Event Recap

Dean Catallozzi Addresses the Role of High School GPA in the College Placement Process at the Boston Foundation

Monday, January 29, 2018

On Thursday, January 25, 2018, Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) Dean of Humanities and Learning Communities Lori Catallozzi joined leaders from three organizations working to improve academic performance and outcomes for a presentation and panel discussion on “Raising Students’ GPAs in High School and College.”

Hosted by the Boston Foundation and the Success Boston initiative, the panel was moderated by Antoniya Marinova, Program Officer for the Boston Foundation. In addition to Dean Catallozzi, participants included Patty Diaz-Andrade, Executive Director of OneGoal-Massachusetts; Andrew Gallagher, Director of Posse Boston; and Kristin McSwain, Executive Director of the Boston Opportunity Agenda.

The event sought to raise awareness of the importance of stronger academic performance in high school and college, and equip the audience with examples of strategies employed in service of raising students’ GPAs.

Dean Catallozzi presented findings from over a decade of research demonstrating that high school GPA is a stronger predictor of college success than high-stakes, standardized placement tests. “Two out of three students who enroll in Massachusetts community colleges place into at least one developmental education course,” said Dean Catallozzi. “Yet many incoming students who place into remedial coursework by means of standardized placement testing are capable of succeeding when placed directly into college-level courses.”

BHCC has utilized this research in its GPA Placement Project, which places students who have graduated from Massachusetts high schools with an overall high school GPA of 2.7 or higher into college-level English and math. Calling for a system-level shift in thinking, Dean Catallozzi advocated for a multiple measure assessment process that prioritizes high school GPA in the college placement process. “GPA is more accurate than a single placement test because it measures learning over time and reflects factors such as academic motivation, attitude toward learning and help-seeking behaviors that are correlated with academic success.”