Readiness Matters The Impact of College Readiness on College Persistence and Degree Completion

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1 Readiness Matters The Impact of College Readiness on College Persistence and Degree Completion Steve Kappler AVP Career & College Readiness ACT, Inc. NACAC Webinar Series February 27, 2013

2 Outline ACT Vantage Point Background and purpose of the study Research data and design Key Findings Study results Conclusions

3 ACT s Unique Vantage Point The ACT Assessment began in % of the 2012 HS graduating class took the ACT Virtually all students take the ACT in 8 states ACT Explore (grade 8 & 9), ACT Plan (grade 10), and the ACT (grade 11 & 12) form longitudinal assessment system Assessments of academic behaviors, psychosocial factors The Science of ACT Assessments 3

4 The Science Behind ACT Assessments: Evidence and Validity Does it measure what it purports? Does test correctly predict performance??

5 ACT s College Readiness Standards Direct link between what students have learned and what they are ready to learn next. Suggested learning experiences provide links between the Standards in one score range and those in the next (higher) score range. Ideas for progressing to the next score range demonstrate ways that information learned from standardized test results can be used to inform classroom instruction.

6 ACT s College Readiness Standards

7 College Readiness Benchmarks College Course ACT Subject- Area Test ACT Explore Benchmark Grade 8 ACT Plan Benchmark Grade 10 ACT Benchmark Grade 11/12 English Composition College Algebra Social Sciences English Mathematics Reading Biology Science

8 Background Majority of HS graduates aspire to earn a college degree. Few U.S. college students complete degrees in a timely fashion. Six-year degree completion rates for students entering postsecondary education in fall year: 60% bachelor s degree 2-year: 16% associate s degree (NCES ) Many entering students ill-prepared for college, especially underrepresented minority students.

9 Purpose of the Study Identify pre-college factors that provide HS graduates with early momentum towards degree completion. Examine relationships between multiple measures of college readiness and college retention and degree completion over time. Determine the extent to which college readiness helps reduce gaps in college success rates across racial/ethnic groups and family income ranges.

10 Data for the Study 24,850 ACT-tested 2003 HS graduates who enrolled in college the fall following HS graduation. Stratified random sample of 2003 ACT-tested HS graduates nationally. Tracked across institutions over time through fall 2010 using National Student Clearinghouse data.

11 Data for the Study (cont.) Four-year institutions: 18,860 four-year students 1,119 institutions 42% public institutions 39% selective/highly selective, 43% traditional, 11% open/liberal admissions policies Two-year institutions: 5,990 two-year students 603 institutions 95% public institutions 95% open/liberal admissions policies

12 College Outcomes Annual fall to fall retention through Year 4 Continuous fall enrollment at The same institution Any institution Continuously enrolled degree completers considered persisters Degree completion through Year 6 At any institution Bachelor s degree Associate s degree or Associate s or bachelor s degree 12

13 Demographic Indicators Student background characteristics Race/ethnicity African American, Asian, Hispanic, and White students Gender Family income range < $30K, $30K to $60K, and > $60K 13

14 Results: Student Demographic Characteristics Characteristic Four-year Two-year Gender Female 58% 55% Male 42% 45% Race/ethnicity African American 10% 11% Asian 4% 3% Hispanic 6% 6% White 77% 75% Family income < $30K 19% 28% $30K to $60K 34% 41% > $60K 47% 31% Weighted percentages are reported.

15 College Readiness Indicators ACT College Readiness Benchmarks met vs. not met. College course/course area ACT test ACT score English Composition English 18 Algebra Mathematics 22 Social Sciences Reading 21 Biology Science 24 Number of Benchmarks met. HSGPA (23 core subject area courses) to 3.49 <

16 Results: Academic Achievement and Preparation Characteristic Four-year Two-year Average scores and grades ACT Composite score HSGPA Number of ACT Benchmarks met 0 14% 40% 1 to 3 56% 52% All 4 29% 8% HS math course sequence < Alg I, Geom, Alg II 7% 21% Alg I, Geom, Alg II 32% 44% > Alg I, Geom, Alg II 57% 30% Weighted means and percentages are reported.

