Impact of Academic Behaviors on High School Persistence

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ACT research illustrates how the combination of academic achievement and behavior yields more information than either measure alone when differentiating students for high school persistence. Most importantly, this information is available in 8th grade—allowing for early identification of students at risk of not completing high school.

Across all EXPLORE Benchmark attainment levels, students with higher ENGAGE™ Graduation Index scores, which are based on a combination of ENGAGE scale scores and other self-reported student information, had higher high school persistence rates than students with lower Graduation Index scores.

Note: Data are based on 2,986 8th graders in 24 middle schools across the country who took EXPLORE and ENGAGE Grades 6–9, an assessment of academic behavior. High school persistence is defined as having graduated high school or being on track to graduate within four years of starting 9th grade. These data do not reflect the entire 2012 ACT-tested high school graduate cohort.

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High School Persistence Rates by 8th-Grade EXPLORE Benchmarks and ENGAGE Graduation Index Levels

Number of Benchmarks MetLow Graduation IndexModerate Graduation
High Graduation Index
1 or 265%89%95%
3 or 469%97%99%