Questioning the Admissions Assumptions

Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, Jun 19, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

On the subject of measuring learning, you'd think that if grades could be used to predict anything, it would be future grades. Nope. While the grades are the best predictor of future grades (forget about those hopeless SAT scores) the bulk of variance in future grades - 70 percent of it - remains unexplained. "Why are we emphasizing prediction [of college success] as the central value in admissions if we do it so poorly?" Most of the emphasis, of course, will be on the uselessness of the SAT scores - so much so that it will be almost completely overlooked that grades, while better, are also pretty ineffective. I like Mike Klonsky's cynical comment today, that test score are of the most use to real estate agents, as 12 percentage points on the test corresponds to $5000 in the value of the house.
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