Year of Publication

2009

Season of Publication

Summer

Paper Type

Master's Thesis

College

College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Joyce T. Jones

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Ramsey-Smith

Third Advisor

Dr. Henry B. Thomas

Fourth Advisor

Dr. John J. Venn

Fifth Advisor

Dr. David Wittinghill

Department Chair

Dr. John J. Venn

College Dean

Dr. Larry G. Daniel

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the effectiveness of the arts magnet high school in preparing its graduates for college readiness from the threshold of college admission (high school grade point average and achievement scores) through matriculation to the type of baccalaureate degree awarded.

The setting was 15 public arts magnet high schools and 15 randomly-selected public traditional high schools and the Florida State University System of 11 postsecondary institutions. The research population was four 6-year cohorts of graduates of the 30 high schools in the present study (N = 8,967). Logistic and linear regression techniques, college admission data (grade point average and achievement scores) and college participant data (number of terms to degree, changes in college major, college GPA) were used to predict college success.

The results of logistic regression (N = 8,967) showed no statistically significant difference in achievement test scores and grade point average between arts magnet graduates and the comparison group. The present study found no evidence of instrumental value to the arts experience as measured in standardized test scores and grade point average. The findings of the present study were congruent with the results of other arts magnet high school research studies repmied in the literature. The majority of Florida's arts magnet high schools when compared to high schools in their respective districts present lower dropout and absenteeism rates and higher graduation rates. The results of chi-square test of independence indicated that arts magnet high school graduates who chose arts-based college majors were more likely to remain stable in their choice through baccalaureate degree than any other subgroup in the research sample including both traditional high school graduates and arts magnet graduates choosing other majors (p < .001).

It follows that for the years studied in this research, arts magnets brought great diversity to the State University System. By ethnicity, minorities represented 47.4% (n = 1,826) of arts magnet research sample (n = 3,846). A chi-square test of independence indicated that Black males graduating from arts magnet high schools were more likely to complete to a college degree (p < .001) than those in traditional high schools. Overall, the demographic analysis of the present study provides strong evidence that arts magnet high schools have achieved the education diversity goals of the magnet concept.

The findings of the present study support effectiveness of arts magnet schools as a public policy vehicle of school choice, equity, quality, and accountability. Arts magnet schools represent a paradigmatic shift in how public schools offer choice to parents. The present study found that graduates of arts magnet high schools are equally prepared for competitive college admission into state universities with a value-added component of an intensive arts curriculum and positive secondary school climate.

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