Grade Point Average As a Predictor of Academic Achievement for a Credit Abroad, Language Acquisition Course

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

Arthur Southerland

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research


Academic policymakers and administrators are charged with the responsibility of articulating and applying appropriate threshold criteria in order to affect desired learning outcomes. As international education becomes more central to the higher education experience and as the learning outcomes available for international education become increasingly essential to successful global citizenry, appropriate and judicious policies and practices must be developed. The study examined the relationship between the degree of student success on an academic study abroad program (final course grade) and the independent variables of cumulative grade point average (CPA), status, and gender. Participants included in the study were all students who participated in a 5-week summer study abroad Spanish language acquisition program in Mexico for the years 1996, 1997, and 1998. For program participation, students were required to be in good academic standing at their home institutions and have a minimum of a 2.0 grade point average. There were 107 participants included in the study. The data were analyzed using multiple linear regression with a .05 alpha level for all tests of statistical significance. There was a statistically significant relationship (p = .05) between the dependent variable of final course grade and the composite set of variables of cumulative GPA, gender, status, and their interactions. When testing individual variables while controlling for the others present in the full model, only cumulative GPA and the interaction of status and gender were shown to be statistically significant. The general purpose of the study was to determine if cumulative GPA, a commonly employed access threshold, was a reliable predictor of academic achievement on a study abroad, language acquisition course. The growing demand for international experiences for students, as evidenced by governmental and institutional policies and increasing numbers of participants in study abroad programs, will necessitate the development of fair and effective administrative policies grounded in outcomes-oriented research. The results coupled with the mission of the university may be used to assist administrators in formulating policies on admission to such credit abroad programs and generally help undergird procedures utilized to implement international education.