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A Review of Research on the Prediction of Academic Performance after the Freshman Year GPA

Wilson, Kenneth M.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
RR-83-11, CBR-83-02
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Academic Achievement, College Students, Grade Prediction, Literature Reviews, Predictive Validity, Grade Point Average (GPA)


The criterion most frequently used in studies designed to assess the predictive validity of measures used in college admission has been the freshman-year GPA. It is not self-evident that the first-year GPA provides either a sufficient or a representative sample of a student's academic performance. Questions have been raised regarding the validity of admissions measures for predicting longer-term performance in college. This is the report of a systematic review of research bearing on (a) the validity of admissions measures for predicting GPA that reflects performance beyond the freshman year—i.e., longer-term cumulative or independently computed post-freshman-year GPA, such as senior-year GPA; (b) the comparative relevance and utility of freshman-year, cumulative, and independently computed post-freshman-year GPA as criteria for the validation of admissions measures. Among other things, the research reviewed lends support to the traditional practice of employing the freshman-year GPA in admissions-related predictive validity studies. (48pp.)

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