Theses Doctoral

USMAPS English: Needless Detour, or Pathway to Success?

Jebb, Joel Edward

For almost seventy years, the United States Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS) has been the official preparatory school for West Point, yet during that time no comprehensive study has been done regarding its impact upon its graduates; moreover, no study had been done on the impact of its English Department regarding the extent to which that department has prepared its students for the West Point English program. This research project undertook the latter topic and specifically addressed the extent to which the USMAPS English Department has prepared its students for their first core English course at West Point, EN 101. This research project used a mixed methods, case study method that relied almost equally on qualitative and quantitative data for its findings, conclusions, and recommendations. The conceptual framework for this study was twofold: that of an input, intervention, and output model, in which the input was USMAPS students, the intervention was the USMAPS English program, and the output was those students’ performance in EN 101, as measured by final course grades; and a values-based framework for that intervention. The qualitative data for this study consisted of a focus group discussion, class observations, interviews, and surveys of student and faculty perceptions. A series of queries collected the quantitative data for this study; this data was centered upon EN 101 GPAs and standardized test scores. This study resulted in seven findings, and its conclusions and recommendations are grounded in five themes that focus upon data integrity, curriculum reform, assessments, school culture, and transferability of findings, conclusions, and recommendations. Although this study found that the perceptions of faculty and students clearly were that the USMAPS English program had prepared its students well for EN 101, those perceptions, combined with this study’s quantitative data, could not definitively establish the extent to which the USMAPS English program had prepared its students for EN 101. Ultimately, though, a combination of clear-cut perceptions and strongly suggestive quantitative data enabled this study to arrive at one very important, overarching conclusion: the USMAPS English program has made important contributions to its students’ preparation for the USMA English program.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
English Education
Thesis Advisors
Blau, Sheridan
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 4, 2016