Predictors related to academic success of persisting freshman at a Mississippi university

Daniel Tyson Bennett

Abstract

The present study examined the relationship between the degree of student success in college (overall college GPA at the end of the first 2 semesters) and the independent variables of ACT score, high school core GPA, college preparatory core, district performance index, race, and gender. Subjects were obtained from a comprehensive four-year university in Mississippi based on the following criteria: (a) public high school graduate, (b) first-time college freshman in the fall of 1996, (c) admitted with no more than five deficiencies in the college preparatory core, (d) carried full-time status during their freshman year in college, and (e) filed a complete high school transcript recording each academic variable tested. A total of 1,231 students were initially examined, of which, 488 subjects were selected. The data were analyzed using multiple linear regression with a.05 alpha level for all tests of statistical significance. The specific techniques used to analyze data were multiple correlation, interaction, semi-partial correlation, and Pearson-product moment correlation. There was a statistically significant relationship (p =.05) between the criterion variable of the degree of student success (overall college GPA) and the independent variables of ACT score, high school core GPA, college preparatory core, district performance index, race, and gender. However, no single variable meaningfully contributed to the criterion variable of the degree of student success. Additional tests paired independent variables that resulted in a meaningful contribution, and three independent variables (high school core GPA, adherence to college preparatory core, and district performance index) showed promise for further study. The general purpose of the present study was to determine variables that may be used to predict the degree of academic success of first-time college freshmen who completed two semesters with full course loads. Admissions officers may benefit from the results by comparing their own admission criteria to the variables tested in this study. Moreover, they may gain new insight into additional criteria that serve to be even better predictors of academic success.