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California and the SAT: A Reanalysis of University of California Admissions Data


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  • Zwick, Rebecca
  • Brown, Terran
  • Sklar, Jeffrey C.
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    As part of the University of California's recent reconsideration of the role of the SAT in admissions, the UC Office of the President published an extensive report, UC and the SAT (2001), which examined the value of SAT I Reasoning Test scores, SAT II Subject Test scores, and high school grades in predicting the grade-point averages of UC freshmen (UCGPA), as well as the role of economic factors in predicting UCGPA. The analyses in UC and the SAT were based primarily on data that had been aggregated across freshmen cohorts (1996 through 1999) and across UC campuses. In the current study, by contrast, data were analyzed within campuses and cohorts and then summarized. While some of our conclusions are similar to those in UC and the SAT, others are not. Like the earlier study, for example, our reanalyses showed that, considered collectively, the SAT II tests required by UC (Writing, Math, and a third test of the applicant's choice) are slightly superior to the SAT I as a predictor of UCGPA. But our reanalyses also revealed considerable variability across campuses and freshman cohorts in the predictive value of high school grades and test scores, which was masked in the earlier analyses. Also, our reanalyses did not support the conclusion in UC and the SAT that SAT II scores are "less sensitive" to socioeconomic factors than SAT I scores, an assertion that was often repeated during the SAT debate that took place in 2001 and 2002.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley in its series University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education with number qt9hf3t044.

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    Date of creation: 01 Jul 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:cdl:cshedu:qt9hf3t044

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    Keywords: Admissions; Admissions Testing; College Admissions Policy; SAT; Standardized Tests; University of California;


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    1. Rothstein, J.M.Jesse M., 2004. "College performance predictions and the SAT," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 297-317.
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    Cited by:
    1. Chatman, Steve, 2007. "Institutional Versus Academic Discipline Measures of Student Experience: A Matter of Relative Validity," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education qt81f4h1nn, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.
    2. Robert Dur & Amihai Glazer, 2005. "Subsidizing Enjoyable Education," CESifo Working Paper Series 1560, CESifo Group Munich.


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