Summary of a Study Comparing Accredited and Nonaccredited Grade Twelve Marks As Predictors of Freshmen Marks
By Larry Speiser
SSTA Research Centre Report #14 (1973): 8 pages, $11
 
Purposes of this Study
There was no difference in the value of accredited Grade XII marks and nonaccredited Grade XII marks for predicting marks in University freshmen classes.
Major Findings
Interpretation
Implications
Recommendations  
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THE MOST SIGNIFICANT FINDING AND/OR IMPLICATION OF THE STUDY

There was no difference in the value of accredited Grade XII marks and nonaccredited Grade XII marks for predicting marks in University freshman classes.

THE PURPOSES OF THIS STUDY

(1) To compare, at the Grade XII level, the marks of students of accredited teachers with the marks of students of non-accredited teachers.

(2) To compare the marks described above as predictors of marks received in University freshmen classes.

The procedure employed by the researcher was to analyze the Grade XII marks and the university marks of all freshmen in the College of Arts and Science for the academic years 1970-71 and 1971-72. Sixteen different Grade XII - University sub]ect combinations were examined in the areas of English, social sciences, mathematics, and biology. The study also included other findings such as rural-urban differences, male-female differences, Grade XII - University average comparisons, and the number of students who withdrew from University classes.


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MAJOR FINDINGS

The Grade XII mean for accredited students was higher than the Grade XII mean for non-accredited students in fifteen of the sixteen combinations; the differences ranged from 0.6 to 2.9, with the average difference being 1.83.

The University mean for accredited students was higher than the University mean for non-accredited students in fifteen of the sixteen combinations; the differences ranged from 0.1 to 4.6, with the average difference being 1.62.

The differences between the Grade XII mean and the University mean for accredited students ranged from 10.2 to 24.1, with the average difference being 15.9. For non-accredited' students, the differences ranged from 9.8 to 27.1, with the average difference being 15.7.

The correlation between the Grade XII marks and the University marks was higher for accredited students than for non-accredited students in ten of the sixteen subject combinations, while the correlation was higher for non-accredited students in the other six subject combinations.

Very few rural-urban differences were found, for either accredited students or non-accredited students.

Many male-female differences were found in Grade XII marks, in University marks, and in the correlation between Grade XII marks and University marks, with almost all the differences favouring the females.

The Grade XII Average and the University Average of the students in the study were examined by observing differences according to the number of accredited Grade XII subjects taken by the student, and by observing differences between the least accredited students and the most accredited students. Table I and Figure 1 illustrate that the Grade XII Average and the University Average were not directly related to the number of accredited subject taken by a student. In 1970, the students with six or more accredited Grade XII subjects (22.0X of the 1970 freshmen) had an average of 78.3 in Grade XII and 63.1 in University, while the students with one or no accredited Grade XII subjects (22.2% of the 1970 freshmen) had an average of 76.7 in Grade XII and 62,5 in University. In 1971, the students with nine or ten accredited Grade XII subjects (27.5Z of the 1971 freshmen) had an average of 79.5 in Grade XII and 63.7 in University, while the students with three or fewer accredited Grade XII subjects (28.9Z of the 1971 freshmen) had an average of 77.6 in Grade XII and 60.1 in University. The number of students that withdrew from University classes was examined to determine if the number of accredited Grade XII subjects taken by a student was directly related to the number of University classes from which the student withdrew. The findings indicated no constant relationship and the only trend observed was that the students with the most accredited Grade XII sub]ects (seven in 1970 and ten in 1971) withdrew from fewer University classes than any of the other groups. The findings did indicate a 150X increase from the number of students who withdrew in 1970 to the number who withdrew in 1971. It was also found that more male students withdrew from University classes than female students, and that more urban students withdrew from University classes than rural students.


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INTERPRETATION

The findings indicate that the accusations that have been leveled at accreditation practices must be seriously questioned. The alleged abuses of mark inflation and invalid evaluation are not substantiated by the conclusions of this study. While the criticisms may be valid for isolated instances, the results of this study indicate that the criticisms are not valid on a province-wide scale.

