The quality of a student’s high school is a key predictor of grades earned in college, according to a new study from The University of Texas at Austin.
The study examines the relationship between high school quality and student success at college and takes advantage of the unique policy environment provided by Texas’s Top Ten Percent automatic admissions law. In addition to increasing the diversity of high schools in the state that send students to the university, the law also provides an admission criteria based on a sole observable characteristic: high school class rank.
The takeaway: Providing college opportunity may extend beyond simply identifying the best students at disadvantaged high schools. More efforts are needed to help those students—even those with top grades—succeed in college.
The report was authored by Sandra E. Black, professor of economics; Jane Arnold Lincove, LBJ School of Public Affairs assistant professor; and graduate students Jenna Cullinane and Rachel Veron. It was published in January 2014 by the National Bureau of Economic Research.