What is the best predictor of college success?
Not SAT or ACT scores says Cliff Adelman of the US
Dept. of Ed. Research Office. He adds that neither
are those other numbers used in college admission
like HS GPA and rank in H. S. graduating class very
good predictors for their sharpness has been dulled
by years of grade inflation.

Although, SAT scores do a pretty good job or
predicting first semester grades, but politicians and
institutions and the public are more interested in
graduation rates. Yet SAT scores get almost all of
the media attention.

Curriculum beats all other measures in predicting
who will graduate from college and as Adelman
points out, it is the only factor that educators can do
anything about. He reports that "72 percent of Afro-
American students who got beyond Algebra II, took
Advanced Placement Courses and attended four
year colleges or universities earned bachelor's
degrees.   For Latinos, the graduation figure was
79%. "

Adelman adds that the media feeding frenzy
following every annual report of institutional
rankings on the SAT gives the SAT a powerful
symbolism that it does not deserve (and I might add
makes ETS richer). It is implied that the US as a
nation will stand or fall on the SAT.

He cites evidence that the propaganda about racial
differences on the SAT causes many minority
students to freeze up on the test.

In truth, although 70 per cent of students entering
college take the SAT, the scores are considered for
admissions purposes in only about 200 of the 1800
four year colleges. Certainly, none of the 1200 two-
year colleges consider SATs in admitting students.

Martha Maxwell
Adelman, Clifford. "Why Can't We Stop Talking
About the SAT?" (Nov. 5, 1999). Chronicle of Higher
Education, B4-5.