The SAT: Time For A Change?

In the United States, every student considering education past high school is faced with the dreaded SAT. It’s a long, daunting exam that compares students across the world. But, are the results of this exam actually meaningful?

According to The Washington Post, higher SAT scores are strongly correlated with wealthier families. Is this just a coincidence? I would say no. Wealthier families have more resources available for private tutors and study material.

SAT Scores are Highly Correlated with Income

Plus, socioeconomic status isn’t the only variable affecting one’s score. In fact, SAT scores are also correlated with one’s parental education, ethnic group, and PSAT participation.

So, what should we make of this association? SAT scores are used almost universally by American schools. And, they play a huge role in an applicant’s acceptance or rejection. Are SAT scores really reflective of a student’s critical thinking and education, or are they merely a result of one’s cultural and economic background? Are these scores a meaningful predictor of one’s future success?

In fact, new research suggests that the SAT does not accurately predict undergraduate GPA like the College Board claims. For instance, Aguinis and his research team discovered that the mathematics portion of the exam was inaccurate by gender for 16% of colleges. That’s 80,000 students! They also found a similar discrepancy between white and Latino students on the same section. In this case, 19% of colleges were affected. That’s another 65,000 individuals!

It’s statistics like this that make me question the validity of this test. Being that it plays such a huge rule in the future of students, it’s definitely something that needs to be considered. It’s too soon to say if the SAT should be discarded, but it may just be time for a change.