IMPLEMENTATION AND RESULTS OF THE TEXAS AUTOMATIC ADMISSIONS LAW
(HB 588)
at
THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
REPORT NUMBER 4

DEMOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS
FALL 2001

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AND PERSISTENCE OF TOP 10% AND NON-TOP 10% STUDENTS
ACADEMIC YEARS 1996-2000

Prepared by:

Gary M. Lavergne, Director of Admissions Research
Office of Admissions
The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Bruce Walker, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Director of Admissions
The University of Texas at Austin

 

Note: The authors wish to acknowledge and thank Cindy Hargett, Senior Systems Analyst, Student Information Systems, of the University of Texas at Austin for her valuable contributions to this project.

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Introduction

This is the fourth in a series of reports on the demographic makeup of top 10% students entering The University of Texas at Austin. These reports were developed to provide easy access to data for the general public, policy analysts, political decision-makers, and fellow academicians. It documents the university’s progress towards achieving diversity after the Cheryl J. Hopwood, et.al. v State of Texas decision in 1996.

This report also documents the persistence and performance of students admitted through a process fashioned by the passage of HB 588, a legislative response to Hopwood which requires the automatic admission of any student graduating in the top 10% of his/her high school graduating class, and compares them to fall 1996, the last year in which students were admitted under a classic admissions model using affirmative action to assure the accomplishment of the University’s diversity goals. Performance data focus on GPAs of the entering class of 2000 and disaggregated by college, gender, racial/ethnic groups and college admission test score intervals, and compares them to previous classes. Persistence and graduation data include five-year percentages from the entering class of 1996 to one-year persistence percentages for 2000. The report also includes demographic data for fall 2001 entering freshmen.

As stated in earlier reports, this report is but another chapter of a larger social and educational story. It is not an evaluation of past affirmative action policies. Nor is it a statement of the success or failure of policies using or not using affirmative action. Neither is it a proposed blueprint for other universities or public institutions seeking diversity. It is merely another chapter about what has happened at The University of Texas at Austin immediately before and since the end of the use of affirmative action in admissions.

Many contemporary assaults on the use of affirmative action to achieve diversity goals took the form of referenda or changes in administrative and legislative codes. These processes generally included public input and debate. Hopwood, on the other hand, was a judicial fiat. In 1996, the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals removed affirmative action as a tool available to the admissions offices of the states of Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. For UT Austin officials there was neither choice nor debate. If the university family was to bear any resemblance to the state’s general population, a wholesale re-evaluation and re-structuring of student affairs processes (especially admissions) had to take place.

The Texas Legislature responded with the passage of HB 588, more commonly known as the “Top 10% Law.” The law is often misinterpreted as an assault on affirmative action. In reality, it was legislation generated by the advocates of diversity, led by African American and Latino legislators, to increase the chances of enrolling a diverse class, especially at the flagship universities—The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University at College Station. Governor George W. Bush signed the bill into law in the spring of 1997.

During the years immediately preceding Hopwood, The University of Texas used what has been described as a “Classic Model” for making admissions decisions. The model included factors that allowed for the easy and efficient processing of very large numbers of applications. Decisions were made after the distribution of students based on a predicted freshman grade point average. The formula used, a multiple regression equation, relied on the combined SAT score (or a concorded ACT score) and high school class rank. For a variety of reasons, strict adherence to such a policy could not, by itself, produce diverse classes. The ACT/SAT, like virtually all standardized tests, has a well-documented history of differential performance gaps among socio-economic, gender, and racial-ethnic groups. To meet its long-cherished diversity goals, and in order to enroll a freshman class bearing some resemblance to the state itself, the University used affirmative action. This policy was in place until Hopwood forced its removal. The last freshman class admitted under such a classic model was during the summer/fall of 1996.

With the entering class of 1997, the University’s admission policy expanded to include the following factors:

  1. The Academic Index (AI)
    High School Record:
  2. The Personal Achievement Index (PAI)

For purposes of comparison, however, the entering class of 1997 does not provide a good contrast with 1996 (the last year of affirmative action). 1997 was a transition year not affected by HB 588. For that reason, this report focuses on 1996 as a base year for illustrating the use of affirmative action, and compares it to 1998 through 2001.

(Note: This report and those which precede it do not presume 1996 to be an ideal or representative year for illustrating or evaluating affirmative action policies. 1996 is used because of a fair assumption that the latest data is preferred.)

