Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Management researcher studies key predictors for college retention

Management researcher studies key predictors for college retention

UTSA management professor Huy Le co-authored a study showing that the most effective way to predict a first-year college student’s academic success and retention relies heavily on both standardized test scores and high school grades.

MARCH 11, 2021 — The current outbreak of COVID-19 has raised many questions about the value of consideration of standardized testing through the college admissions process. Of the many coronavirus cancellations were a growing number of universities waiving SAT and ACT scores as an admissions requirement for 2022 applicants.

As some college experts argue that standardized tests create barriers to students which could reduce their likelihood of acceptance, schools are shifting their policies to make admissions requirements “test-optional” with the possibility of permanently phasing out testing scores in the future.

However, a new study led by College Board senior research scientist Paul Westrick, along with UTSA professor of management Huy Le, Steve Robbins of the Educational Testing Service, Justine Radunzel of ACT, Inc., and University of Iowa professor emeritus of management and entrepreneurship Frank Schmidt, shows that the most effective way to predict a first-year college student’s academic success and retention relies heavily on both standardized test scores and grades.


“We are hopeful the findings of the study will help colleges in determining factors to be included for making admission decisions.”



Based on a national representative sample of 189,612 students at 50 institutions, both ACT scores and high school grade point average are correlated to a first-year college student’s academic performance. Pre-college academic performance had direct effects on a college student’s first-year academic performance, which mediated their effects on second-year retention. Socioeconomic status, meanwhile, did not contribute to the prediction of first-year academic performance and had only a trivial effect on second-year retention.

The study aims to examine the strength of correlation between ACT composite scores, school grades, and socioeconomic status with the second- and third-year academic performance of a college student.

“We believe this research provides important evidence supporting the usefulness of high school GPA and standardized tests as predictors of student successes in colleges and refuting the misconception that the tests are just a proxy for students’ socioeconomic status,” Le said.

The researchers provided valuable insight to determine the factors that best predict the effectiveness and reliability of continuing to use the practice of standardized tests as a measure of student success and whether or not they will persist in college.

“We are hopeful the findings of the study will help colleges in determining factors to be included for making admission decisions,” Le added.


EXPLORE FURTHER
⇒ UTSA management professor Huy Le

The researchers concluded that grades do not only measure academic characteristics but nonacademic characteristics as well. The findings demonstrate that test scores measure cognitive characteristics, while grades measure a combination of characteristics including attendance, participation and more.  

The research has yielded many studies that have demonstrated the usefulness and validity of standardized testing for the admission process.

Tala Kseibi and Ingrid Wright



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UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


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