Two Factors Related to Degree Completion
Academic Readiness and Discipline: Two Factors Related to Degree Completion
For students, the benefits of graduating high school ready for college are not limited to academic performance within their first-year of college coursework. In fact, achieving college readiness in high school is associated with positive longer-term benefits.
Students who meet more ACT College Readiness Benchmarks are more likely to attend college and earn a degree within six years. For the 2010 ACT-tested high school graduating class:
- 8 out of every 10 students meeting all four Benchmarks enrolled in a postsecondary institution in fall 2010 (or 83%), compared to only 5 out of every 10 students doing so among those meeting none of the Benchmarks (or 49%)
- 7 out of every 10 students meeting all four Benchmarks immediately enrolled in college and completed an associate’s or bachelor’s degree within six years (or 68%), compared to only 2 out of every 10 students doing so among those meeting none of the Benchmarks (or 18%)
Findings from these analysis highlight the positive effects that academic preparation has on persistence in college to timely degree completion for students attending two- or four-year postsecondary institutions. Given that a significant percentage of students with higher ACT Composite scores are without a degree six years later, there are clearly other student characteristics contributing to students’ success in college.
Prior research has shown that social and emotional learning (SEL) skills (including motivation and academic discipline) provide information beyond measures of academic achievement that increases accurate identification of students at risk for dropping out of college and not completing a degree in a timely manner.
Students with higher ACT Engage Academic Discipline scores were more likely to complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree within six years than those with lower Academic Discipline scores. For example, for those with an ACT Composite score of 22, a student’s chances of competing a degree within six years increased from 39% for those with a low Academic Discipline score to 73% for those with a high Academic Discipline score.
In alignment with the ACT Holistic Framework these findings highlight the benefits of using multiple measures for predicting students’ chances of college success.
Read the full story in the 2018 Higher Education Research Digest.