School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Bunnie Claxton


Test Scores, Student Achievement, English Language Arts


Education | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this applied research study is to determine how to improve test scores on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing for high school students in a school in Hawaii and to formulate a solution to address the problem. The problem is that test scores revealed that only 63% of students were proficient for the 2017-2018 school year. The central research question for this study is “How can test scores be improved on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing at a school in Hawaii?” The theoretical framework for this study was the Measurement of Intelligence theory by Alfred Binet and Michael Halliday’s Academic English theory. This study explored factors used to improve student performance on the PSAT using a multi-method design. The data collection method was semi-structured interviews, documents, and a survey. A purposeful sampling of two high school English Language Arts teachers and three administrators were chosen to be interviewed. Survey participants included 12 teachers and three administrators who were also purposefully chosen. The qualitative data was transcribed and analyzed using categorical aggregation, development of naturalistic generalizations, and open coding used to identify patterns and themes. The quantitative data was collected using a survey and analyzed using figures to corroborate the qualitative data. The findings revealed that three main themes affected PSAT scores including teacher effectiveness and performance, relationship building, and socioeconomic factors.