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ERIC Number: ED555596
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Aug
Pages: 136
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 39
Differential Effects on Student Demographic Groups of Using ACT® College Readiness Assessment Composite Score, Act Benchmarks, and High School Grade Point Average for Predicting Long-Term College Success through Degree Completion. ACT Research Report Series, 2013 (5)
Radunzel, Justine; Noble, Julie
ACT, Inc.
In this study, we evaluated the differential effects on racial/ethnic, family income, and gender groups of using ACT® College Readiness Assessment Composite score and high school grade point average (HSGPA) for predicting long-term college success. Outcomes included annual progress towards a degree (based on cumulative credit-bearing hours earned), degree completion, and cumulative grade point average at 150% of normal time to degree completion (year 6 and year 3 for four- and two-year institutions, respectively). We also evaluated the utility of the individual ACT College Readiness Benchmarks for predicting college success for each demographic group. Data for this study included over 190,000 ACT-tested students who enrolled in college as first-time entering students in fall, 2000 through 2006. Over 100 total two- and four-year institutions were represented. We used hierarchical logistic models to estimate institutionspecific probabilities of college success for all students and each demographic group based on their ACT test scores and HSGPA. Accuracy and success rates for each student group were calculated at total-group optimal selection values using the distributions of ACT Composite score and HSGPA for each institution's approximate applicant pool; these rates were then summarized across institutions. Results were disaggregated by institution type. Total-group predictions based on ACT Composite score generally overestimated the long-term college success of underrepresented minority students (by, at most, 0.11 across outcomes), lower-income students (by, at most, 0.07), and male students (by, at most, 0.13) and, to a lesser extent, underestimated the success of White students (by, at most, 0.04), higherincome students (by, at most, 0.07), and female students (by, at most, 0.10). The degree of differential prediction by gender was less pronounced for the progress to degree and degree completion outcomes than for achieving levels of year 6/year 3 cumulative grade point average (GPA). There was minimal differential prediction by family income for achieving levels of year 6/year 3 cumulative GPA. For racial/ethnic and family income groups, there was greater over and under prediction associated with using HSGPA than with using ACT Composite score. The opposite was true for gender. Differential prediction by student demographic groups was also observed at the ACT College Readiness Benchmark scores with the direction of the differential prediction being consistent with that observed when ACT Composite score and/or HSGPA was used. For each student demographic group, test scores increased prediction accuracy over that for HSGPA. Typical percentages of correct classifications at total-group optimal selection values were generally higher for underrepresented minority and lower-income students than for White and higher-income students; these percentages were similar for female and male students. Contrary to prior claims made, results from this study suggest that minority and lower income students are not disadvantaged by using ACT Composite score or the ACT Benchmark scores to predict long-term college success. This finding held across multiple college outcomes at both two- and four-year institutions. Tables and figures are included in appendices 1-6.
ACT, Inc. 500 ACT Drive, P.O. Box 168, Iowa City, IA 52243-0168. Tel: 319-337-1270; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: ACT, Inc.
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: ACT Assessment