Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Randall F. Clemens

Second Advisor

Mary Ellen Freeley

Third Advisor

Rosalba Del Vecchio



College-readiness testing has increased drastically over the last thirty years, with increases in the number of Scholastic Achievement Tests and American College Tests taken by students. The number of Advanced Placement tests has also reached an all-time high. With states using these college-readiness assessments as high-stakes exit tests and the socioeconomic benefits connected to college attendance and graduation, the focus on college-readiness assessment has impacted the classroom environment. With more time spent preparing for college-readiness assessments, the environment in which students interact and grow has evolved. This qualitative case study, informed by Freire’s (2000) “banking concept” of education and Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory (1979), involved data collection from two major stakeholder groups in the classroom, students and educators. Eight students, eight teachers, and two administrators were individually interviewed to gather data on the influence of college-readiness testing on attitudes about education. Participant interviews were conducted through video-conference and recorded. Data was transcribed and analyzed, through inductive coding analysis, and recurring themes were identified. Students’ and educators’ perceptions indicated that SAT and ACT preparation in school is insufficient, the SAT and ACT assessments do not align with the standard learning environment, and these assessments are often not an accurate reflection of a student’s academic potential. In addition, AP courses and assessments were perceived to be more valuable and promoted positive perceptions of educators through their dedication to student preparation and success. These themes will help guide educators and curriculum design to foster learning environments that best prepare students for their role beyond the classroom.

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