17 College Readiness Indicators (cont.) Core curriculum taken vs. not taken ( ). HS mathematics coursework taken: Less than (<) Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II. Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II. More than (>) Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II. HS science coursework taken Biology. Biology, Chemistry. Biology, Chemistry, Physics. Early readiness indicators EXPLORE Benchmarks (grade 8) met vs. not met PLAN Benchmarks (grade 10) met vs. not met 17

18 Key Finding 1 Being better prepared academically for college improves a student s chances of completing a college degree. 18

19 Results: Retention 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Four-year students 100% 90% 82% 90% 77% 75% 80% 64% 70% 57% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Two-year students 74% 61% 56% 44% 30% 14% Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Any college Same college Any college Same college

20 Results: Degree Completion 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Four-year students 55% 61% 35% Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Two-year students 31% 37% 23% 24% 19% 23% Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Bachelor's Associate's Associate's or bachelor's

21 College Success by ACT Score/Benchmark Attainment Across all outcomes, College success rates increased as ACT Composite score increased. Students who met the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks had higher success rates than those who didn t. The more Benchmarks students met, the higher the success rates. 21

22 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% College Success by ACT Composite Score Retention* 100% 83% 87% 90% 79% 75% 68% 67% 73% 80% 80% 60% 67% 74% 70% 52% 60% 60% 53% 50% 44% 40% ACT Composite score range Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 * to same institution for four-year students 30% 20% 10% 0% Six-year degree completion ACT Composite score 4-year: Bachelor's 2-year: Associate's 2-year: Associate's or bachelor's 22

23 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 44% College Success by Number of 52% 60% ACT Benchmarks Met 68% 75% Six-year degree completion 21% 23% 26% Bachelor's degree Associate's degree Associate's or bachelor's degree 29% 33% 29% 35% 42% 50% 57%

24 College Success by ACT Score/Benchmark Attainment Across all outcomes, College success rates increased as ACT Composite score increased. Students who met the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks had higher success rates than those who didn t. The more Benchmarks students met, the higher the success rates. 24

25 Key Finding 2 Using multiple measures of college readiness better informs the likelihood of a student persisting and succeeding in college. 25

26 College Success by HSGPA and HS Coursework Across all outcomes, Students with HSGPAs 3.50 had higher success rates than those who had lower HSGPAs. Students who took the HS core curriculum had slightly higher rates than those who didn t. Students who took higher-level mathematics or science courses had higher rates than those who took fewer courses. 26

27 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 77% 66% College Success by HSGPA and HS Coursework in Math Retention by HSGPA* 84% 75% 63% 48% 68% 55% Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 40% 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Bachelor s degree completion 40% 30% 22% 60% 67% 49% 55% 44% 38% Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 < to 3.49 >= 3.50 * to same institution for four-year students < Alg I, Geom, Alg II Alg I, Geom, Alg II > Alg I, Geom, Alg II 27

28 College Success by HS Coursework and Benchmark Attainment in Math Across all outcomes, Students who took high school mathematics coursework beyond Algebra II and met the ACT Mathematics Benchmark had the highest college success rates. 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 48% 41% 30% 24% Bachelor s degree completion 68% 61% 49% 43% 74% 67% 57% 49% Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Alg I, Geom, Alg II / Not met Alg I, Geom, Alg II / Met > Alg I, Geom, Alg II / Not met > Alg I, Geom, Alg II / Met 28

29 College Success by ACT Composite Score for Students with HSGPA 3.50 Among students with HSGPA of 3.50 or higher, Students with higher ACT Composite scores had higher college success rates. ACT scores provide additional differentiation among students, over and above HSGPA. 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% Bachelor s degree completion 81% 85% 66% 63% 54% 30% Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 1 to to to to to 36 29

30 Key Finding 3 College readiness reduces gaps in persistence and degree completion among racial/ethnic and family income groups 30

31 College Success by Student Demographic Characteristics White and Asian students were more likely to persist and complete a degree than African American and Hispanic students. Success rates were slightly higher for females than for males. Students with lower family incomes were less likely to succeed over time than students with higher family incomes. 31

32 College Success by Race/Ethnicity 100% Six-year degree completion 80% 60% 40% 20% 45% 63% 53% 64% 15% 18% 21% 26% 21% 34% 29% 41% 0% Bachelor's degree Associate's degree Associate's or bachelor's degree African American Asian Hispanic White 32

33 Student Demographics, College Readiness, and College Success Underrepresented racial/ethnic minority students and lower-income students were less likely than White and higher-income students to be academically prepared for college and career. When college readiness was taken into account, Racial/ethnic and family income gaps in college success rates were reduced, especially for students who met all 4 ACT Benchmarks. Reductions in income gaps were smaller than those for racial/ethnic gaps. 33

