The academic rigor of students' high school curriculum2 was strongly associated with their postsecondary GPA, the amount of remedial coursework they took, and with their rates of persistence and attainment. As overall high school academic rigor increased, so did students' GPA. Students who did not exceed the requirements of the core New Basics curriculum had a lower GPA than did those who exceeded them (2.5 points versus 3.1 points). The rigor of students' high school curriculum was also related to the number of remedial courses they took during their first year of postsecondary education. As the rigor of the secondary curriculum increased, the proportion of students who took one or more remedial courses decreased from 21 percent to 3 percent.
High school academic preparation was also related to students' likelihood of remaining enrolled in postsecondary education. In general, the more rigorous their high school curriculum, the more likely students were to persist (or to attain a degree) at the initial postsecondary institution in which they enrolled. While 62 percent of students who did not exceed the core New Basics requirements were still enrolled or had attained a degree in spring 1998, 84 percent of students who exceeded the requirements did so. Likewise, the more rigorous the students' high school curriculum, the higher their likelihood of staying on the persistence track to a bachelor's degree: 87 percent of students who took rigorous academic coursework in high school stayed on the persistence track, compared with 62 percent of students who did not take such coursework. Finally, students whose curriculum was rigorous were more likely to still be enrolled and working for a degree than students who did not exceed the core New Basics requirements (93 percent versus 75 percent).