This post was submitted as a comment by a reader who self-identifies as “Democracy”:

There’s little question that the SAT and ACT are marginally “good” at predicting success in college. I’ve made this point here numerous times.

The best predictor of success in college is high school grade point average (including an SAT score doesn’t add much). Moreover, research shows that “the best predictor of both first- and second-year college grades” is unweighted high school grade point average. A high school grade point average “weighted with a full bonus point for AP…is invariably the worst predictor of college performance.”

The College Board, which produces the PSAT, SAT, and Advanced Placement courses and tests, now recommends that schools “implement grade-weighting policies…starting as early as the sixth grade.” Yes, the SIXTH grade! There’s nothing quite like hyping nonsense.

College enrollment specialists say that their research finds the SAT predicts between 3 and 14 percent of freshman-year college grades, and after that nothing. As one commented, “I might as well measure their shoe size.” Matthew Quirk reported this in “The Best Class Money Can Buy:”

“The ACT and the College Board don’t just sell hundreds of thousands of student profiles to schools; they also offer software and consulting services that can be used to set crude wealth and test-score cutoffs, to target or eliminate students before they apply…That students are rejected on the basis of income is one of the most closely held secrets in admissions; enrollment managers say the practice is far more prevalent than most schools let on.”

The authors of a study in Ohio found the ACT has minimal predictive power. For example, the ACT composite score predicts about 5 percent of the variance in freshman-year Grade Point Average at Akron University, 10 percent at Bowling Green, 13 percent at Cincinnati, 8 percent at Kent State, 12 percent at Miami of Ohio, 9 percent at Ohio University, 15 percent at Ohio State, 13 percent at Toledo, and 17 percent for all others. Hardly anything to get all excited about.

Here is what the authors say about the ACT in their concluding remarks:

“…why, in the competitive college admissions market, admission officers have not already discovered the shortcomings of the ACT composite score and reduced the weight they put on the Reading and Science components. The answer is not clear. Personal conversations suggest that most admission officers are simply unaware of the difference in predictive validity across the tests. They have trusted ACT Inc. to design a valid exam and never took the time (or had the resources) to analyze the predictive power of its various components. An alternative explanation is that schools have a strong incentive – perhaps due to highly publicized external rankings such as those compiled by U.S. News & World Report, which incorporate students’ entrance exam scores – to admit students with a high ACT composite score, even if this score turns out to be unhelpful.”

The study cited on this thread is from a small (a couple of thousand students) study at the University of Alaska. While some its findings confirm what’s already known about the SAT and ACT, some of its findings suggest that another College Board product — ACCUPLACER — might actually be as good as the College Board says it is.

But it isn’t.

The Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University has done extensive research on ACCUPLACER (tens of thousands of students), and their research finds that ACCUPLACER has “only a weak relationship with educational performance.” Follow-up research found that the vast majority (71 percent) of students who disregarded low placement test scores to take credit classes rather than remedial ones passed the classes.

Author Nicholas Lemann, the Joseph Pulitzer II and Edith Pulitzer Moore Professor of Journalism and Dean Emeritus at Columbia’s School of Journalism, and whose book The Big Test is all about the SAT, said this about it:

“The test has been, you know, fetishized. This whole culture and frenzy and mythology has been built around SATs. Tests, in general, SATs, in particular…”

Princeton Review founder John Katzman was a bit more blunt:

“The SAT is a scam…It has never measured anything. And it continues to measure nothing. And the whole game is that everybody who does well on it, is so delighted by their good fortune that they don’t want to attack it. And they are the people in charge. Because of course, the way you get to be in charge is by having high test scores. So it’s this terrific kind of rolling scam that every so often, somebody sort of looks and says–well, you know, does it measure intelligence? No. Does it predict college grades? No. Does it tell you how much you learned in high school? No. Does it predict life happiness or life success in any measure? No. It’s measuring nothing.”

The amazing thing – as amazing as the fact that some people still believe Trump – is that some people, including lots of teachers and administrators, not to mention students and parents, still buy into the goofiness.