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The Effects of a Program of Intensive Coaching on SAT Scores

Dear, Robert E.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, Coaching, College Entrance Examinations, Instructional Effectiveness, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)


This study is the third study in a series of studies of coaching for the Scholastic Aptitude Test which have been carried out by the Educational Testing Service for the College Board. The present study was set up to investigate whether an intensive and individualized coaching program would lead to substantial gains. Students in 10 schools took part in one coaching session for the Verbal section of the SAT and one coaching session for the Mathematics section during each week of the program and in addition did one hour of homework each week. The coaching was carried on during most of the weeks from mid November 1956 to early March 1957. Some of the main findings were that: (1) the coached students showed no significant gains over control students on SAT-V scores, (2) the coached group showed a gain of about 26 points over the pooled control groups on the March 1957 SAT-M scores, and (3) a substantial subgroup of the coached students who had also taken the SAT at the January 1957 administration showed a gain of about 21 points over control students on the January SAT-M scores. These average gains in Mathematics scores though statistically significant are probably not of sufficient magnitude to give coached students an unfair advantage in college admission proceedings.

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