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Improving College Performance and Retention the Easy Way: Unpacking the ACT Exam

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  • Eric P. Bettinger
  • Brent J. Evans
  • Devin G. Pope

Abstract

Colleges rely on the ACT exam in their admission decisions to increase their ability to differentiate between students likely to succeed and those that have a high risk of under-performing and dropping out. We show that two of the four sub tests of the ACT, English and Mathematics, are highly predictive of positive college outcomes while the other two subtests, Science and Reading, provide little or no additional predictive power. This result is robust across various samples, specifications, and outcome measures. We demonstrate that focusing solely on the English and Mathematics test scores greatly enhances the predictive validity of the ACT exam.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17119.

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Date of creation: Jun 2011
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Publication status: published as Eric P. Bettinger & Brent J. Evans & Devin G. Pope, 2013. "Improving College Performance and Retention the Easy Way: Unpacking the ACT Exam," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 26-52, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17119

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Cited by:
  1. Bai, Chong-en & Chi, Wei & Xiaoye, Qian, 2013. "Do College Entrance Examination Scores Predict Undergraduate GPAs? A Tale of Two Universities," MPRA Paper, University Library of Munich, Germany 48731, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Sandra E. Black & Jane Arnold Lincove & Jenna Cullinane & Rachel Veron, 2014. "Can You Leave High School Behind?," NBER Working Papers, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc 19842, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Judith Scott-Clayton & Peter M. Crosta & Clive R. Belfield, 2012. "Improving the Targeting of Treatment: Evidence from College Remediation," NBER Working Papers, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc 18457, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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  1. Improving College Performance and Retention the Easy Way: Unpacking the ACT Exam (AEJ:EP 2013) in ReplicationWiki

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