Executive Summary -- Year 2001 Highlights

While much more investigation is needed, it appears that the legislative intent to de-emphasize the use of SAT scores in the admissions process to achieve pre-Hopwood diversity levels without sacrificing persistence and performance has been achieved – as least when compared to the last year of affirmative action (1996).

But as stated above, this is a small part of a larger social and educational story. 

HB 588’S IMPACT OF THE DIVERSITY OF THE ENTERING FRESHMEN CLASS OF 2000

As was the case with previous reports, and unless otherwise specified, populations were selected from all summer and fall enrolled students. Since HB 588 was written to benefit the graduates of Texas high schools, the populations in this report are of Texas high school graduates. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the rule-writing authority for the implementation of HB 588, defined a top 10% student as someone who the high school ranked out of a specific class size. These are referred to as “explicit top 10%” students who were automatically admitted to The University of Texas as a result of HB 588. In this report all references to “top 10%” are “explicit top 10%.”

Table 1 below illustrates the growth of top 10% students admitted to UT since 1997.

TABLE 1
TOP 10% STUDENTS ADMITTED TO UT-AUSTIN BY RACIAL/ETHNIC BACKGROUND

ETHNICITY

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

White

2262

2561

2753

3182

3213

African American

118

143

268

291

245

Asian American

803

863

998

1034

1081

Hispanic

613

734

911

1020

1012

For the first time since the implementation of HB 588, there were fewer top 10% admits in a racial/ethnic group—African Americans, which declined from 291 in 2000 to 245 in 2001, and Hispanics, which declined slightly from 1020 to 1012. The largest increase was among Asian Americans (+47).

Table II below shows that the diversity level of the entering class of 1996 (pre-Hopwood) was restored by the fall of 1999.   Since 1999, the diversity levels of the entering classes have remained stable. Before interpreting changes in n-counts, the fact that the entering class of 2001 is smaller than 2000 must be considered. The reduction in class size (-349) was more than absorbed by Whites (-354), and African Americans (-54). The percentage of White students continues to decline. The percentage of African Americans declined slightly as well (from 4% to 3%) from last year’s five-year high. The Asian American and Hispanic populations increased and are at all-time highs at 19% and 14% respectively. Since 1996, the largest changes in demographics came from the White (-4%) and the Asian American (+4%) populations.

TABLE II
FRESHMAN ENROLLMENT
1996-2000

Ethnicity

1996

1998

1999

2000

2001

 

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

White

4159

65

4399

65

4447

63

4801

63

4447

61

Native American

34

<1

37

<1

28

<1

32

<1

34

<1

African American

266

4

199

3

286

4

296

4

242

3

Asian American

942

15

1133

17

1221

17

1325

17

1413

19

Hispanic

932

14

891

13

976

14

1011

13

1024

14

Foreign

97

2

83

1

82

1

217

3

139

2

Unknown

0

0

2

<1

0

0

4

<1

38

<1

Total

6430

6744

7040

7686

7337

ACADEMIC PREPARATION OF TOP 10% STUDENTS

For the past few decades, institutions have commonly measured the academic preparedness of its entering freshman class through the use of aggregate college admissions test scores. (It is the only nationally validated and standardized way to do it.) The University of Texas at Austin requires its applicants to submit at least one set of scores from two available college admissions tests: the ACT Assessment or the SAT I: Reasoning Test. The vast majority of UT’s applicants submit SAT scores. For purposes of this study, ACT scores were concorded to the SAT scale using a concordance table developed by the Measurement and Evaluation Center at UT Austin.   (The relationship between ACT and SAT scores is well-documented.   A national concordance study by ACT/ETS/College Board showed that the correlation between SAT and ACT scores for over 105,000 students was .92. A new concordance study conducted recently by the Office of Admissions Research and ACT, Inc., using a dataset of over 12,600 UT Austin applicants over a two year period, showed a correlation of .87.) From 1996 through 2001, UT admissions policy was to use the best combined score (a concorded   ACT Composite or the SAT Combined score) for a single test date for each student.

