This ACT research report looks at the effectiveness of encouraging students to take more rigorous college-prep courses as a means of improving high school student achievement. The author uses data from ACT's 8th, 10th and 11/12th grade tests and compares it to student ACT scores in English, math, science, and reading. The report concluded that taking additional college prep courses or advanced or honor courses did not significantly increase achievement of students post-high school. The report also found that these additional courses most benefit those students who are already on track for college, finding that student achievement by grade eight is the strongest predictor of the academic skills they will have when they graduate from high school.
Benefits of Additional High School Course Work and Improved Course Performance in Preparing Students for College