FairTest Reacts to the "New" SAT Validity Studies

for further information:
Robert Schaeffer (239) 395-6773
or Jesse Mermell (857) 350-8207

for use after College Board June 17, 2008 news conference on “new” SAT validity

COLLEGE BOARD REPORTS CONFIRM: “NEW” SAT IS NOT SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER PREDICTOR THAN OLD EXAM, TEST REVISION IGNORED GENDER, RACE, LANGUAGE BIAS CONCERNS; MORE SCHOOLS LIKELY TO DROP ADMISSIONS TESTING REQUIREMENTS


       Two reports on the “new” SAT released today by the College Board, the exam’s sponsor, confirm that the revised SAT is not a significantly better or fairer predictor of first-year undergraduate grades than its predecessor test, according to a watchdog organization which analyzed the studies.

       The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) noted that the College Board reports conclude that high school grades are a more accurate predictor of college performance than is the SAT. “The College Board's inability to marshal any evidence that the "new" SAT is a better predictor than the "old" version is an admission that the revision was not a serious attempt to improve the test,” said FairTest Public Education Director Robert Schaeffer. “Combined with the revision’s failure to address long-standing concerns about biases, these reports will further accelerate the movement toward test-optional admissions.”

Jesse Mermell, FairTest’s Executive Director, added, “The reports demonstrate that the ‘new’ SAT continues to underpredict the performance of young women and students whose best language is not English. Those large groups of applicants will continue to be disadvantaged by admissions and scholarship programs that rely on test scores.”

FairTest’s Schaeffer concluded, “Given the data released today, what was the point of all the hoopla about the SAT’s revisions beyond preserving their California market? Maybe the College Board's slogan should be ‘Meet the new test, same as the old test -- only longer and more expensive.’"

Plans to revise the SAT were announced after University of California President Richard Atkinson threatened to drop the test as an admission requirement. The ‘new’ SAT, which was largely a repackaging of old exams, increased the length of the test by three quarters of an hour and its cost by 41%.

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Key quotes from newly released College Board’s reports:

“The results show that the changes made to the SAT did not substantially change how predictive the test is of first-year college performance.” (Validity of the SAT for Predicting First-Year College Grade Point Averages -- page 1)

“Furthermore, the correlations presented in Table 5 are remarkably similar to those resulting from the last SAT validity study (Bridgeman, McCamley-Jenkins, and Ervin, 2000).” (Validity . . . -- page 5)

“As shown in Table 5, the correlation of HSGPA and FYGPA is 0.36 (Adj. r = 0.54), which is slightly higher than the multiple correlation of the SAT (critical reading, math, and writing combined) with FYGPA (r = 0.35, Adj. r = 0.53). (Validity . . . -- page 5)

“The findings demonstrate that there are similar patterns of differential validity and prediction by gender, race/ethnicity, and best language subgroups on the revised SAT compared with previous research on older versions of the test. (Differential Validity and Prediction of the SAT -- page 1)

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