ERIC Number: ED484783
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Mar
?Differential Grading Standards among High Schools. ACT Research Report Series, 2004-02
Woodruff, David J.; Ziomek, Robert L.
The primary purpose of this study was to investigate differential grading standards among public high schools. This study focused on documenting differential grading standards between 1998 and 2002. Five years were studied to verify that the observed differences in grading standards were not transient. Differences in grading standards among high schools were inferred by comparing the regressions of high school grade point averages (HSGPA) onto ACT Assessment (ACT) scores. The ACT is an achievement test battery used by colleges for admission, and is usually taken in the eleventh or twelfth grade of high school. It is composed of four tests: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. A fifth Composite score is the average of the four test scores. This study used the ACT Composite score, English score, and Mathematics score and compared the regressions of overall HSGPA, English HSGPA, and mathematics HSGPA onto those ACT scores. The ACT scores were used as objective measures of student achievement across schools and over time. Given that the ACT is a constant standard that is applied equally to all students in all schools, the results of this study imply that grades are a relative standard, in that they can vary from school to school. A particular student's grades depend not only on the student's achievement, but also on the school the student attends. ACT scores, in contrast, have the same meaning at all schools. In this sense, grades are norm referenced within schools, and the ACT is criterion referenced across schools. This difference between high school grades and the ACT is one characteristic of the ACT that makes the ACT an important complement to high school grades in making college admission decisions.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 11; Grade 12
Authoring Institution: ACT, Inc., Iowa City, IA.