The findings of this study do indicate higher Grade XII marks far accredited students than far non-accredited students, but they also indicate that accredited students and higher marks in University freshmen classes than did non-accredited students; thus, the higher Grade XII marks of accredited students should not necessarily he interpreted as evidence of invalid evaluation by accredited teachers.


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IMPLICATIONS

At the Grade XII level, the lack of accredited-nonaccredited differences in predictability of University marks suggests that accredited Grade XII teachers do not prepare their students for university classes any better than do non-accredited teachers. It could be that Grade XII students do not receive an adequate academic background for University studies because University officials have insufficient representation on Provincial Curriculum Committees, which structure Grade XII courses. Another implication is that the accredited teacher's qualifications in training, experience, specialization, and the Professional Exchange Seminar are not valid indicators of his ability to prepare students for University classes. Closely related to this is the question of why these qualifications do not identify the better teachers. Perhaps the training and the Professional Exchange Seminar have little effect on the efficiency of the teacher. The alleged isolated instances of abuse may have contri- buted to the lack of significant differences between the University marks of accredited students and the University marks of non-accredited students.

At the University level, on the other hand, the lack of difference in predictability between accredited and non-accredited marks could imply that the instructors of freshmen classes are unacquainted with the Grade XII curriculum and teach in a manner that takes little or no account of the academic background of the student. Another possible explanation 5s that instructors of freshmen classes emphasize primarily the cognitive level of memory, so that if the Grade XII student was evaluated on higher cognitive levels, the University mark and the Grade XII mark would indicate mastery of distinctly different kinds of material. This aspect was illustrated by the finding that the University marks in Biology 102 of students accustomed to the inquiry method of the BSCS Biology course in Grade XII were inferior to the marks of students primarily accustomed to rote learning in the traditional Biology course. A further interpretation is that marks awarded in University freshmen classes may reflect invalid or unreliable evaluation procedures. This is supported by the finding that the marks for a University freshmen class vary considerably from one year to the next (for example, Math 102 marks for 1970 and for 1971).

Since the relationship between the Grade XII Average and the University Average was not directly related to the number of accredited Grade XII subjects taken by the student, an important implication derived from the findings is that there is no reason to discriminate between accredited students and non-accredited students in the awarding of scholarships and bursaries. Accredited Grade XII marks and non-accredited Grade XII marks do not differ in predicting University marks, especially in terms of Grade XII Averages and University Averages (see Table I and Figure 1); thus, neither accredited students nor non-accredited students are being discriminated against by combining the groups for purposes of determining scholarship and bursary recipients.

The finding that Grade XII Averages were slightly higher for 1971 than for 1970, but that the rise was not related to the number of accredited Grade XII subjects taken by the student, implies that factors other than accreditation were responsible for this rise. For example, perhaps the number of unemployed University graduates prompted the students with mediocre Grade XII achievement not to enroll at University.

Similarly, the finding that University Averages were slightly lower for 1971 than for 1970, but that the decline was not related to the number of accredited Grade XII subjects taken by the student, indicates that factors other than accreditation were responsible for this decline. Instructors of freshmen classes may have been convinced that accreditation practices were responsible for the lowering of academic standards; this conviction might well create the psychological effect of attempting to raise academic standards with more severe evaluation.

Finally, regarding University dropouts, the finding that the percentage of students withdrawing from one or more freshmen classes increased from 1970 to 1971 by 150Z, but that this increase was not related to the number of accredited Grade XII subjects taken by the student, suggests that factors other than accreditation were responsible for this spectacular increase. The prevailing attitude among some young adults may be that University education is irrelevant and is no guarantee that employment will be found. This could be a major reason for the great increase in the number of students withdrawing from University classes.


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RECOMMENDATIONS

The following recommendations are based on this study's findings:

1. Accreditation by teacher by subject should be permitted and encouraged by both provincial and local educational authorities.

2. The University faculty should have more adequate representation on Provincial Curriculum Committees.

3. Accredited teachers should have improved pre-service and in-service programs.

4. School boards, administrators, and teachers---individually and collectively, should assume their appropriate responsibilities in supervising the practice of accreditation to guard against the possible isolated instances of abuse; this will ensure that prospective employers and institutes of post-secondary education will not have reason to question the validity of accredited marks.


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