SAT Is Like an IQ Test —and It Works
Slate essayists say it can and should play a valuable role for colleges
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2014 1:25 PM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – The SAT is a favorite punching bag these days, with critics saying it should be eliminated from the college-application process. But in an essay at Slate, David Hambrick and Christopher Chabris come to the test's defense on several fronts. Those who say the SAT is a lousy predictor of college success are just plain wrong, they write. A slew of research shows that the SAT does "remarkably" well in predicting not only how a freshman will do, but also a senior—and even a new graduate. As for the "socioeconomic" knock that the SAT favors those rich enough to hire special tutors, it's exaggerated. What critics fail to mention is all the low-income students who use strong SAT scores to get into a good college, a feat that might have been impossible otherwise.

The authors say the SAT is similar to an IQ test in that its strength is measuring general intelligence. And while IQ tests have critics of their own, the "bottom line is that there are large, measurable differences among people in intellectual ability," and we'd be foolish to ignore them. "Given everything that social scientists have learned about IQ and its broad predictive validity, it is reasonable to make it a factor in decisions such as whom to hire for a particular job or admit to a particular college or university," they write. Click for their full column.

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Showing 3 of 28 comments
$103359148
Apr 17, 2014 3:10 PM CDT
The title should read "SAT is dumb like an IQ test. Both are retarded and ridiculous and college only makes people dumber not smarter.
disqus_fhwSu2cRQ4
Apr 17, 2014 7:42 AM CDT
One of the studies i read suggested that what these tests, IQ, ACT, SAT, are good at is predicting overall earning potential. There is a fairly high correlation between doing well on these tests and doing well from an economic perspective. Dumbing down the test may let more people into college.... but it won't keep them there. If you don't have the mental toolbox to get through the process this will show up as a failed experience in both school and probably also life. What that diploma tells an employer is this person is willing to put up with a fairly high level of stress and grief to achieve a goal. And that they have the mental capacity to achieve success. Employers pay for the problems you solve. Easy problem equals low pay, hard problem higher pay. But the one component that many fail to understand is effort doesn't always equate to success. These tests predict if you have the capacity for success. The diploma tells them you're willing to put forth the effort to achieve it..
Flyer3237
Apr 16, 2014 8:37 PM CDT
I read where they are dumbing down the SAT for applicants of domestic higher ed colleges. How does that factor into an equivalent of an IQ Test? By eliminating the essay, the test doctors are only autopsying the working brains of these applicants!