ERIC Number: ED462407
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Alternatives to the Grade Point Average as a Measure of Academic Achievement in College. ACT Research Report Series.
Lei, Pui-Wa; Bassiri, Dina; Schultz, E. Matthew
College grade point average (GPA), a linear combination of assigned grades from different courses, is widely known to be an imperfect measure of student achievement. This unreliable measure decreases the predictive validity of college admission tests. Research has shown that adjusting course grades for differential grading practices improves predictive validity. Relative rankings of students on adjusted college GPAs are also more consistent with their course grade standings. These findings were replicated with course grade data from consecutive cohorts of two universities using four polytomous item response theory (IRT) and three linear models. In study 1, data were available for 1,255 students in the 1995 cohort and 1,796 students in the 1996 cohort. In the second study, data were available for 1,823 students for 1995 and 1,879 students for 1996. As had been done in previous studies, course parameter estimates and regression weights were cross-validated. Both same-sample and cross-validated alternative measures showed improvement over simple GPA. The rating scale and partial credit IRT models excelled on multiple correlations with admission test scores. The graded response IRT model was the most unstable across cohorts. Implications of these findings and limitations of the studies are discussed. An appendix shows formulas and number of course parameters for the models selected. (Contains 4 figures, 6 tables, and 24 references.) (Author/SLD)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, College Students, Grade Point Average, Higher Education, Item Response Theory, Measurement Techniques, Rating Scales, Student Evaluation
ACT Research Report Series, P.O. Box 168, Iowa City, IA 52243-0168. Tel: 319-337-1110; Web site: http://www.act.org/research/reports/index.html.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Coll. Testing Program, Iowa City, IA.