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Abstract

The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between early college credit and the success of first-time undergraduate students in South Texas. Many high school graduates are entering college with credits earned while they were enrolled in high school. Researchers have examined the value of early college credit in easing students’ transition from high school to college. Additionally, researchers have investigated the value of early college credit in enhancing students’ early college persistence rates. This researcher focused on the relationships between early college credit and college student achievement of first-time undergraduate students. In the study, student achievement was measured by college grade point average.

The population of this study consisted of 8,627 first-time undergraduate students who entered during class years 1997 to 2005, at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. A statistical analysis of institutional data was conducted to compare the grade point averages of students who entered the university with early college credit with the grade point averages of students who entered the university without early college credit. Within the statistical analysis, the researcher controlled for the academic achievement influences of high school class ranking and American College Testing (ACT) aptitude test scores.

There appears to be a moderate, statistically significant relationship between early college credit and higher education achievement, as measured by grade point average, within the population at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, when controlling for the effects of ACT scores and high school ranking. Those students with early college credit tended to earn a higher grade point average than those without early college credit.