Perhaps the more sensible question might be “Why should we expect anything else, when we consider the non-academic factors that influence college success?"
A 2007 publication by ACT, The Role of Nonacademic Factors in College Readiness and Success* lists three important kinds of non-academic factors:
1. Individual psychosocial factors, such as academic self-discipline, or commitment to school, and self-regulation, for example, emotional control, and academic self-confidence.Let’s get real here! Only the third item, career planning identifying a “good fit” – if such planning existed and were financially feasible for schools to utilize -- is something schooling could address with any hope of effectiveness.
2. Family factors, such as attitude toward education, involvement in students’ school activities, and geographic stability
3. Career planning that identifies a good fit between students’ interests and their postsecondary work
Shooting at closing the high school achievement gap seems to be really off-target aiming, if eventually producing college graduates is the goal.
To examine these issues further, see The First-Year College Experience: Strategies for Improvement
* available at http://www.act.org/research/policymakers/pdf/nonacademic_factors.pdf