Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Andrea L. Beach


The purpose of this study is, based on the application of Tinto's student persistence theory, to explore whether AP course taking, as one pre-collegiate student background characteristic, impacts college students' persistence, academic achievements, and college completion. This study used the national Beginning Postsecondary Study 96/01 longitudinal data set collected by the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), which includes 12,100 first-time postsecondary beginners over a period of 6 academic years from 1995/96 to 2000/01.

In this study, students were categorized into three groups by their SAT scores. Logistical regression analysis indicated that overall students who took any AP course in high school were more likely to persist in college than their non-AP peers in most SAT categories. Students who took more AP courses were more likely to persist in college than those who took fewer. Multiple regressions analysis suggested that students who took any AP course and more AP courses were more likely to have higher GPAs at different points of time in college. Multiple regressions indicated that the AP taking, and the number of AP course taken contributed significantly to the prediction of time to graduate in most SAT categories. The AP course taking, and the number of AP courses taken are two critical factors in students' college persistence, academic achievements, and time to graduation.

On the other hand, it was found that, at certain SAT categories, AP did not contribute significantly to the regression model of students' time to graduation. This study adds to the literature regarding Tinto's college persistence theory that students' academic integration greatly influences their persistence, college academic performance, and college completion.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access