Diverse Students, High School Factors, and Completion Agenda Goals: An Analysis of the Illinois Class of 2003

Bob Blankenberger, Eric Lichtenberger, M. Allison Witt, Doug Franklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Illinois education policymakers have adopted the completion agenda that emphasizes increasing postsecondary credential attainment. Meeting completion agenda goals necessitates addressing the achievement gap. To aid in developing policy to support improved completion, this study analyzes a comprehensive statewide dataset of the 2003 Illinois high school graduating class attending 4-year institutions using Cox regression survival analysis. Study findings indicate that African American (0.768 odds ratio) and Hispanic students (0.746) were significantly less likely to complete a baccalaureate degree within 7 years of graduating from high school when compared with their White peers. Furthermore, significance held regardless of income level. Several factors significantly related to improved likelihood of baccalaureate completion were identified including high school composite American College Testing (ACT) score, dual credit and advanced placement (AP) course taking, type of curriculum, ACT English and mathematics scores, and completing the ACT core curriculum. Analysis was conducted by race and income to compare the differences in significance across these groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)518-545
Number of pages28
JournalEducation and Urban Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • achievement gap
  • curriculum
  • dual credit
  • education policy
  • educational reform
  • multicultural education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Urban Studies


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