Predicting academic performance and retention of private university freshmen in need of developmental education

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Conference Title

Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association


American Educational Research Association


New Orleans, LA

Conference Dates

April 1-5, 2002

Date of Presentation



The study examined the academic success and retention of first-year college students at a small private university to determine which variables (among the following set—gender, high school GPA, SAT verbal and quantitative scores, and indicators of placement into developmental courses) were predictive of three outcomes: (1) academic achievement during the freshman year, (2) retention to the second year, and (3) having both a GPA of at least 2.5 and enrolling as a sophomore. Results confirm the findings of other studies, where GPA at the end of the first year is associated with gender, high school GPA, and verbal and quantitative SAT scores. However, the type of skills development needed by the student—a course in reading, writing, and/or mathematics—was not predictive of academic achievement nor retention. These findings are discussed in light of the developmental program offered at the institution.