Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Davis, James.

Committee Member

Williams, Frankie K.

Committee Member

King, Stephanie B.

Committee Member

Wiseman, William M.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Leadership and Foundations


In this educational study, the research problem was that each semester a variable number of community college students are unable to complete an introductory computer applications course at a community college in the state of Mississippi with a successful course letter grade. Course failure, or non-success, at the collegiate level is a negative event for students and is a factor that leads to high attrition but does not always receive much research (Haynes Stewart et al., 2011). The purpose of this study was to see if a relationship existed between ACT scores (i.e., English, reading, mathematics, science reasoning, and composite) and student success in a computer applications course at a Mississippi community college. The first research question examined to see if the ACT composite test score was a statistically significant predictor of success in a computer applications course at a Mississippi community college. The second research question studied the ACT sub scores in English, reading, mathematics, and science reasoning to see if they were statistically significant predictors of success in the same course. Demographics of the sample were gathered from a multi-campus Mississippi community college along with the ACT scores and final grade in the computer applications class of the sample. Descriptive statistics were run and reported on the demographic data while bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions were utilized to examine predictability of the ACT scores in relation to course final grade. The time period covered by this study was from fall 2010 through spring 2012 excluding the summer semesters. The study showed that while the ACT scores were excellent predictors of inclusion in the success category, the ACT scores did a very poor job of predicting non-success. The study concluded with a summary of the findings as well as limitations of the study. Also discussed were recommendations for practitioners and policy makers to include making the information available to students, teachers, advisors, and administration as an advisement tool when deciding to take the computer applications class. As well, recommendations for future research include treating withdrawals separately, examining multiple schools for differences, and increasing internal validity.