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ERIC Number: ED525145
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Pages: 39
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Ready to Go: Using the EXPLORE Test to Increase 8th Grade Readiness for Success
Rochford, Joseph A.; O'Neill, Adrienne; Gelb, Adele
Stark Education Partnership
During the 2009-10 academic year, 1,444 8th grade students in the Canton City, Plain and Marlington Local School Districts (hereafter called Stark students) took the EXPLORE Test as part of a pilot project, "Ready to Go: Increasing Eighth Grade Readiness," sponsored by the Stark Education Partnership with funding from the Ohio College Access Network. EXPLORE tests students on English, math, reading and science and measures progress towards college and career readiness through "College Readiness Standards." In addition to the test itself, questions in EXPLORE about career and post secondary plans were reviewed as well as data from pre and post surveys administered to parents, students, curriculum directors and teachers. There were seven major findings from the EXPLORE Test: (1) Stark County students in the aggregate are performing above the national average on all sections of EXPLORE; (2) Sub-group performance gaps on the basis of race are evident in EXPLORE; (3) Sub-group performance gaps on the basis of gender are evident with females outperforming males on all categories except mathematics. Both genders exceed "College Readiness Standards" on English with females also exceeding on reading; (4) The higher their EXPLORE score, the less indecision students show about post secondary education plans. Students with lower scores seem to select other post secondary options than college more often, such as training, apprenticeship or military; (5) Undecided, non-responsive and "other plans" answers aside, only a handful (less than 1%) of students see no need to finish high school or obtain further training; (6) Even without further interventions to accelerate progress, districts should see increases in their college going rates; and (7) Even without further interventions to accelerate progress, all districts should see increases in their average ACT Composite scores based on the current performance of this cohort of students. Seven findings from the surveys supported the effectiveness of EXPLORE as a college readiness intervention. These are: (1) In general, curriculum directors saw positive changes in teacher familiarity about the purpose and use of the EXPLORE Test; (2) There was growth in the percentage of students who considered it "very likely" that they would eventually get a college degree; (3) Students felt that they gained in knowledge about what coursework was necessary to succeed in college or the workplace; (4) A large percentage of parents in all three districts believe that their students will go on to college. This percentage increased from the fall to the spring administrations of the survey; (5) Cost was the primary reason why some parents thought it was not possible for their student to go on to college; (6) The majority of middle school faculty believed before and after EXPLORE that grades 6-8 is the time to start thinking about college; and (7) Faculty gained knowledge about high school success skills and EXPLORE's College Readiness Standards. The results of "Ready to Go: Increasing Eighth Grade Readiness" have demonstrated that the EXPLORE test can be a valuable middle school intervention to help prepare students for college and career readiness. Appended are: (1) Additional Response by Plain Local; and (2) Survey Instruments. (Contains 3 charts and 10 tables.) [Funding for this paper was provided through the Ohio College Access Network (OCAN).
Stark Education Partnership. 400 Market Avenue North Suite B Plaza, Canton, OH 44702. Tel: 330-452-0829; Fax: 330-452-2009; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stark Education Partnership
Identifiers - Location: Ohio