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Would your college use SAT scores?

The standardized testing debate is alive and well, sparked again by high school students preparing for the January and March Standardized Aptitude Test. Moreover, there were some reports of the president of the University of California claiming he will abolish the admission requirement last year, according to ABC News.

On one side are the test reform advocates, who point out that the SAT doesn't effectively measure several critical factors that predict student success. It doesn't account for personality traits, differences in motivation or discipline, or particular talent in specific unmeasured categories. In this way, many believe that measuring students based on the single test is much like judging a fish on its ability to climb a tree. 

On the other hand are the proponents who recognize that, while the system isn't perfect, there is a notable correlation between SAT success and college success. Moreover, many others state that the test is just another necessary evil. While it isn't the greatest measurement, there are few other ways of filling the void and critiquing an incoming student's ability effectively.

What would you rely on?
There are a few alternatives out there, however. ABC News reported that the University of California may rely more on the SAT II, which measures achievements within disciplines rather than measuring every single test-taker on just three different sections. Still more people focus their efforts on the ACT, which measures a different range of subjects and may represent applicants more fairly given the broader scope.

Opinion Outpost asked 2,822 people, "if you were creating your own college, would you use SAT scores as a way of judging an applicant's intelligence?" With 62 percent of respondents saying they would not use SAT scores, it would appear that a notable majority of people don't trust the results of the test. For all intents and purposes, they're right for doubting the examination for a number of different reasons.

Why the debate continues to flourish
One of the reasons the standardized testing debate frequently sparks interest but few things change is because many experts don't know for sure whether a high or low score will definitively predict success. David Z. Hambrick, an associate professor of psychology at Michigan State University, wrote in The New York Times that a few studies demonstrate that SAT scores can predict success both in college and later in life. 

"Large-scale meta-analyses by researchers at the University of Minnesota have found that SAT performance is as good of a predictor of overall college grade point average as it is of freshman grade point average, and Vanderbilt researchers David Lubinski and Camilla Benbow have documented that the SAT predicts life outcomes well beyond the college years," he told the source.

However, ABC News reported that most studies note a relatively weak correlation - around 10 to 20 percent - between SAT scores and first-year college grades. However, the news source noted that this data is unreliable as students with varying SAT scores will attend colleges of different difficulties. Comparing a student with a perfect SAT score but a C average at Harvard University to a low-scoring student who attended a community college and received an A average doesn't yield any conclusive data.


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