Table III below shows test score differences between top 10% students and non-top 10% students. Since 1996 the mean scores of the top 10% students have fallen from 1242 to 1211. After an initial decline from 1996 to 1997, the non-top 10% group’s scores have risen to a mean only 9 points (on the SAT scale) below the top 10% group. This is almost certainly the result of the passage of HB 588 and UT Austin’s response. Scores play no role in the admission of top 10% students, and for non-top 10% decisions, test scores are combined with many other factors.   

TABLE III
MEAN COLLEGE ADMISSION TEST SCORES OF ENROLLED TOP 10% AND NON-TOP 10% STUDENTS

Note:   The numbers below, and throughout this report, represent SAT combined scores and concorded ACT scores. Students submitting more than one set of scores were given the benefit of the best performance from a single test date.

 

FALL 1996

FALL 1997

FALL 1998

FALL 1999

FALL 2000

FALL 2001

Top 10%

1242

1237

1230

1218

1212

1211

Non-Top 10%

1186

1168

1180

1180

1193

1202

Table IV illustrates a distribution of students by SAT point intervals and approximate ACT values. The decline in mean scores for top 10% students since 1996, from 1242 in 1996 to 1211 in 2001 (-31), comes from increases in the percentages of students in the lower score intervals. For example, in 1996 the percentage of top 10% students with scores below 1000 was 4.4; in 2000 it more than doubled to 10.0% and increased slightly to 10.1% in 2001.

TABLE IV
SAT SCORE RANGES FOR All ENROLLED FRESHMEN TOP 10% STUDENTS
SAT SCORE RANGES FOR All FRESHMEN TOP 10% STUDENTS 
FALL, 1996-2000

SAT Ranges
(ACT Values)

1996

1998

1999

2000

2001

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

<900
(<18)

26

1.1

42

1.7

92

3.2

126

3.8

113

3.3

900-990
(18-21)

81

3.3

130

5.2

160

5.5

208

6.2

233

6.8

1000-1090
(21-23)

320

13.2

325

12.9

391

13.4

467

14.0

455

13.3

1100-1190
(23-26)

512

21.1

511

20.3

576

19.7

699

20.9

743

21.7

1200-1290
(26-28)

585

24.1

615

24.5

722

24.7

753

22.5

761

22.2

1300-1390
(29-31)

510

21.0

508

20.3

579

19.8

616

18.4

634

18.5

1400-1490
(31-33)

296

12.2

297

11.8

318

10.9

368

11.0

378

11.0

1500+
(34-36)

98

4.0

85

3.4

87

3.0

109

3.3

106

3.1

Total

2428

100

2513

100

2925

100

3346

100

3423

100

SAT Mean

1242

1230

1218

1212

1211

THE TEXAS ACADEMIC SKILLS PROGRAM (TASP) RESULTS

The State of Texas mandates that its colleges and universities measure student readiness for college-level study through the use of the Texas Academic Skills Program (TASP) test. TASP consists of three achievement tests: reading, mathematics, and writing. Students can be exempt from TASP by an acceptable performance on either the SAT, ACT or the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS—Texas’ state high school exit test). Table V outlines TASP results for top 10% and non-top 10% students entering the University during the summer/fall 1998 through 2001. Students are classified as "exempt" (had high enough TAAS or ACT/SAT scores), "passed" (not exempt but made passing scores on TASP), or "remediation" (scored too low on TASP and participated in required remedial activities). Because of its readiness mission, TASP focuses on minimal skills, as evidenced by the very low percentages of UT students needing remediation even among non-top 10% students. For the past three years only 1% of both top 10% and non-top 10% UT entering freshmen have required remediation, and on any given year 79% to 91% of freshman groups have exempted, and thus, never took TASP.

TABLE V
TASP RESULTS FOR TOP 10% AND NON-TOP 10% STUDENTS
1998-2001

 

1998

1999

2000

2001

 

Top 10%

Non-Top 10%

Top 10%

Non-Top 10%

Top 10%

Non-Top 10%

Top 10%

Non-Top 10%

Exempt

89%

82%

90%

85%

90%

88%

91%

91%

Passed

10%

15%

9%

14%

8%

10%

8%

8%

Remediation

1%

3%

1%

1%

1%

1%

1%

1%

N-count

2513

3597

2925

3596

3346

3713

3423

3255

FRESHMAN YEAR PERFORMANCE OF TOP 10% STUDENTS

In the second of this series of HB 588 reports, Dr. Bruce Walker documented the relationship between higher class rank, higher ACT/SAT scores, and lower incidences of required remediation for Top 10% students than their lower-ranking peers. With the exception of remediation rates, that trend continued with the entering class of 2000. So did superior performance by top 10% students after one year of schoolwork at UT. Table VI below shows one-year performance as measured by GPA. The data are for entering freshmen.

