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Is the SAT a Good Measure of College Readiness?

The College Board released a report saying that only 43 percent of high school seniors are college ready based on their SAT scores.

Many 2012 graduates of Marin high schools have already settled into their freshman year in college, focusing on doing well in their classes, with SAT scores the farthest thing on their mind.

But the College Board released a report this week that says these freshmen’s SAT scores are an indicator of how well they will fare their freshman year, and the results weren't pretty.

Forty-three percent met a benchmark score of 1550 out of 2400, indicating a 65 percent likelihood they can achieve a B-minus average during the first year of college.

College Board President Gaston Caperton interpreted this figure as a sign of the nation’s weak high school education system

“When less than half of kids who want to go to college are prepared to do so, that system is failing,” he said in a statement. “We must make education a national priority and deliver rigor to more students."

The College Board concluded that “the SAT is a valid and reliable measure of a student's college readiness.”

However, a blog by Jay Matthews, the education columnist at the Washington Post, says we should retire the SAT.

“Selective colleges use the SAT only to decide which applications should be quickly consigned to the dumpster,” Matthews wrote. “They feel guilty about it and will occasionally keep a low score in the maybe pile if the football coach begs them.”

He also added, “Studies say the SAT and ACT do not predict first-year college success — the reason colleges give for requiring them — as well as high school grade point averages do. GPAs also predict college graduation rates better. The effort students put into learning during the school year, as assessed by their teachers, turns out to mean more than a four-hour test graded mostly by machines.

Additionally, more students in the Class of 2012 took the ACT this year than the SAT for the first time: 1,666,017 compared to 1,664,479.

“The ACT, unlike the SAT, has some science questions and inspires less angst in East Coast and West Coast high schools so long terrorized by the SAT,” Matthews noted.

 

Is the SAT a good measure of how well college freshmen will do academically? Or is it just one test? Let us know in the comments.

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