Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Sherwood Thompson

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Second Advisor

James R. Bliss

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Post-secondary education is quickly becoming a requirement for many growing careers. Because of this, an increased focused on post-secondary enrollment and attainment has been seen in the education community, particularly in the K-12 systems. To that end a large number of programs and organizations have begun to provide assistance to these students in the form of academic advising, college coaching, and personal enrichment. Since the enactment of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, there has been a burgeoning population of such programs like the TRIO family.

The purpose of this study was three-fold. The first objective was to determine the demographic characteristics of the students participating in the Educational Talent Search program located at a regional University in south-central Kentucky. Part of this objective, with regards to the demographic characteristics, was to determine if any trends emerged during the analysis of the data collected. The second purpose was to ascertain if there was a relationship of significance between the students' academic performance, participation in ETS activities, and their decision to attend college. Finally, the third objective was to determine if there were any significant relationships between a student's demographic characteristics, academic performance, and his or her participation in ETS activities.

Analysis of the data set yielded no significant relationships between program variables and academic performance or program variables and college enrollment at standardly accepted levels. This hints that the effect of the ETS program on student post-secondary enrollment is either negligible or hidden by the effects of other variables that were not measured in this study. Post-hoc analyses suggested that the effects of the program may be more strongly evidenced in the individual relationships that are built with each student through outside contacts. Several pertinent research questions were provided to address these issues with future studies. Suggestions for policy were provided and include an increased focused on minority populations, more remote counties, and a stronger focus on academic preparation in line with the academic metrics measured in this study.