Student Preparation for College: The Effects of High School Coursework on College Grades




Bourgeois, Cheryl L.

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During the last two decades, the pendulum has swung from open door admission policies for colleges and universities to raising academic standards. Some researchers argue that although raising entry level criteria for college admission will result in selecting students who are more prepared to succeed, using standardized measures of student achievement for admission will also reduce minority student enrollment This study examines high school achievement of 266 college students attending a Texas four-year public university that has increased the admission requirements for incoming freshman students. Two samples were drawn from among students admitted under the 1990 and the 1993 admission groups to determine the consequences of increasing academic standards and to explore possible explanations for any differences in achievement. The findings demonstrated that students admitted under higher standards had higher first semester college grades, higher high school class rank, and higher standardized test scores. Average grades in high school core curriculum courses explain most of the differences in academic achievement between the two groups, particularly grades earned in high school math and science courses. Race and sex account for some of the variation in first semester college grades, but the characteristics of the samples used in this study did not change significantly under higher standards. Increasing standards resulted in selecting students who are more prepared for college level work, but has not significantly reduced minority student enrollment



academic achievements, entrance requirements, grading


Bourgeois, C.L (1994). Student preparation for college: The effects of high school coursework on college grades (Unpublished thesis). Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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