At every score interval, i.e., among students with comparable ACT/SAT scores, top 10% students outperformed non-top 10% students. There is a strong linear relationship between scores and GPAs, but the relationship is less evident when observations are made over time. For example, in 1996, top 10% students earned a GPA of 3.21; in 2000, top 10% students had a mean ACT/SAT that was 30 points lower, but they earned a 3.26.  

TABLE VI
FRESHMAN YEAR PERFORMANCE BY SAT SCORE RANGE
1996 VS. 1998 VS. 2000
ALL STUDENTS

 

1996

1998

2000

SAT Ranges
(ACT Value)

TOP 10%

NON-TOP 10%

TOP 10%

NON-TOP 10%

TOP 10%

NON-TOP 10%

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

<900
(<18)

26

2.45

71

2.27

42

2.48

91

2.32

126

2.67

74

2.43

900-990
(18-21)

81

2.66

164

2.44

130

2.70

220

2.39

208

2.84

157

2.61

1000-1090
(21-23)

320

2.85

546

2.52

325

2.91

608

2.62

467

2.95

597

2.71

1100-1190
(23-26)

512

3.05

982

2.62

511

3.01

1,004

2.68

699

3.12

1037

2.77

1200-1290
(26-28)

585

3.24

965

2.67

615

3.27

940

2.78

753

3.31

1041

2.89

1300-1390
(29-31)

510

3.40

457

2.81

508

3.47

538

2.86

616

3.52

564

3.07

1400-1490
(31-33)

296

3.58

161

3.06

297

3.67

169

3.16

368

3.67

190

3.27

1500+
(34-36)

98

3.65

29

3.05

85

3.74

27

3.19

109

3.77

53

3.12

Total/Mean

2,428

3.21

3,375

2.65

2,513

3.23

3,597

2.72

3,346

3.26

3,713

2.86

SAT Mean

1242

1186

1230

1180

1212

1193

As Dr. Walker pointed out in the second report, it is not surprising that the combination of SAT scores and class rank produces superior predictions than the use of either variable alone. While certainly not definitive, the data in this and previous reports strongly suggest that the admission of large numbers of students with lower ACT/SAT scores has not had a measurable negative effect on student performance at UT-Austin.

Tables VI (a) through VI (d) show identical breakdowns as Table VI but for each major racial/ethnic group. Overall, the patterns are similar, but great care should be taken not to over-interpret some cells of data driven by very small n-counts. The performance of top 10% students is observably better. For purposes of clarity, the data are presented in two-year snapshots.

TABLE VI (a)
FRESHMAN YEAR PERFORMANCE
BY SAT SCORE RANGE
1996 VS. 1998 VS. 2000
WHITE STUDENTS

 

1996

1998

2000

SAT Ranges
(ACT Value)

TOP 10%

NON-TOP 10%

TOP 10%

NON-TOP 10%

TOP 10%

NON-TOP 10%

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

<900
(<18)

1

0.00

25

2.18

9

2.56

32

2.35

19

2.74

32

2.36

900-990
(18-21)

23

2.87

74

2.37

41

2.63

119

2.48

55

2.76

90

2.58

1000-1090
(21-23)

145

2.82

305

2.54

145

2.89

380

2.60

211

2.93

384

2.70

1100-1190
(23-26)

315

3.05

646

2.65

308

3.00

720

2.69

411

3.12

733

2.77

1200-1290
(26-28)

363

3.20

705

2.66

405

3.27

666

2.78

495

3.32

728

2.89

1300-1390
(29-31)

367

3.41

321

2.81

339

3.46

401

2.81

409

3.49

403

3.06

1400-1490
(31-33)

211

3.53

116

3.07

192

3.64

117

3.17

249

3.65

126

3.24

1500+
(34-36)

72

3.65

23

3.10

58

3.72

22

3.37

72

3.78

33

3.26

Total/Mean

1497

3.24

2215

2.68

1497

3.26

2457

2.73

1921

3.31

2529

2.86

SAT Mean

1268

1202

1254

1192

1247

1199

TABLE VI (b)
FRESHMAN YEAR PERFORMANCE
BY SAT SCORE RANGE
1996 VS. 1998 VS. 2000
AFRICAN AMERICAN

 

