Intelligence Testing: SAT, GREs, and GPAs?

| 5 Comments | 1 TrackBack

One concept that I found interesting about intelligence was the debate regarding the use of SATs and college aptitude tests to predict how students would perform in the future. We all had to take at least one of these tests, but I still wonder what they're even measuring. I've heard before that the SAT, ACT, and GRE were not designed to predict an individual's GPA. As I learned from the excerpt on Lilienfeld p. 331, the crucial piece that's overlooked when people dismiss these tests as useless is this: colleges don't admit the lowest scorers, so the intelligence "playing field" is somewhat evened in college admissions requirements. This article on the ABC News website has a great soccer "SAT" analogy that helped me think about this concept.

Basically, the people who scored low on tests in high school generally don't attend college, so some of the previously "average" students will struggle and become those students with the lowest GPAs. Conversely, some of the "average" people may get motivated and work hard to obtain a great GPA; some lazy, brilliant students may slack in their newfound freedom and start to fail in class. While these intelligence tests can't perfectly predict how students will perform in college, some of the variability in first-year GPA can be explained using the soccer analogy. It's important to remember that the SAT is a rough estimation/comparison tool, not the final word in admissions; so, study hard but relax about your upcoming GRE!

1 TrackBack

sample Gre Questions from sample Gre Questions on August 24, 2012 8:08 AM

Intelligence Testing: SAT, GREs, and GPAs? - PSY 1001 Spring 2012 Section 014 and 015 Read More


In my opinion GPA is a terrible assessment of someone's ability to do well in college. Personally I found it easy to do well in school with minimal effort outside of class. Had I not "slacked off" I may have done better but there was no need, cause I knew the admission standards at the U. I find that ACT scores tell more of someone's ability. We took it at the end of our Junior year, and come fall the students who scored well were the ones who were already planning on going to college. While those who scored poorly were not thinking about going to school, and had already struggled through high school.

While the ACT/SAT has certain issues, I feel that it is a much better indicator for college success than high school gpa. My reasoning for this would be that gpa's aren't scored on a level playing field - certain schools have more difficult classes, certain schools have weighted gpas, exc - which causes some students to look better or worse than others when its just a matter of circumstances. Standardized tests provide a solution to this problem in that they place everyone on a level playing field. Barring outside influences (not understanding format, anxiety, exc) it is a good indicator of evaluating two students from different areas on their abilities at a given time.

The soccer analogy, in my eyes, was a great analogy. It said it in a very straight-forward manner. When talking about "leveling the playing field", I believe that much of the leveling in the playing field is external factors outside of school. I have already seen many smart kids do poorly in college because of the great deal of push and nurturance they received at home but aren't able to receive directly here at college. The entrance exams do seem to measure one's intelligence to some degree, but there are other external factors (independence, motivation, social skills, etc.) that I believe play a large role in making a college career sucessful besides intelligence.

It sounds like everyone is ripping on high school gpa's but personally I think for the majority(not all cases) gpa reflects an individuals work ethic, which I consider to be a key factor in one's success in college. Everyone knows the kids in high school who were smart but didn't apply themselves, when it comes to college they do the same thing. So as their intelligence potential is shown in the ACT or SAT, I feel the accurate factor is one's high school GPA. Also in that ABC article the soccer analogy seemed spot on and I had never really thought about the SAT like that before.

Although the tests cannot measure our ability completely, it's part of the assessment in entering the higher school and it's important mean. Actually, we don't have a perfect mean to measure our ability. However, by testing us by using those exams, we can know that how the people studied and had an effort. Of course, using only the test score is not fair, but it can be a part of the good mean of assessing our ability.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by rickx041 published on April 10, 2012 6:12 PM.

The relationship between Harry and Lloyd was the previous entry in this blog.

Judging a Book by Its Cover: the Study of Physiognomy is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.