Do Standardized Tests Actually Predict Success in College?


Most schools require standardized tests, but how many actually study how those results determine student success in college? According to a report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, only half of colleges measure whether higher standardized test scores predict later academic success. The Chronicle of Higher Education explored the findings in an article published this week. According to NACAC: “Although most four-year institutions require standardized tests, only half (51 percent) measure how well test scores predict student success on their own campuses. Of those, 59 percent do so annually.”

The report also explores why more colleges don’t seek the correlations between test scores and college grades, though many see a stronger connection between high school grades and later success. Often, funding for research is the main obstacle. The report notes that there’s a need for further school-specific research, particularly with the new SAT and revised ACT, though most schools have not yet conducted any studies.

According to the Chronicle, “Perhaps most important, digging into data also might help colleges evaluate the fairness of their admission requirements. ‘If we acknowledge the broader educational inequities in our society, and if the tests aren’t giving you much beyond what grades are already giving you,’ Mr. Hawkins says, ‘you might ask if the tests are amplifying those inequalities.’”

Many students see the tests as an unfair marker of their academic achievements, and there are controversies over whether the tests are discriminatory. NACAC’s findings could influence how colleges use the scores, or whether they use them at all. Many of the schools that have studied student success concluded that a student’s GPA has a stronger correlation to academic success in college than their ACT/SAT scores.

See the full article here, and for a direct look at NACAC’s findings, check out their study results.