High school GPAs are stronger predictors of college graduation than ACT scores — ScienceDaily
Students’ excessive school grade level averages are 5 occasions stronger than their ACT scores at predicting college graduation, in keeping with a brand new examine printed at the moment in Educational Researcher, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.
The authors of the brand new examine, Elaine M. Allensworth and Kallie Clark, each of the University of Chicago, additionally discovered that the predictive energy of GPAs is constant throughout excessive faculties. The relationship between ACT scores and college graduation is determined by which excessive school a scholar attends; at many excessive faculties there isn’t any connection between college students’ ACT scores and eventual college graduation.
“It was surprising not only to see that there was no relationship between ACT scores and college graduation at some high schools, but also to see that at many high schools the relationship was negative among students with the highest test scores,” mentioned Allensworth, who’s the director of the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research.
Across all excessive faculties within the examine, every incremental improve in GPA is related to a rise within the odds of graduating college. The probability of graduating from college ranges from 20 p.c for college students with excessive school GPAs beneath 1.5 to about 80 p.c for these with GPAs of three.75 or increased, after controlling for scholar backgrounds and college traits.
“While people often think the value of GPAs is inconsistent across high schools, and that standardized test scores, like the ACT, are neutral indicators of college readiness because they are taken by everyone under the same conditions, our findings indicate otherwise,” Allensworth mentioned. “The bottom line is that high school grades are powerful tools for gauging students’ readiness for college, regardless of which high school a student attends, while ACT scores are not.”
According to the authors, their examine confirms prior analysis that finds excessive school GPAs are extra predictive than SAT and ACT scores of college freshman GPA and college graduation. This examine is the primary to explicitly take a look at whether or not standardized assessments are comparable throughout excessive faculties as measures of college readiness.
The examine examined 55,084 college students who graduated from the Chicago public school district between 2006 and 2009 and instantly enrolled in a four-year college. The Chicago district accommodates faculties with various educational profiles, starting from extraordinarily high-achieving, selective faculties to varsities with very low common take a look at scores. At the time the examine college students had been in excessive school, all college students in Illinois took the ACT within the spring of 11th grade.
In the authors’ view, the truth that excessive school GPAs are based mostly on many elements — together with effort over a complete semester in many differing types of courses, demonstration of educational abilities by means of a number of codecs, and completely different instructor expectations — is likely to be why GPAs are robust indicators of college readiness.
“GPAs measure a very wide variety of skills and behaviors that are needed for success in college, where students will encounter widely varying content and expectations,” mentioned Allensworth. “In contrast, standardized tests measure only a small set of the skills that students need to succeed in college, and students can prepare for these tests in narrow ways that may not translate into better preparation to succeed in college.”
“Extensive time spent preparing for standardized tests will have much less pay-off for postsecondary success than effort put into coursework, as reflected in students’ grades,” mentioned Clark, a doctoral scholar on the University of Chicago. “The more that middle and high school educators can support strong engagement in school — helping students overcome barriers to engagement in class, helping them succeed at different types of academic tasks, so that they earn strong grades — the better these educators are supporting academic skills broadly and preparing students for college.”
The authors additionally notice that almost all states and districts within the United States rely closely on standardized take a look at scores of their accountability techniques as indicators of whether or not college students are assembly state college readiness objectives. Because the connection of take a look at scores with college graduation isn’t robust or constant, states and districts that select this metric could misestimate the consequences of insurance policies and school practices on college students’ college readiness. The authors recommend that measures of college students’ precise efficiency in college would offer higher info.
Above and past college students’ particular person achievement on excessive school coursework and the ACT, Allensworth and Clark discovered that college students are extra prone to graduate college if they arrive from some excessive faculties fairly than others. These school results could be the consequence of extra rigorous educational applications at some excessive faculties, completely different non-academic helps for making ready college students for college, or just an inclination of households with extra assets for college to ship their college students to explicit excessive faculties.
“There are large high school effects on college graduation that are not explained by students’ high school GPA, their individual ACT scores, or the two of them combined,” Clark mentioned. “Understanding why students from some high schools succeed in college more than students at other schools is an important next step for better supporting all students’ ability to earn a college degree.”
This analysis was supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.