NEW YORK — SAT® scores, coupled with high school grades, provide colleges with a powerful barometer for predicting academic success, concluded the latest studies of the national benchmark test. Released today, the College Board’s 2008 SAT Validity Studies are the first to reveal information about the full cohort of students who have taken the SAT since the March 2005 addition of a required writing section.
The studies, which evaluated data of about 150,000 students from 110 four-year colleges and universities across the country, demonstrate that the SAT continues to be an excellent predictor of how students will perform in their first year of college and revealed meaningful data specific to the writing section. The new section, which is mandatory for SAT takers, was shown to be the single most predictive section of the test for all students. The analyses also found the writing section to be the most predictive across all minority groups.
“Writing as a college-level skill is a crucial asset for student success, an important message reinforced by colleges that require admissions tests with a writing section,” said College Board President Gaston Caperton. “Colleges not requiring an admissions test with writing are overlooking one of the best predictors of college success to which they have access. Writing should not be optional.”
The purpose of the research was to determine the ability of the SAT to predict college success. These studies focused on the revised SAT, which was introduced in spring 2005. Among the most salient findings:
- The SAT continues to be an excellent predictor of how students will perform in their first year of college;
- The SAT is a better predictor than high school grades for all minority groups (African American, Hispanic, American Indian and Asian);
- The recently added writing section is the most predictive of the three SAT sections;
- Writing is the most predictive section of the SAT for every subgroup except ESL students;
- The three-hour and 45-minute SAT is almost as predictive as four years of high school grades; and
- The best predictor of first-year college GPA is a combination of high school GPA along with SAT scores.
The results are consistent for all types of colleges, with slight differences. (See Table 6 in the “Validity for the SAT in Predicting First-Year College Grade Point Average” study.) Grades are slightly better predictors of academic success at public or less-selective colleges; SAT scores are slightly better predictors at private colleges or more-selective colleges.
The complete studies are available at http://professionals.collegeboard.com/data-reports-research/sat/validity-studies.
The College Board: Connecting Students to College Success
The College Board is a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the association is composed of more than 5,200 schools, colleges, universities, and other educational organizations. Each year, the College Board serves seven million students and their parents, 23,000 high schools, and 3,500 colleges through major programs and services in college admissions, guidance, assessment, financial aid, enrollment, and teaching and learning. Among its best-known programs are the SAT®, the PSAT/NMSQT®, and the Advanced Placement Program® (AP®). The College Board is committed to the principles of excellence and equity, and that commitment is embodied in all of its programs, services, activities, and concerns.
Alana Klein, (212) 713-8052