1996

1998

2000

SAT Ranges
(ACT Value)

TOP 10%

NON-TOP 10%

TOP 10%

NON-TOP 10%

TOP 10%

NON-TOP 10%

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

<900
(<18)

3

1.89

19

2.28

4

2.56

23

2.28

29

2.53

15

2.28

900-990
(18-21)

6

2.46

13

2.48

11

2.57

16

2.41

30

2.77

13

2.88

1000-1090
(21-23)

28

2.65

52

2.56

22

2.77

28

2.80

36

3.07

30

2.67

1100-1190
(23-26)

30

2.86

45

2.62

19

3.18

23

2.66

26

2.82

33

2.80

1200-1290
(26-28)

20

3.27

28

2.29

7

3.04

18

2.89

23

3.19

24

2.57

1300-1390
(29-31)

4

3.06

5

2.20

3

3.56

8

3.10

11

3.36

11

3.02

1400-1490
(31-33)

-

-

2

2.97

3

3.93

3

3.16

1

4.00

2

3.84

1500+
(34-36)

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

2.29

Total/Mean

91

2.84

164

2.48

69

2.95

119

2.66

156

2.91

129

2.70

SAT Mean

1126

1086

1092

1065

1053

1107

TABLE VI (c)
FRESHMAN YEAR PERFORMANCE
BY SAT SCORE RANGE
1996 VS. 1998 VS. 2000
ASIAN AMERICAN

 

1996

1998

2000

SAT Ranges
(ACT Value)

TOP 10%

NON-TOP 10%

TOP 10%

NON-TOP 10%

TOP 10%

NON-TOP 10%

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

<900
(<18)

2

2.36

6

2.37

1

2.88

8

2.09

12

2.63

8

2.45

900-990
(18-21)

10

2.93

15

2.62

18

2.84

27

2.29

28

3.07

23

2.82

1000-1090
(21-23)

45

3.09

63

2.66

48

3.01

91

2.71

79

2.98

81

2.75

1100-1190
(23-26)

76

3.12

129

2.59

86

3.13

142

2.75

118

3.25

143

2.75

1200-1290
(26-28)

116

3.40

128

2.72

131

3.34

153

2.86

136

3.37

184

2.96

1300-1390
(29-31)

93

3.47

86

2.88

123

3.50

84

3.00

146

3.59

106

3.19

1400-1490
(31-33)

65

3.72

31

3.24

88

3.72

34

2.98

102

3.72

48

3.26

1500+
(34-36)

23

3.68

3

3.69

24

3.78

3

2.68

32

3.78

13

3.04

Total/Mean

430

3.38

461

2.74

519

3.38

542

2.79

653

3.40

606

2.94

SAT Mean

1269

1209

1271

1194

1250

1219

TABLE VI (d)
FRESHMAN YEAR PERFORMANCE
BY SAT SCORE RANGE
1996 VS. 1998 VS. 2000
HISPANIC

 

1996

1998

2000

SAT Ranges
(ACT Value)

TOP 10%

NON-TOP 10%

TOP 10%

NON-TOP 10%

TOP 10%

NON-TOP 10%

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

N

GPA

<900
(<18)

20

2.67

21

2.34

28

2.43

28

2.40

66

2.72

19

2.66

900-990
(18-21)

41

2.48

61

2.49

60

2.73

58

2.25

93

2.85

29

2.40

1000-1090
(21-23)

100

2.84

123

2.38

106

2.94

104

2.57

140

2.95

98

2.70

1100-1190
(23-26)

90

3.01

155

2.50

95

2.86

107

2.59

140

3.04

113

2.80

1200-1290
(26-28)

81

3.23

94

2.81

71

3.11

92

2.62

93

3.24

89

2.84

1300-1390
(29-31)

43

3.27

40

2.63

38

3.46

37

3.02

43

3.54

39

2.91

1400-1490
(31-33)

18

3.60

10

2.31

13

3.60

13

3.46

14

3.60

10

3.37

1500+
(34-36)