34 100% College Success by Race/Ethnicity and Number of ACT Benchmarks Met Six-year bachelor s degree completion 80% 60% 40% 48% 47% 41% 37% 56% 54% 49% 44% 63% 62% 56% 52% 70% 69% 64% 59% 76% 75% 70% 66% 20% 0% African American Asian Hispanic White 34

35 College Success by Family Income and Number of ACT Benchmarks Met 100% Retention at year 4* 80% 60% 40% 39% 43% 49% 45% 49% 55% 51% 55% 60% 57% 61% 66% 63% 66% 71% 20% 0% < $30K $30K to $60K > $60K * to same institution for four-year students 35

36 Key Finding 4 Early monitoring of readiness is associated with increased college success 36

37 College Success by Readiness Indicators in Grades 8, 10, and 11/12 Early readiness indicators are predictive of college success. Early and sustained college readiness in high school is associated with persisting to degree completion. Students who were on target early in grades 8 and 10 for becoming college and career ready and then graduated from high school college and career ready had the highest college success rates. Students who were not on target in grades 8, 10, and 11/12 had the lowest success rates. 37

38 College Success by Benchmark Attainment Across all outcomes and subject areas, in Grades 8, 10, and 11/12 Meeting ACT Benchmark was most critical for improving student s chances of college success. 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% Bachelor s degree completion * 51% 71% 40% 77% 49% 21% Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Not met / Not met / Not met Not met / Not met / Met Not met / Met / Not met Not met / Met / Met Met / Not met / Not met Met / Not met / Met Met / Met / Not met Met / Met / Met *by Mathematics Benchmark attainment 38

39 College Success by Number of Benchmarks Met in Grades 8, 10, and 11/12 Student s chances of college success Increased for students who showed improvements in Benchmark attainment between grades 10 and 11/12. Decreased for students who did not remain on target through grade 11/12. 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 85% 72% Retention * 76% 56% 72% Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 49% Met 0-2 / Met 0-2 / Met 0-2 Met 0-2 / Met 0-2 / Met 3-4 Met 3-4 / Met 3-4 / Met 0-2 Met 3-4 / Met 3-4 / Met 3-4 * to same institution for four-year students 39

40 Why is this important? 40

41 The Condition of College Readiness,

42 Condition of College Readiness Million 52% of grad class

43 Condition of College Readiness 2012

44 Condition of College Readiness

45 Condition of College Readiness 2012

46 Catching up to College Readiness the level of academic achievement that students attain by eighth grade has a larger impact on their college and career readiness by the time they graduate from high school than anything that happens academically in high school --The Forgotten Middle, p.2 46

47 Findings of Catching Up Study Few Far Off Track students catch up in middle or high school. Even in higher performing schools, the majority do not get on track to college and career readiness in four years. There are lots of Far Off Track students by this definition for example, 40-50% of minority students and they have a low probability of hitting the Benchmark in four years. 47

48 Readiness Matters Key Findings 1. Being better prepared academically for college improves a student s chances of completing a college degree. 2. Using multiple measures of college readiness better informs the likelihood of a student persisting and succeeding in college. 3. College readiness reduces gaps in persistence and degree completion among racial/ethnic and family income groups. 4. Early monitoring of readiness is associated with increased college success. 48

49 Overall Recommendations 1. Evaluate the rigor and content of high school courses in English, mathematics, reading, and science and align the curricular content with college readiness standards and the skills that are needed to be successful in college and career. 2. Monitor early and often student s progress towards becoming ready for college and intervene with students who are not on target while there is still time for them to catch up before they graduate from high school 49

50 Overall Recommendations 3. Help students develop strong academic behaviors that can enhance student success 4. Provide all students with educational and career guidance by doing the following: Help them to understand how preparing well now academically is critical for accomplishing their future career goals. Encourage them to explore personally-relevant career options based on their own skills, interests, and aspirations. Make available useful information and resources about the college admissions process and financial aid process to them and their parents, and assist them with these processes 50

51 Overall Recommendations 5. Establish longitudinal K-career data systems to monitor closely student performance at every stage of the learning pipeline, from elementary school through middle and high school, and all the way through college and career to support alignment and cohesion of the education system 51

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