John Crooker and Qingmin Shi (both Decision Support) presented “ACT Readiness Benchmark Indicators and GPA Performance at UNLV ” at the 2020 Nevada ACT Conference, this month. Utilizing ACT readiness benchmark indicators, the researchers developed a strategy for identifying students at risk of retaining to their second fall term. The strategy entails using incoming student academic profile data, including ACT Readiness Benchmark information, to predict a first-time student’s first-term GPA.
Next, the researchers introduced a "GPA Shock" metric. GPA Shock measures the difference between first-term GPA and high school GPA. Empirically, students receiving a negative GPA shock are less likely to retain than students with a positive or no GPA shock. This study suggests institutions may have an opportunity to design student interventions based on models of student academic performance estimated at the start of a student's academic career.