Study: CSAP scores correlate with college success

An analysis of 10th-grade Colorado Student Assessment Program scores found students who performed well on CSAP math tests were more likely to go to college and earn at least 30 college credit hours before age 20 than their peers.

Research group Augenblick, Palaich, and Associates analyzed 10th-grade CSAP math scores of 42,403 Colorado students for the Colorado Department of Higher Education-commissioned study. All students in the sample population enrolled in a public college or university in the state for the first time between 2008 and 2010 and were younger than 20 years old when they enrolled.

The study found the higher a 10th-grader in the sample population scored on a CSAP math test, the greater the likelihood that student would attend a four-year college or university. Students who scored well on the 10th-grade CSAP math test also were more likely to complete at least 30 college credit hours in their first year at either a two-year or four-year institution of higher education.

CSAP scores weren’t the only data to correlate with postsecondary success.

Students with the same test scores were less likely to attend a four-year institution if they were Hispanic; had a physical, mental, speech or learning disability; or qualified for free or reduced lunches due to low household income.

The study also discovered students were more likely to have lower CSAP scores if they fell below standards for a school’s admissions index, a score computed using a student’s high school grade point average, class rank, and/or composite ACT score. Public four-year institutions in the state allow 10 to 20 percent of their students to enroll with an admissions index below their admissions standard.

Researchers found Colorado Mesa University and Colorado School of Mines were the only two public four-year schools in Colorado where students were more likely to finish their first 30 college credit hours before age 20 than peers with the same CSAP scores. Students who took CSAP tests and had admissions index scores above the standard for admission at then-Mesa State College had an 86 percent chance of completing 30 credit hours at the university between 2008 and 2010. Only 69 percent of Colorado students who attended the school with an index below the standard for admission completed the same number of credits during those years.

Students with the same scores were least likely to complete those credits on time if they attended Metropolitan State University of Denver, according to the study.


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