There is an emerging consensus among researchers that high school grade point average is a better predictor of success in college than scores on the SAT or ACT.

This appears to be the case for students transitioning directly from high school to college. For those who have delayed admission by a year or more, the tests have a slight advantage in math, not in English. The advantage is very small.

“Among students who delayed college entry, GPA didn’t consistently turn out to be more predictive than standardized exam scores. It depended on the subject and exam. Compared to SAT and ACT scores, GPA was a better predictor for success with college English. But compared to the ACCUPLACER scores, the percentage of the variance in college-level English grades explained by GPA was only one point greater. In math, the percentage of the variance in college-level math grades was just a point higher than the percentage explained by SAT scores. GPA was less predictive of college-level math grades than were ACT and ACCUPLACER scores.”

Given the predictive value of the GPA, there is no advantage for students or colleges in using standardized admissions tests.

Currently, in the competition to gain admission to highly selective colleges, parents spend large sums to pay for test prep. Some spend thousands of dollars. The top tutors command hundreds of dollars per hour, even $1,000 an hour.

To see how crazy this is, read this article by an SAT tutor who commands $1,000 an hour. At first, I thought he was jeopardizing his lucrative gig by this public confession, but by the time I finished reading, I realized he had transitioned into online tutoring, which apparently makes lots of dough and works as well as personal meetings. When confronting a mechanical test, a mechanical prep works well.

He writes:

“Nearly every student who came my way was, apparently, a “bad tester.”

“What do most parents mean when they refer to their children as bad testers?

Bad tester (n.): A student capable of keeping a 3.9 GPA at a competitive high school while participating in four extracurricular pursuits who is nonetheless incapable of learning the small set of math facts, grammar rules, and strategies necessary to get a high SAT score.

“How is it possible that a student who can ace his trigonometry tests and get an A+ in English can’t apply those same skills to the SAT? On the surface, it seems unlikely. But as I learned, parents and students around the country have been conned into thinking that it’s not only possible but standard.

“The first thing you need to know in order to understand the illegitimacy of this entire concept: The SAT isn’t particularly difficult.

“What do you need for a perfect SAT score? A thorough knowledge of around 110 math rules and 60 grammar rules, familiarity with the test’s format, and the consistent application of about 40 strategies that make each problem a bit easier to solve. If you can string together a coherent essay, that’s a plus…

“Kids are remarkable learners. If we give them the tools they need to study, the belief that they can learn on their own, and the gentle support necessary to encourage the process, they’ll accomplish remarkable things.

“On the other hand, if we put the power of education in the hands of figureheads, externalized structures, and programs that dictate what students are supposed to learn, when, where, and how, American students will continue to flounder.

“I’ve seen what students can do and learn on their own, and I’ve seen how students act when someone else is given the reins. I prefer the former.“

The author is explaining how to prep for the test.

Why take the test when your GPA matters more and shows your persistence over four years?

Even better for students would be to skip the test, save your parents’ money, go to school daily, do the work, and improve your GPA.