Information Brief 2013-7

Relationship Between ACT Composite Score, High School GPA, and Year 6 College Cumulative GPA

among students enrolled in a four-year postsecondary institution

Students’ high school achievement, as measured by ACT Composite (ACTC) score and high school grade point average (HSGPA), is related to their college cumulative grade point average (GPA). As expected, as both ACTC score and HSGPA increase, students’ chances of achieving a 3.00 or higher year 6 college GPA at a four-year institution also increase.

As illustrated in the figure below, for students with the same HSGPA, their chances of success depend on their ACTC score where success is more likely for students with higher ACTC scores. For example, for students with a HSGPA of 4.0, their chances of achieving a year 6 GPA of 3.00 or higher range from 30% to 98% for those with ACTC scores of 10 to 35. This result suggests that ACT scores provide additional differentiation in students’ likely success, over and above HSGPA, especially among students with higher HSGPAs.

Students’ Chances of Achieving a Year 6 College Cumulative GPA of 3.00 or Higher by ACT Composite (ACTC) Score and HSGPA

ACT Composite Score = 35
High School Grade Point AverageSuccess Rate
2.022%
2.126%
2.232%
2.337%
2.444%
2.550%
2.656%
2.762%
2.868%
2.974%
3.078%
3.182%
3.286%
3.389%
3.491%
3.593%
3.694%
3.796%
3.897%
3.997%
4.098%

ACT Composite Score = 30
High School Grade Point AverageSuccess Rate
2.019%
2.123%
2.227%
2.331%
2.436%
2.541%
2.647%
2.752%
2.857%
2.963%
3.068%
3.172%
3.276%
3.380%
3.483%
3.586%
3.688%
3.790%
3.892%
3.994%
4.095%

ACT Composite Score = 25
High School Grade Point AverageSuccess Rate
2.017%
2.120%
2.223%
2.326%
2.429%
2.533%
2.637%
2.741%
2.846%
2.950%
3.055%
3.159%
3.263%
3.367%
3.471%
3.575%
3.678%
3.781%
3.883%
3.986%
4.088%

ACT Composite Score = 20
High School Grade Point AverageSuccess Rate
2.015%
2.117%
2.219%
2.321%
2.423%
2.526%
2.629%
2.732%
2.835%
2.938%
3.041%
3.145%
3.248%
3.352%
3.455%
3.558%
3.662%
3.765%
3.868%
3.971%
4.074%

ACT Composite Score = 15
High School Grade Point AverageSuccess Rate
2.013%
2.114%
2.216%
2.317%
2.418%
2.520%
2.621%
2.723%
2.825%
2.927%
3.029%
3.131%
3.233%
3.335%
3.438%
3.540%
3.643%
3.745%
3.847%
3.950%
4.052%

ACT Composite Score = 10
High School Grade Point AverageSuccess Rate
2.011%
2.112%
2.213%
2.313%
2.414%
2.515%
2.616%
2.716%
2.817%
2.918%
3.019%
3.120%
3.221%
3.322%
3.423%
3.524%
3.625%
3.727%
3. 28%
3.929%
4.030%

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, see the full ACT Research Report.


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