The New SAT Is No Better Than the Old SAT in Predicting Black Student Success in College

Three years ago The College Board revamped the SAT college admission test in an attempt to make it more predictive of a student’s prospects for success during his or her first year of college. The content of the mathematics and reading portions of the test was changed and a new writing section was added. For students, the testing took a longer period of time and cost them more.

But the end result is that the new SAT doesn’t do any better job in predicting a student’s success in the first year of college. A student’s grades in high school remain the best single indicator to predict college success.

A report issued by The College Board also found that the SAT tended to overpredict the level of success in college for black test takers and tended to underpredict the success of white test takers. But this was also the case for the older version of the SAT.

Robert Schaeffer, public information director at the National Center for Fair and Open Testing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said in a statement, “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. Maybe the College Board’s slogan should be, ‘Meet the new test, same as the old test — only longer and more expensive.’”

Schaeffer predicts that the new reports will accelerate the number of colleges and universities that will not require applicants to take the SAT.