Predicted versus Actual GPA: Do Large Differences Signal an Early Warning for Student Attrition?

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Postsecondary institutions often implement early alert systems to identify students at risk of dropping out. This study examines whether a measure of under-/over-performance given a student’s first-term grade point average (GPA) contributes to identifying students with greater chances of leaving the institution in year two, while controlling for other student and institutional characteristics. Study results are based on nearly 120,000 students from 37 four-year institutions. Students were tracked across institutions using National Student Clearinghouse data. Over-/under-performance is calculated as the difference between the actual GPA and that predicted from ACT scores and high school grades. Results suggest that under- and over-performance help to identify students who may be more likely to leave the institution and where transfer students may go.


Education and Human Ecology: 1st Place (The Ohio State University Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum)


College retention, transfer, drop-out, hierarchical logistic regression