The Relationship between High School Math Courses, High School GPA, and Retention of Honors Scholarships

    Vol. 35, No. 2, 2005 p. 51 

    by Diann Ackerman Megert

    This research examined the high school transcripts of honors scholarship recipients to identify a better criterion for awarding scholarships than high school grade point average (GPA) alone. Specifically, this study compared the honors scholarship retention rate when the scholarship was awarded based on completed advanced high school math classes to the retention rate when the scholarship was based solely on GPA. The research, conducted at a community college in New Mexico, used a calculated MathScore variable and a dichotomous HighMath variable. The HighMath variable was counted if the student completed a class in trigonometry, pre-calculus, or calculus. The results indicated that awarding the scholarship based on grades earned in high school math classes would not increase retention rates. However, the retention rate was 10% higher if the scholarships were awarded based on a high GPA and on completing an advanced math class than when scholarships were based on GPA alone. While using this combination of advanced math and high GPA might limit access to scholarship funds, access to scholarships cannot be the sole consideration. Students' success in retaining scholarships and remaining in college is paramount.