College Admissions Tests Do Predict College Success

Source: James Thompson blog, Sep 2015

Paul Sackett identifies an issue which can prevent the brightest people solving the hardest problems. He says: One recurring theme in my work is the tension between designing selection systems to maximize job performance vs. to maximize ethnic, racial, and gender diversity. The current controversies over the future of affirmative action attest to the prominence of this concern.

You know what I think. I think it is wrong to confuse competence with demographic representativeness. Competence is needed so as to obtain the best outcomes of skilled behaviour. Representativeness is needed to establish that a sample represents a population. Confusing the two will lead to bad decisions and sub-standard performance.

Sackett and Kuncel found that SAT and high school grades contributed to predicting academic performance in college. Taking parents’ education and family income into account had little effect on the relationship between SAT scores and college performance.


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