The revamped SAT, expanded three years ago to include a writing test, predicts college success no better than the old test, and not quite as well as a student’s high school grades, according to studies released Tuesday by the College Board, which owns the test.
“The changes made to the SAT did not substantially change how predictive the test is of first-year college performance,” the studies said.
College Board officials presented their findings as “important and positive” confirmation of the test’s success.
“The SAT continues to be an excellent predictor of how students will perform,” said Laurence Bunin, senior vice president of operations at the board, and general manager of the SAT program. “The 3-hour, 45-minutes test is almost as good a predictor as four years of high school grades, and a better predictor for minority students.”
But critics of the new test say that if that is the best it can do, the extra time, expense and stress on students are not worth it.
“The new SAT was supposed to be significantly better and fairer than the old one, but it is neither,” said Robert Schaeffer, the public education director at FairTest, a group that is critical of much standardized testing. “It underpredicts college success for females and those whose best language is not English, and over all, it does not predict college success as well as high school grades, so why do we need the SAT, old or new?”
The reports, called validity studies, are based on individual data from 151,000 students at more than 100 colleges and universities who started college in fall of 2006.
Plans to revise the SAT were announced in 2002, the year after the University of California president, Richard Atkinson, threatened to drop the test as an admission requirement.
“Given the data released today, what was the point of all the hoopla about the SAT’s revisions beyond preserving their California market?” Mr. Schaeffer said. “This is all spin. It’s been a marketing operation from the get-go.” ...
Friday, June 20, 2008
This from the New York Times: