Information Brief 2013-40

Degree Completion or Transfer by ACT Composite Score and Gender

Among Students Enrolled in a Two-Year Postsecondary Institution

Students’ Chances of Completing an Associate’s Degree or Transferring to an In-State Four-Year Postsecondary Institution within Three Years of Enrolling in a Two-Year Institution by ACT Composite Score and Gender

ACT ScoreFemale studentsMale students
107%9%
118%10%
129%11%
1311%12%
1413%14%
1514%15%
1617%17%
1719%19%
1822%21%
1924%23%
2027%26%
2131%28%
2234%31%
2338%34%
2442%37%
2546%40%
2650%43%
2754%46%
2858%50%
2962%53%
3065%56%
3169%59%
3272%62%
3375%65%
3478%68%
3581%71%
3683%74%

Note: Results based on data from nearly 66,000 ACT-tested students who enrolled in a two-year postsecondary institution as new students in fall 2000 through 2006. Forty institutions from two state systems were represented. Degree completion from initial institution was tracked. For a more detailed description of the study, see ACT Research Report 2013-5.

A recent ACT study1 that included data from 40 two-year postsecondary institutions from two state systems found that the typical chances of completing an associate’s degree or transferring to an in-state four-year postsecondary institution within three years was 23% for both female and male students.

Among students with higher academic achievement levels (as measured by Composite score on the ACT® college readiness assessment), rates of degree completion or transfer were higher for female students than for male students. For example, for students with an ACT Composite score of 25, female students had a 46% chance of degree completion or transfer, compared to a 40% chance for male students.

These findings suggest there are factors besides academic achievement contributing to differences in rates of degree completion or transfer between female and male students with higher ACT Composite scores at two-year institutions. These factors might include academic behaviors and goals that can influence students’ chances of college success.


1 Justine Radunzel and Julie Noble, 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 2013-5 (Iowa City, IA: ACT, Inc., 2013).


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