Information Brief 2013-6

Relationship Between ACT Composite Score and Year 6 College Cumulative GPA

among students enrolled in a four-year postsecondary institution

For students entering four-year postsecondary institutions, college success rates, as measured by long-term college grade point average (GPA), increase with higher ACT scores.

As shown in the figure below, students’ chances of achieving levels of college cumulative GPA six years after initially enrolling in a four-year postsecondary institution increase as their ACT Composite score increases. For example, students with a Composite score above 25 have over a 60% chance of achieving a year 6 GPA of 3.25 or higher, while those with a score of 19 or below have less than a 30% chance of doing so.

Students’ Chances of Achieving Levels of Year 6 College Cumulative GPA by ACT Composite Score

ACT Composite Score3.00 or higher3.25 or higher3.50 or higher3.75 or higher
1012%5%2%0.4%
1114%6%2%0.5%
1217%7%3%1%
1320%9%3%1%
1424%11%4%1%
1528%14%5%1%
1633%16%7%2%
1737%20%8%2%
1842%24%10%3%
1948%28%13%4%
2053%33%16%5%
2158%38%20%7%
2263%43%24%9%
2368%49%29%11%
2473%54%34%14%
2577%60%40%18%
2680%65%46%22%
2783%70%52%27%
2886%74%58%33%
2988%79%64%39%
3090%82%69%46%
3192%85%74%53%
3294%88%79%59%
3395%90%82%66%
3496%92%86%72%
3596%93%88%77%
3697%95%91%81%

Note: Based on data from nearly 69,000 ACT-tested students who enrolled in a four-year postsecondary institution as first-time entering students in fall, 2000 through 2003, and were still enrolled six years later or had completed a bachelor’s degree prior to the end of year 6. Nearly 60 institutions were represented. Model-based estimates are shown. For a more detailed description of the study, including results for achieving levels of year 3 cumulative GPA at two-year institutions, see the full ACT Research Report.


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