3

3.50

2

1.34

3

3.71

2

2.02

2

3.27

4

3.46

Total/Mean

396

3.00

506

2.52

414

2.96

441

2.59

591

3.04

401

2.78

SAT Mean

1142

1123

1113

1123

1093

1143

The second report in this series also addressed concerns that HB 588 might result in the admission of significant numbers of students unable to perform as well as UT freshmen did when the University used a classic admissions model—admitting students based on a predicted freshman GPA. Of special concern were those UT schools with an earned reputation for being both selective and rigorous. Table VII below examines three such schools: Business, Engineering, and Natural Science. Entering freshmen from 1996, 1998 and 2000 were compared to determine whether there were significant differences in mean GPA. None were observed during a time when each of the mean ACT/SATs declined noticeably. In summary, for three rigorous UT schools, from 1996, a year in which affirmative action was allowed, to 1998 and 2000, the second and fourth year of the implementation of HB 588, earned freshman GPA remained stable and in some cases increased slightly. As noted earlier, 1998 and 2000 had classes nearly identically as diverse as 1996.

TABLE VII
SAT MEAN AND FRESHMAN GPA FOR TOP 10% STUDENTS
BY SELECTED UNDERGRADUATE COLLEGES AND ETHNICITY

Note: N-counts are based on the number of students with ACT/SAT scores.

1996

 

BUSINESS

ENGINEERING

NATURAL SCIENCE

 

GPA

SAT

N

GPA

SAT

N

GPA

SAT

N

White

3.36

1266

318

3.35

1326

208

3.11

1262

333

African American

3.02

1164

20

2.50

1114

13

2.87

1128

19

Asian American

3.43

1273

97

3.44

1344

83

3.34

1237

157

Hispanic

3.23

1167

58

2.98

1214

68

2.96

1123

99

All

3.34

1252

495

3.28

1302

374

3.14

1229

613


1998

 

BUSINESS

ENGINEERING

NATURAL SCIENCE

 

GPA

SAT

N

GPA

SAT

N

GPA

SAT

N

White

3.28

1253

382

3.31

1322

281

3.17

1235

314

African American

3.09

1096

21

2.94

1054

5

3.04

1131

16

Asian American

3.49

1276

141

3.36

1315

126

3.29

1240

167

Hispanic

2.90

1091

78

2.98

1160

84

2.99

1133

118

All

3.27

1232

625

3.27

1290

497

3.17

1214

621

2000

 

BUSINESS

ENGINEERING

NATURAL SCIENCE

 

GPA

SAT

N

GPA

SAT

N

GPA

SAT

N

White

3.29

1238

517

3.28

1290

291

3.26

1251

402

African American

2.78

1040

39

3.27

1150

22

2.81

1056

39

Asian American

3.48

1250

207

3.36

1289

153

3.36

1233

193

Hispanic

3.05

1111

132

2.94

1126

129

3.09

1082

133

All

3.27

1214

901

3.23

1250

600

3.23

1208

776

These data present a “broad brush” analysis and do not suggest an absence of academic problems. In some colleges a 2.75 GPA is required to enter upper-level classes. Even though GPAs held steady, and in some cases improved, some African American and Hispanic average GPAs are very near the 2.75 level, and are unacceptably low, suggesting strongly that large numbers of students from these groups are at-risk of not moving to upper division courses. This requires additional study.

Table VII (a) below illustrates the first year academic performance of top 10% and non-top 10% students by all colleges at UT Austin for the entering class of 2000. For top 10% students the pattern of lower ACT/SAT scores but steady or slightly better academic performance continues.

TABLE VII (a)
FIRST YEAR ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF UT-AUSTIN ENTERING FRESHMEN
2000

 

Top 10%

Non-Top 10%

 

N

SAT

GPA

N

SAT

GPA

Architecture

24

1324

3.61

16

1381

3.17

Business

901

1214

3.27

87

1225

3.03

Communication

290

1172

3.32

85

1256

3.24

Education

69

1074

3.18

126

1121

2.86

Engineering

600

1250

3.23

351

1286

2.91

Fine Arts

87

1191

3.32

159

1162

2.80

Liberal Arts

554

1221

3.29

1968

1164

2.86

Natural Sciences

776

1208

3.23

879

1225

2.78

Nursing

41

1063

3.06

26

1150

2.60

Social Work

4

1055

2.91

16

1183

2.87

TOTAL

3346

1212

3.26

3713

1193

2.86

PERFORMANCE BY GENDER

Using 1996 as a base year, Table VIII shows that top 10% male students’ GPA increased slightly from 1996 to 1998 (from 3.19 to 3.24) and held steady through 2000 (3.22). During the same time period female mean GPAs ranged from 3.22 to 3.29. Both males and females showed declines in mean ACT/SAT scores. Interestingly, in all but one ACT/SAT score interval both males and females in 2000 matched or out-performed their 1996 cohorts.

