Information Brief 2013-41

Year 6 College Cumulative GPA by ACT Composite Score and Race/Ethnicity

Among Students Enrolled in a Four-Year Postsecondary Institution

Students’ Chances of Achieving a 3.00 or Higher Year 6 College Cumulative GPA by ACT Composite Score and Race/Ethnicity

ACT ScoreWhite studentsMinority students
1015%7%
1118%8%
1221%10%
1324%13%
1428%15%
1532%19%
1636%22%
1741%27%
1846%32%
1951%37%
2056%42%
2160%48%
2265%54%
2369%59%
2473%65%
2577%70%
2680%75%
2783%79%
2886%82%
2988%85%
3090%88%
3192%90%
3293%92%
3394%94%
3495%95%
3596%96%
3697% 

Note: Underrepresented racial/ethnic minority students included African American, American Indian, and Hispanic students. Results based on data from nearly 69,000 ACT-tested students who enrolled in a four-year postsecondary institution as new 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. For a more detailed description of the study, see ACT Research Report 2013-5.

A recent ACT study1 that included data from nearly 60 four-year postsecondary institutions found that the typical chances of achieving a 3.00 or higher year 6 cumulative grade point average (GPA) was 23 percentage points higher for White students than for underrepresented racial/ethnic minority students (64% versus 41%, respectively).

However, when students’ academic achievement levels (as measured by Composite score on the ACT® college readiness assessment) were taken into account, smaller racial/ethnic differences in students’ chances were seen, especially among students with higher ACT Composite scores. For example, for students with an ACT Composite score of 25, White students had a 77% chance of achieving a 3.00 or higher year 6 cumulative GPA, compared to a 70% chance for minority students.

For students with ACT Composite scores of 29 or above, chances of achieving a 3.00 or higher year 6 cumulative GPA for minority students were within 3 percentage points of those for White students.


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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