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What does the SAT Measure

The SAT is an aptitude test. Like all aptitude tests, it must choose a medium in which to measure intellectual ability. The SAT has chosen math and English.

OK, the SAT is an aptitude test. The question is—does it measure aptitude for college? The SAT’s ability to predict performance in college is only a little better than chance.

No test can measure all aspects of intelligence. Thus any admission test, no matter how well written, is inherently inadequate. Nevertheless, some form of admission testing is necessary. It would be unfair to base acceptance to college solely on grades; they can be misleading. 

For instance, would it be fair to admit a student with an A average earned in easy classes over a student with a B average earned in difficult classes? A school’s reputation is too broad a measure to use as admission criteria: many students seek out easy classes and generous instructors, in hopes of inflating their GPA. Furthermore, a system that would monitor the academic standards of every class would be cost prohibitive and stifling. So until a better system is proposed, the admission test is here to stay.

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