Preparing for college: identifying the learning and study strategies associated with varying levels of college preparedness in tenth graders

Access full-text files




Campbell, Carol Leanne

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The problem of underprepared college freshmen has been well documented by a number of researchers. Major reforms of the secondary education system in the United States have been launched and yet little progress seems to have been made as documented by a 2004 ACT study which found that American high school students are no better prepared for college than they were 10 years ago despite education reform. While policymakers and educators acknowledge the overwhelming number of underprepared traditional freshmen as well as the probability that such underprepared students are seriously handicapped in their efforts to earn a college degree, two nagging viii question remains: “Why are so many traditional freshmen underprepared?” and “What exactly should be done to reduce the number of underprepared students?” This is a quantitative study which seeks to better understand how a freshman becomes prepared or underprepared for college by identifying associations between levels of college-readiness of a group of tenth graders as measured by the COMPASS assessment of college-readiness and the 10 scales of learning and study skills measured by the Learning and Study Skills Inventory – High School version (LASSI-HS). While few significant differences were noted between the level of preparation and LASSI scale scores, findings of interest included the fact that when participants were grouped by level of preparation in English, reading, writing or math, the most prepared students tended to have lower LASSI-HS scale scores than their less academicallyprepared peers. No significant difference was noted between scale scores when participants were grouped by gender. However, men tended to have a less positive attitude toward education and were less motivated than the women in this study.