to ensure that group sizes were appropriate for the study. The hypotheses were examined utilizing correlational analysis. The Pearson product moment correlation coefficients were determined by comparing Subject Area Test Scores in Algebra I to teacher-assigned grades in Algebra I, Subject Area Test Scores in Biology I to teacher-assigned grades in Biology I, and Subject Area Test Scores in U.S. History from 1877 to teacher-assigned grades in U.S. History from 1877. The Pearson product moment correlation coefficients were examined to determine if there was a visual difference in the correlations for male and female students. Overall, findings of this study suggest a positive relationship between teacher-assigned grades and the corresponding Mississippi Subject Area Test Scores; however, the relationship is lacking in magnitude. There were no significant differences in concurrent validity based on gender noted in the results of the study.