Improving College Performance and Retention the Easy Way: Unpacking the ACT Exam
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.
We are grateful to seminar participants at Notre Dame and Stanford University and to Brent Hickman and Emily Oster for helpful comments and suggestions. We also thank Darrell Glenn and Andy Lechler from the Ohio Board of Regents for providing the data. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
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. citation courtesy of