TABLE VIII
FRESHMAN YEAR PERFORMANCE OF TOP 10% STUDENTS
BY SAT SCORE RANGE AND GENDER
1996 VS. 1998 VS. 2000

SAT RANGE
(ACT Value)

1996

1998

2000

MALE

FEMALE

MALE

FEMALE

MALE

FEMALE

 

N

%

GPA

N

%

GPA

N

%

GPA

N

%

GPA

N

%

GPA

N

%

GPA

<900
(<18)

9

1

2.18

17

1

2.59

14

1

2.67

28

2

2.38

38

3

2.69

88

5

2.66

900-990
(18-21)

22

2

2.61

59

4

2.68

30

3

2.55

100

7

2.75

56

4

2.69

152

8

2.90

1000-1090
(21-23)

97

9

2.77

223

17

2.89

95

9

2.82

230

16

2.94

147

10

2.83

320

17

3.01

1100-1190
(23-26)

167

15

2.90

345

26

3.11

184

17

2.91

327

23

3.06

268

19

2.96

431

23

3.22

1200-1290
(26-28)

263

24

3.14

322

24

3.33

251

24

3.16

364

25

3.34

337

24

3.20

416

22

3.40

1300-1390
(29-31)

276

25

3.33

234

17

3.49

264

25

3.45

244

17

3.49

308

21

3.45

308

16

3.59

1400-1490
(31-33)

178

16

3.50

118

9

3.70

168

16

3.63

129

9

3.71

204

14

3.61

164

9

3.75

1500+
(34-36)

71

7

3.58

27

2

3.84

61

6

3.69

24

2

3.86

75

5

3.73

34

2

3.85

Total/ Mean GPA

1083

  

3.19

1345

  

3.24

1067

  

3.24

1446

  

3.22

1433

  

3.22

1913

  

3.29

Mean Test Score

1281

1210

1270

1200

1248

1185

Table VIII (a) shows similar patterns for non-top 10% students, but the ACT/SAT means are much more consistent.

TABLE VIII (a)
FRESHMAN YEAR PERFORMANCE OF “NON-TOP 10% “ STUDENTS
BY SAT SCORE RANGE AND GENDER
1996 VS. 1998 VS. 2000

SAT RANGE

1996

1998

2000

MALE

FEMALE

MALE

FEMALE

MALE

FEMALE

 

N

%

GPA

N

%

GPA

N

%

GPA

N

%

GPA

N

%

GPA

N

%

GPA

<900
(<18)

25

1

2.12

46

3

2.35

39

2

2.30

52

3

2.34

36

2

2.38

38

2

2.48

900-990
(18-21)

67

4

2.36

97

6

2.50

64

3

2.33

156

9

2.42

59

3

2.68

98

6

2.57

1000-1090
(21-23)

212

11

2.36

334

22

2.62

242

13

2.53

366

21

2.69

228

11

2.61

369

21

2.77

1100-1190
(23-26)

491

27

2.49

491

32

2.75

459

24

2.53

545

32

2.82

483

24

2.64

554

32

2.88

1200-1290
(26-28)

591

32

2.55

374

25

2.88

548

29

2.64

392

23

2.97

616

31

2.77

425

25

3.06

1300-1390
(29-31)

319

17

2.76

138

9

2.91

380

20

2.75

158

9

3.11

387

20

2.98

177

10

3.28

1400-1490
(31-33)

130

7

3.00

31

2

3.28

126

7

3.10

43

3

3.33

131

7

3.21

59

3

3.40

1500+
(34-36)

23

1

2.96

6

<1

3.39

20

<1

2.97

7

<1

3.82

43

2

3.04

10

<1

3.47

Total/ Mean GPA

1858

  

2.57

1517

  

2.75

1878

  

2.64

1719

  

2.82

1983

  

2.79

1730

  

2.94

Mean Test Score

1213

1152

1212

1145

1219

1163

On the issue of rigor and selectivity (illustrated racially and ethnically in Table VII above), Table IX presents the same data by gender. Table IX shows very stable GPAs from 1996 to 1998 to 2000. Again, this was during a period of declining ACT/SAT scores.

