Is College Success Poster
Is College Success Poster
Is College Success Associated With
High School Performance?
Elizabeth Fisk, Dr. Kathryn Hamilton (Advisor), University of Wisconsin - Stout
Traditional predictors of college success include high school GPA and ACT or SAT scores (e.g. House,
1998), However, students have many opportunities to develop academic and personal skills that may
improve academic success in college that may not be reflected in these traditional measures. For example,
students may complete advanced placement (AP) and/or post-secondary option (PSEO) courses. To date,
there has been little study of the role of these types of courses in academic success.
Further, academic success in college can be predicted by skills that students have gained through their
experiences. For example, Meeker et. al. (1994) evaluated success in the psychology major in light of skills
and traits. Lammers et. al (2001) found that students with better study skills have higher GPA’s than those
with poorer study skills.
Thus, the purpose of this study was to evaluate non-traditional measures of academic behaviors and
their relationship to success in college (i.e., college GPA). Predictor variables in the study were number of
AP classes completed, number of PSEO classes completed, and measures of academic skill, including
note-taking, time management, and study skills.
College academic success (measured through college GPA) is related to traditional measures of success
(ACT/SAT scores and high school GPA), to non-traditional measures of academic performance (AP and
PSEO courses), and academic behaviors (study skills, note taking, time management).
Results and Interpretations
There was a correlation between high school GPA and college GPA: r(185) = .27, p = .00.
This correlation was used as a control to ensure the study’s validity.
Our finding is consistent with past research (e.g., Cimmetta et. al., 2010)
There was a weak relationship between ACT score and college GPA: r(177) = .16, p = .03.
Other studies showed a similar result (e.g., Meeker et. al., 1994)
A previous study used only freshmen (Gifford et. al., 2009); our study indicated a similar correlation
across all grades.
There was no significant relationship between the number of AP classes taken and college GPA:
r(185) = .15, p = .05.
The hypothesis was not supported, but the findings were consistent with Scott et al. (2010).
These results might suggest that college content is not enough and that students need the college
environment as well.
This analysis also did not take into account the number of exams taken and/or passed for college
There was a weak positive relationship between the number of PSEO classes taken and college
GPA: r(180) = .20, p = .01.
PSEO classes provide both the college content and the college environment, which may better
prepare students for full college admission.
• 190 students recruited through Psychology Participant Pool
• Females represented 60% (114) and males represented 40% (76)
• Freshmen (48%), sophomores (30%), juniors (12%), seniors (8%), and super seniors (fifth year + ; 3%)
Study skills scores were positively related to college GPA: r(157) = .29, p = .00.
The hypothesis was supported and was consistent with Lammers et al. (2001).
There was no relationship between note-taking scores and college GPA: r(181) = .14, p = .06.
The hypothesis was not supported and also contradicted previous research. For example, Kiewra et
al. (1987) found that note-taking was related to academic achievement.
This result may be due to the note-taking survey used, which was originally developed for use with
middle school students (Brown, 2005).
• Demographic information
• Time management questionnaire (Britton & Abraham, 1991)
• Note-Taking Habits Survey (Brown, 2005)
• Study Behavior Inventory (Bliss & Muller, 1986)
• Participants provided with an internet link to the online survey
• Demographic information, time management survey, note-taking survey, and study habits survey
• Debriefed about hypothesis
• Participation ~ 15 minutes
Bliss, L. B, & Muller, R. J. (1986). An instrument for the assessment of study behaviors of college students. Annual Meeting of the American Educational
Britton, B. K. & Tesser, A. (1991). Effects of time-management practices on college grades. Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 405-410.
Brown, R. (2005). Seventh-graders’ self-regulatory note-taking from text: perceptions, preferences, and practices. Reading, Research, and Instruction, 44,
Cimetta, A. D., D'Agostino, J. V., & Levin, J. R. (2010). Can high school achievement tests serve to select college students?. Educational Measurement:
Issues and Practice, 29, 3-12.
Gifford, D. D., Briceno-Perriott, J., & Mianzo, F. (2006). Locus of control: academic achievement and retention in a sample of university first-year students.
Journal of College Admission, 18-25.
House, J. D. (1998). High school achievement and admissions test scores as predictors of course performance of american indian and alaska native
students. The Journal of Psychology, 132, 680-682.
Kiewra, K. A., Benton, S. L., & Lewis, L. B. (1987). Qualitative aspects of notetaking and their relationship with information-processing ability and academic
achievement. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 14(3), 110-117.
Lammers, W. J., Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Slate, J. R. (2001). Academic success as a function of the gender, class, age, study habits, and employment of
college students. Research in the Schools, 8(2), 71-81.
Meeker, F., Fox, D., & Whitley, Jr, B. E. (1994). Predictors of academic success in the undergraduate psychology major. Teaching of Psychology, 21, 238241.
Scott, T, Tolson, H., & Lee, Y. (2010). Assessment of advanced placement participation and university academic success in the first semester: controlling for
selected high school academic abilities. Journal of College Admission, 208, 26-30.
Sexton, D. W., & Goldman, R. D. (1975). High school transcript as a set of "nonreactive" measures for predicting college success and major field. Journal of
Educational Psychology, 67, 30-37.
Time management scores were weakly related to college GPA: r(173) = .21, p = .01.
The hypothesis was supported and was consistent with previous research (Lammers et al., 2001).
This study collected data from students at one university, so generalization is limited.
Skills and performance were assessed by self-report measures. Students may not accurately remember
their high school experience.
There may be other traits of a successful student that were not measured that may have an impact on
college GPA, such as test-taking strategies, involvement in co-curricular or extra curricular activities,
Our study measured current academic study, note-taking, and time-management skills, not at entry into
Future research could be expanded to evaluate other characteristics of success in college and evaluate
academic success in specific programs or at other universities.
Because of the contradictory findings with regard to note taking and academic performance, additional
research could be done to further explore the relationship between these variables.