, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 199-216

The Minimum Competency Exam Requirement, Teachers' and Students' Expectations and Academic Performance

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This paper analyzes whether the minimum competency exam requirement for high school graduation affects students' academic performance directly or affects the educational process by moderating the effect of teachers' expectations on students' mathematics test score gains, proficiency levels, and high school graduation. Tenth-grade students and their mathematics teachers from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 are analyzed. Contingent, negative associations were found between the minimum competency exam requirement and both mathematics proficiency and performance. The requirement was also not found to be associated with the odds of earning a diploma. In the case of mathematics achievement, teachers' expectations were a more important predictor of learning gains and proficiency than were students' expectations. Students' expectations better predicted who earns a diploma. The minimum competency exam requirement was found to moderate the association between teachers' expectations and mathematics achievement but did not affect the relation between teachers' expectations and high school graduation.