ERIC Number: EJ745593
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Branded by a Test
Popham, W. James
Educational Leadership, v63 n7 p86-87 Apr 2006
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Program (ACT) scores are the main determinants of college entrance in the USA. It is widely assumed that these tests are predictive of success both during college and in later life, but such views are incorrect. Another widely-held view, held by many educators, is that the SAT and ACT are interchangeable due to their shared focus on management. However, the content covered by each test is significantly different. The SAT test assesses a student's natural academic aptitude, with two sections covering verbal and quantitative abilities. Performance in each section of the test is reported as a scale score between 200 and 800, which are often combined to come up with a total score. In 2005, the top score for the SAT increased to 2400 through the addition of a writing section. The ACT assesses achievement, not academic ability, assessing each student's acquisition of the knowledge and skills necessary for university, across English, mathematics, reading and science. An optional essay question to assess writing is also now available. Section scores range from 1 to 36, and are averaged to provide a total. Educators and society may place emphasis on SAT and ACT results, but neither is an accurate predictor of college grades. Correlation analysis shows that SAT or ACT results accurately predict college grades in nearly 25 percent of cases. The remaining 75 percent of a student's grade performance is linked to motivation, study habits and other factors. It is concluded that students can be successful even with "ho-hum" SAT or ACT scores and that students should not be judged by such scores, but rather by their real achievements throughout college and during life.
Descriptors: Aptitude Tests, College Entrance Examinations, Misconceptions, Academic Achievement, Predictive Validity, Grades (Scholastic), College Bound Students, Scores
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 1703 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA 22311-1714. Tel: 800-933-2723; Tel: 703-578-9600; Fax: 703-575-5400; Web site: http://www.ascd.org.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: SAT (College Admission Test)