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ERIC Number: ED574447
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jun
Pages: 25
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Arizona's Best and Brightest: What Happens after High School? A Report for the Helios Education Foundation
Hunting, Dan
Morrison Institute for Public Policy
Helios Education Foundation has sponsored administration of the ACT test to all high school juniors in selected Arizona school districts since 2009 through the District Choice State Testing (DCST) program. Morrison Institute for Public Policy was asked to identify highly achieving low-income students from this group. Highly achieving students were defined as those with an ACT Composite score at or above the 90th percentile nationally and a high school grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or greater. Low-income students were identified as those with self-reported family incomes of less than $36,000 annually. The students represented in the DCST data are neither a comprehensive census nor a random sample of students enrolled in the participating districts during the study period. Identification of the target population of highly achieving low-income students was done through analysis of the survey that students completed as part of the ACT test. A second analysis was also conducted including those students who potentially qualify for admission to one of Arizona's three public four-year universities. This analysis included students with a high school GPA of 2.5 or greater. The final dataset submitted to Morrison Institute includes data from both DCST schools and those outside of the program. ACT test results for 82,203 students over five years from 2008 through 2012 were included. Test scores were from 82 high schools in 19 districts statewide, with 14 of these districts participating in DCST for some or all of the five year period. Less than 2 percent of the participants were from charter schools, with the rest from traditional district schools. These schools covered urban, rural, and tribal areas of the state. Key findings include: (1) Low-income, highly achieving high school students in Arizona are statistically indistinguishable in terms of their academic aspirations and expectations and their college outcomes from their higher-income, highly achieving peers; and (2) Differences appear when the analysis is expanded to also include students with grade point averages of 2.5 and above. Low-income students in this group are statistically less likely to send their ACT scores to out-of-state colleges and less likely to enroll in college and, when they do enroll, they are more likely to go to a two-year school such as a community college or trade school rather than a four-year university, and are less likely to earn a bachelor's degree than higher-income peers. The following are appended: (1) Tables with Counts and Statistical Tests; and (2) Schools and Districts in the DCST Program. [This report was written with the assistance of Iliamari Vasquez.]
Morrison Institute for Public Policy, Arizona State University. P.O. Box 874405, 215 East 7th Street Suite 203, Tempe, AZ 85287-4405. Tel: 480-965-4525; Fax: 480-965-9219; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Arizona State University, Morrison Institute for Public Policy; Helios Education Foundation
Identifiers - Location: Arizona
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: ACT Assessment