Can aptitude tests really predict your performance?
Sackett and his colleagues looked at four large studies of people who have taken aptitude tests. For one, the College Board collected SAT scores for all the students entering 110 colleges in 2006, and also their freshman GPA. That study included more than 150,000 people. In another, the Army collected scores from people who took the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, then later evaluated more than 5000 of them on how well they did their jobs. Two other data sets contained students’ performance on tests in high school and their grades in college.
The higher the test scores, the better the test takers performed later. That was true of all the data sets and even at the very top end of the scale. “If anything, the relationship seems to get even stronger at the higher end,” Sackett says. “If you’re going to put students in rank order to give, say, a scholarship, is it unfair to prefer somebody in the 99th percentile to somebody in the 98th percentile?” Absolutely not, he concludes: The data show that the higher the score, the better the person performs later.