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Understanding What SAT Reasoning Test Scores Add to High School Grades: A Straightforward Approach SAT GPA

Bridgeman, Brent; Pollack, Judith M.; Burton, Nancy W.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
RR-04-40, CBR-2004-04
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Test Scores, Predictive Validity, Grade Point Average (GPA), Variance


Although a number of large-scale studies have demonstrated an increase in predictive validity when SAT scores are added to high school grades, this increment is often described in terms of a seemingly very small increase in explained variance. This may have led to the erroneous belief among test critics and others that students with low SAT scores would perform, on average, almost as well in college as students with high SAT scores. Using a sample of 41 colleges, the current study shows substantial difference in the percent of students who succeed (defined by a 2.5 or 3.5 college grade point average [CGPA] at the end of one year or four years in college) by SAT score level, even when intensity of the high school curriculum and high school grades are taken in to account.

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