Does the SAT show a direct correlation with a students success rate during his first semester of college?
Almost every person who is of the age of eighteen or older has encountered some sort of standardized test at some time in their lives. Whether or not they scored as they had hoped, is a different story. Some people have seen that the score that they had received on a test wasn’t necessarily an accurate portrayal of the way that they were going to succeed at what they were testing for. Many colleges throughout the United States require a particular score from the SAT’s for admittance to their institution. Does that particular test score reflect how the student is going to do in college? Of course it doesn’t. The SAT is no longer an aptitude test. The SAT is also not a valid test. The SAT’s also fail to show how hard a student works at something, and the potential that they may have.
What is the SAT? According to Good (1957), the scholastic-aptitude test is “a test used to predict the facility with which the individual will progress in learning academic school subjects” (602). This tells us that the SAT is an aptitude test. An aptitude test is “a test for determining the probability of a person’s success in some activity in which he is not yet trained” (Neufeldt 68; 1991). The definitions given above tell what the SAT is, and what it does. Not all people agree with this thought. Does the SAT necessarily tell a high school student what kind of grades they are going to receive their first semester of college? Does the SAT really test aptitude? According to some experts on the topic, even though the word aptitude appears in the acronym, the test itself has hardly anything to do with aptitude at all (Lemann #??; Dejnozka and Kapel; 456) The test is now more likely correlated with an intelligence test and an achievement test.
According to Deighton (1971) “No test is valid for all purposes, in all situations, or for all groups of students (165). This is giving an overall statement that no test can possibley show that it is a valid test. But, even if the test did show worthiness to the effectiveness of it’s proclaimed predictions, it would still be unable to predict the future outcome of the students GPA as a college student. If the SAT could predict such a thing, then there would be predictive validity shown by the scores of the tests. “Predictive validity is the validation of Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores as a measure of academic ability by their correlation with subsequent student grade-point averages (Alkin et al. 1330). The SAT can be a somewhat decent predictor of college outcome, but not the best when used solely. Lemann (1999) says “….the SAT is built to do one simple thing: predict what a high school senior’s grade-point average will be in the first sememster of college. It does this well enought to be useful, though not well enough to be all-knowing (newpaper page?).
If the SAT’s are not considered an aptitude test anymore, then why place so much emphasis on doing well on them? The reason being is that many colleges take into consideration the score that the student has received on the SAT as part of their entrance examination. The colleges should not take such a drastic look at the SAT’s, and should pay more attention to the grades that the student had received in high school. When used in combination with other factors, the SAT then becomes a useful aid for college entrance acceptance. “SAT scores, when used together with high school grades or class rank, are better predictors of college grade point average than are SAT scores alone” (Dejnizka and Kapel 456).
The SAT is still used to help make the decisions as to who gets into some schools, eventhough it is solely a crude way at admitting a student. The SAT is no longer an aptitude test, shows no validity, and does an extrememly poor job at showing the ability of the student. However, when the SAT is used in conjunction with other factors such as high school GPA, an interview with the student, an entrance essay, etc., then it may be a partially acceptable means of prediction. Not the best paper that I have ever written, but hope it helps.
Brazziel, William F. Improving SAT Scores: Pros, Cons, Methods. The Journal of Negro Education. 57 (1988): 81.
Deighton, Lee C. Test Validity The Encyclopedia of Education. New York: MacMillian C ; TFP, 1971.
Dejnozka, Edward L., and David E. Kapel. Ed. American Educators Encyclopedia. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1982.
Good, Carter V., and Winifred R. Merkel. Dictionary of Education. New York: McGraw-Hill BC, 1957.
Lemann, Nicholas. Tinkering With The Test. New York Times 13 Sept. 1999, OP-ED.
Lawlor, Sarah, et. al. The Validity Of Using The SAT As A Criterion For Black And White Students Admission To College. College Student Journal 31 (1997): 507.