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Panelists Discuss Academic Performance, Testing, and Friendship

“Predicting Academic Performance of African American Students: A Validation Study”

—Mark V. Palumbo, Department of Psychology

In a previous line of research by Palumbo, Steele-Johnson, Miller, & Day (2006) sought to validate whether a test of study skill knowledge was an effective predictor of academic success for African American students. This presentation reports on whether using a test which more completely assessed two knowledge types, Basic knowledge (ie., “what” to do in a task, “how” to do it) and Application knowledge (ie., knowing “when” and “why” to do something), was an effective predictor of achievement for Blacks. The presentation also provides a comparison of the test and SAT scores to predict College GPA.

“Would You Pass the Test?: How Education Reform is Moving Students in the Wrong Direction”

—Laurin Jefferson, English Department

With the constant pressure of test scores and peer competition, students are focusing on getting the “right” answers on standardized tests instead of gaining knowledge such as critical thinking, communication, reading and writing skills. This presentation addresses questions such as “are crucial skills, such as reading and writing fluency, being dismissed based on the need for achievement on standardized tests?” and “do these reading and writing scores accurately present student success and predict achievement in introductory college level writing courses?” It also examines how SAT scores correlate to students’ abilities in composition and reading.

“Friendship Patterns Among Female African American College Students”

—Beverly J. Goodwin, Department of Psychology

This presentation shares the findings of a recent literature review on friendship patterns among African American women (Goodwin, 2012) and a study conducted several years ago on the friendship patterns of female African American students at IUP (Goodwin & Delazar, 1999). This presentation discusses challenges when attempting to undertake such research and discusses considerations for future investigations on this topic.

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