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College Board Mathematical Tests as Predictors of Engineering School Grades

Schrader, William B.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Aptitude Tests, College Entrance Examinations, Engineering Education, Grade Prediction, Mathematics Tests, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)


This study explored the use of mathematical aptitude and achievement tests in predicting first-term grades in engineering colleges. For predicting grades in these engineering colleges, a two-hour achievement test and a one-hour aptitude test yield strikingly similar validity coefficients. This similarity holds for prediction of average grades, mathematics grades, and physics grades. The choice of one test in preference to the other cannot be justified on grounds of superior validity. Second, the predictive values of both the aptitude and achievement tests are generally quite satisfactory, taking into account the restricted range of talent in the groups studied. Third, a composite two-hour test involving one-hour of aptitude and one-hour of achievement mathematical materials is consistently superior, though by a slight amount, to the achievement test in predicting initial grades. Fourth, in view of the substantial increase in effectiveness of prediction brought about by combining mathematical test scores with a measure of high school record, it is highly desirable that high school record be used in conjunction with test results in making predictions of success.

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