The SATs were created to offer a way to help less-privileged students show their skills—but these days, the stressful tests "serve more to truncate access than to open it," says William Hiss, a former dean at Bates College. He and his team have conducted what could be a groundbreaking study on the usefulness of standardized tests in determining college success. The study looked at 33 colleges where submitting test scores is an optional part of the application process.
Turns out there was a difference of just half a point in the GPAs of "submitters"—those who provided admissions offices with their scores—and "nonsubmitters." The graduation rate among nonsubmitters was only 0.6% lower than their peers who submitted their scores, NPR reports. "By any statistical methodology, (these are) completely trivial differences," Hiss says. Nonsubmitters are "significantly outperforming their standardized testing." One metric that the study finds is a good predictor of success: high school grades. But testing officials say the exams have value in offering a fuller picture of a student. (Read more SAT stories.)