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National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition

Publication Details

The importance of admissions scores and attendance to first-year performance

Author(s): Moore, R.

Citation: Moore, R. (2006). The importance of admissions scores and attendance to first-year performance. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 18(1), 105-125.



The goal of this study was to determine how ACT Aptitude Ratings (AAR, a pre-admission criterion) of first-year students are associated with various aspects of their first-year experiences. AAR scores were only weakly correlated with students' first-semester grade point averages (GPA), as well as their second-semester grades and attendance rates in a large, introductory biology course. The strongest correlates of students' academic success during their first year of college were their first-semester GPAs and their rates of class attendance. These results (a) indicate that instructors, advisors, and other learning assistance professionals should not rely heavily on AAR scores when making academic decisions regarding academic aspects of students' first-year experiences and (b) emphasize the importance of motivation-related behavior such as class attendance for the academic performances of first-year students. These findings are discussed relative to several recommendations to improve students' academic performances during their first year of college.


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