TABLE IX
SAT MEAN AND GPA FOR TOP 10% STUDENTS
BY SELECTED UNDERGRADUATE COLLEGES AND GENDER
1996

 

Male

Female

 

N

GPA

SAT

N

GPA

SAT

Business

229

3.27

1276

266

3.41

1231

Engineering

277

3.29

1312

97

3.24

1275

Natural Science

287

3.10

1261

326

3.17

1200

1998

 

Male

Female

 

N

GPA

SAT

N

GPA

SAT

Business

258

3.26

1259

367

3.28

1213

Engineering

347

3.26

1298

150

3.27

1271

Natural Science

257

3.15

1250

364

3.18

1188

2000

 

Male

Female

 

N

GPA

SAT

N

GPA

SAT

Business

389

3.25

1239

512

3.29

1194

Engineering

433

3.21

1257

167

3.27

1232

Natural Science

320

3.20

1258

456

3.26

1173

PERSISTENCE

One of the concerns expressed during emotional debates over HB 588, which in some quarters continues to this day, was the concern over whether large numbers of students were encouraged to reach beyond their academic capacity and apply to UT Austin. This often led to dire predictions of retention problems. In a survey conducted last year of enrolled UT freshmen, a surprising number of students expressed the concern that HB 588 allowed for the admission of many students who were otherwise unqualified to attend UT. At the University of Texas one-year persistence is defined as the percent of students who returned for their sophomore year. And of course, two-year persistence is the percent of students enrolling the following fall.

TABLE X
PERSISTENCE/GRADUATION RATES OF TOP 10% STUDENTS
1996-2000

 

 

Freshman Class

One-Year Persistence

Two-Year Persistence

Three-Year Persistence

Four-Year Persistence

Five-Year Persistence

 

 

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

Sum/Fall 96

Enrolled

2428

100.00

2268

93.41

2178

89.70

2060

84.84

1078

44.40

282

11.61

Graduated

 

 

 

 

1

0.04

55

2.27

973

40.07

1698

69.93

Sum/Fall 97

Enrolled

2332

100.00

2218

95.11

2132

91.42

2008

86.11

1050

45.03

 

 

Graduated

 

 

 

 

2

0.09

58

2.49

935

40.09

 

 

Sum/Fall 98

Enrolled

2513

100.00

2387

94.99

2293

91.25

2130

84.76

 

 

 

 

Graduated

 

 

 

 

2

0.08

47

1.87

 

 

 

 

Sum/Fall 99

Enrolled

2925

100.00

2774

94.84

2639

90.22

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sum/Fall 00

Enrolled

3346

100.00

3149

94.11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERSISTENCE/GRADUATION RATES OF NON-TOP 10% STUDENTS
1996-2000

 

 

Freshman Class

One-Year Persistence

Two-Year Persistence

Three-Year Persistence

Four-Year Persistence

Five-Year Persistence

 

 

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

Sum/Fall 96

Enrolled

3375

100.00

3061

90.70

2829

83.82

2641

78.25

1677

49.69

560

16.59

Graduated

 

 

 

 

1

0.03

42

1.24

847

25.10

1813

53.72

Sum/Fall 97

Enrolled

4033

100.00

3616

89.66

3303

81.90

3061

75.90

1951

48.38

 

 

Graduated

 

 

 

 

5

0.12

49

1.21

950

23.56

 

 

Sum/Fall 98

Enrolled

3597

100.00

3308

91.97

3073

85.43

2795

77.70

 

 

 

 

Graduated

 

 

 

 

3

0.08

51

1.42

 

 

 

 

Sum/Fall 99

Enrolled

3596

100.00

3267

90.85

2942

81.81

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduated

 

 

 

 

5

0.14

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sum/Fall 00

Enrolled

3713

100.00

3382

91.09

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For top 10% students, one-year persistence slightly surpassed the 1996 level that utilized a classic admissions model relying heavily on SAT scores, high school-generated data, and including affirmative action. It is more accurate to state that persistence rates remained stable.