Discrepancy Between Self-Report and School-Record Grade Point Average: Correlates With Psychosocial Outcomes Among African American Adolescents1


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    This research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse Grant #DA07484. The views or policies expressed do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The authors would like to thank the Projects for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Michigan-Flint for their work on this project, and the Flint Community Schools and the students for their cooperation and time. We also would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful and helpful comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Marc A. Zimmerman, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029. E-mail: marcz@umich.ed.


The purpose of this study is to better understand the implications for using self-reported grade point average (GPA) versus school-record GPA in academic achievement research. First, we found that nearly half the youths interviewed overreported their GPAs by at least 2 half grades. Second, youth who overreported their GPAs also reported less psychological distress, more successful academic beliefs, and fewer problem behaviors. Third, we found that self-reported GPA was associated with all 3 sets of variables, but school-record GPA was associated with only problem behaviors. The findings suggest that it may be useful for researchers to consider how different measures of GPA may influence their results.