Does the SAT accurately predict college academic performance?

Christopher Berry of Wayne State University and Paul Sackett of the University of Minnesota. They pulled 5.1 million grades, from 167,000 students, spread out over 41 colleges. They also got the students’ SAT scores from the College Board, as well as the list of schools each student asked the College Board to send their SAT scores to, an indicator of which colleges they applied to. By isolating the overlaps–where students had applied to the same colleges, and taken the same courses at the same time with the same instructor–they extracted a genuine apples-to-apples subset of data.

It turns out that an SAT score is a far better predictor than everyone has said. When properly accounting for the self-selection bias, SAT scores correlate with college GPA around 67%. In the social sciences, that’s considered a great predictor.

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