The ongoing discussion about the relative importance of grades or test scores in predicting college success continues with a recent report from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) titled Defining Promise: Optional Standardized Testing Policies in American College and University Admissions.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) finds that there is virtually no difference in college graduation rates among students who did and did not submit standardized test scores. It’s a student’s high school GPA that can play a role in college success.
How important are test scores?
I am skeptical of studies showing that test scores do not play a very important role in college grades. In some cases selection bias skews results. At least one study that pulled out SAT scores as an independent variable concluded they are, in fact, a key factor.
Boston University values high grades over high test scores.
Yesterday I posted a Net Price Calculation showing that in disbursing need-based aid BU awarded more grant money to higher-achieving applicants. Today’s table* shows that SAT scores don’t seem to help or hurt award amounts. Grades are more important.
The College Board reports how BU rates the relative importance of these factors in deciding admission:
- Rigor of secondary school record
- Academic GPA
- Application Essay
- Class Rank
- Standardized Test Scores
All students in this NPC illustration took most courses at the “Honors/AP/IB” level.
I keep hearing that grades trump SAT scores in the college admissions game. Apparently it’s true in the case of Boston University.
* In these examples, total earned income was $80,000/year.