Validity Studies

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SAT Validity Research

Predicting First-Year Grades and Second-Year Retention

The first national operational SAT validity study for the redesigned assessment was completed in May 2019. This is among the largest SAT validity studies ever conducted, based on data from more than 223,000 students across 171 four-year colleges and universities.

 download  Read the full national operational validity study (.pdf/2.58 MB)

Results show that:

  • SAT scores are strongly predictive of college performance—students with higher SAT scores are more likely to have higher grades in college.
  • SAT scores are predictive of student retention to their second year—students with higher SAT scores are more likely to return for their sophomore year.
  • SAT scores and HSGPA are both related to academic performance in college but tend to measure slightly different aspects of academic preparation. Using SAT scores in conjunction with HSGPA is the most powerful way to predict future academic performance.
    • On average, SAT scores add 15% more predictive power above grades alone for understanding how students will perform in college.
    • SAT scores help to further differentiate student performance in college within narrow HSGPA ranges.
  • Colleges can use SAT scores to identify students who may need academic support before and during college by monitoring predicted versus actual performance and help position these students for success.

Sign Up for the National SAT Validity Study

As we continue documenting the relationship between SAT performance and important higher education outcomes, your institution can take part by signing up for ongoing research.

Learn how to sign up for the national SAT validity study.

Conduct a Validity Study for Your Institution

The College Board offers colleges and universities a free online service to conduct validity research on College Board assessments used in admission and placement. This service, Admitted Class Evaluation Service™ (ACES), helps institutions to:

  • Implement predictive models on campus for admission, placement, advisement, and retention practices and initiatives
  • Evaluate the relative and combined value of the predictors used in admission and placement decisions
  • Examine relationships between predictors (e.g., SAT) and outcomes (e.g., GPA, retention, completion) by subgroups of interest
  • Modify credit or placement policies based on institutional data
  • Analyze possible new predictors to use in admission or placement decisions
  • Understand how or if relationships between predictors and outcomes may change over time

Visit the ACES website to learn more.