ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

W. Bradley Davis


The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA) exams and student performance in associated content-area courses in postsecondary education. While the number of students attending college is projected to increase (Digest of Education Statistics, 2017; National Center for Education Statistics, 2018), many of them may not be prepared for a college education (Greene & Winters, 2005; Porter & Polikoff, 2012; Royster, Gross, & Hochbein, 2015) and are therefore obligated to enroll in developmental education classes (Bailey, Jeong, & Cho, 2010; Scott-Clayton, Costa, & Belfield, 2014). These courses are meant to provide students with the basic skills and content knowledge they should have received in high school (The Alliance for Excellent Education, 2006). However, developmental classes come with several potential consequences, including incorrect placement (Bailey, Jeong, & Cho, 2010; Scott-Clayton, 2012), lengthening the time to degree completion (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2006), inflating the overall cost of college (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2006; Strong American Schools, 2008), and increasing the dropout rate (Bailey, Jeong, & Cho, 2010; NCES, 2004). Course appointments are typically made based on placement exams (Chen & Simone, 2016; College Board, n.d.a). Texas utilizes the TSIA exams, which were mandatory beginning with the fall 2013 cohort (Tex Leg Code §51.333). In this study, I analyze the relationship between the TSIA exams in reading and mathematics and student performance in for-credit freshmen English and math classes. I begin by creating a cross-tabulation table and running a chi-squared analysis to determine if there is a statistically significant relationship between the variables, both measured as binary pass/fail. I follow this with a Pearson r correlation test to examine the strength and direction of the relationship between the variables. For the correlation, I use raw TSIA scores as one continuous variable and course grades, converted into points with A = 4 and F = 0 as the second variable. Finally, if a statistically significant relationship is found in either the chi-squared or Pearson r correlation analyses between exam score and course outcome, I build logistic regression models to determine if the relationship holds in the presence of other factors shown to affect academic performance, including race/ethnicity, gender, parent income, level of parent education, and standardized admission exam scores. Results from these analyses indicate that there is no relationship between student performance on their TSIA reading exam and their results in their for-credit English class. However, there is a small, positive correlation between TSIA math score and grade in credited math. The regression analyses show that the standardized TSIA math score is a significant predictor of performance in for-credit math, although the logistic regression models are not a substantial improvement over the null model and do not account for much of the variance in student course outcomes.


TSIA, Texas Success Initiative Assessments, Standardized testing, College readiness


Education | Educational Leadership


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington