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Why are the SAT's a bad measure of intelligence?

lindsay78lindsay78 Registered User Posts: 181 Junior Member
edited May 2013 in SAT Preparation
I had a discussion today in my math class about why SAT's shouldn't be the factor in determining how well you will succeed in college. What's your opinion?
Post edited by lindsay78 on

Replies to: Why are the SAT's a bad measure of intelligence?

  • LirazelLirazel Registered User Posts: 352 Member
    What do you mean, "shouldn't be a factor in determining how well you will succeed in college"? Colleges should not consider them? That's a whole different kettle of fish than the words contained in your question.
    What your question says is that, although SATs are the best predictor of how well one does in college (better than GPA, socioeconomic status, anything), we should live in a world where that is not the case? How would you go about fixing that? Why would you want to? That last is not intended to be hostile, just curious. Sorry, written tone on the internet, you know.
  • merii3merii3 Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    I hate the fact that colleges make decisions based SOLELY on SAT scores... but I do think that they are at least somewhat of a good measure.

    For example, AP Calc is my worst class and AP English/AP History are my best. I am newspaper editor and I love to read and write. My SAT verbal scores are ridiculously high, and math is much lower.

    HOWEVER, my significantly low SAT math score does not correspond with my B+/A- in AP Calc...

    So I think while they are a good measure of strengths and weaknesses (although they may be off target) they should not be used as a deciding factor in college admissions. They should get you in the range, not get you in.

    That being said, I've heard of someone who did terribly on her first SAT, but went on to take it 7 times and got it up from a 1400 to a 2100... So it's just a test and I think it's possible to learn how to take it.
  • powerbombpowerbomb Registered User Posts: 3,364 Senior Member
    I hate the fact that colleges make decisions based SOLELY on SAT scores...

    I don't think this is true.
  • Ryan82Ryan82 Registered User Posts: 314 Member
    So many incorrect wrong arguments in this thread where to begin...

    1. To some extent, the SAT is a measure of intelligence.

    Study: SAT a good measure of IQ | ScienceBlog.com

    2. Colleges don't base decisions solely off SAT scores, that is comically wrong. Look at college-boards profile of any school and test scores are usually behind both GPA and rigor of curriculum.

    3. The SAT is necessary as a standardized measure for all students. How are colleges supposed to differentiate between students when GPA's at high schools across this nation use different scales with different difficulties.

    4. There isn't always a correlation between high math scores and high grades in school. One of my friends got a 740 on SAT Math yet is barely passing trig. The SAT measures more potential for success than actual achievement.
  • lilacbutterflylilacbutterfly Registered User Posts: 139 Junior Member
    They do somewhat, the SAT mainly tests how well you can take a test under pressure.
  • glassesarechicglassesarechic Registered User Posts: 5,487 Senior Member
    They predict first semester college grades pretty well, if I'm not mistaking. And I'd say they test your reasoning ability fairly well. As for other factors like creativity, etc that correlate with success in the workface, well, that's not what they're measuring is it?
  • nyc2013nyc2013 Registered User Posts: 433 Member
    Ryan82 summed up a number of great arguments for why the SAT's can be valuable. Also, though, I've found that the format of test taking pretty accurately simulates college grading. Many classes only have the midterm and final as the basis for the entire grade, making each test extremely stressful, and they are usually 2 hours of straight testing. Often there will be more than one exam in a day. The SAT works similarly, a very long test filled with anxiety. If you can handle SAT's you have a good chance at handling college exams, but if you can't then you will probably struggle to get through them.
  • nmsfsatnmsfsat - Posts: 121 Junior Member
    ^ I agree. For the most part, although there are exceptions, students with high grades score high on the SAT. Some students are less intelligent, but study really hard, so they get good grades but lower SAT scores, and vise versa.
  • 314159265314159265 Registered User Posts: 4,276 Senior Member
    I think that SATs test a person's logic and critical thinking ability as opposed to intelligence (what a person can do as opposed to what a person knows). You don't need to know too much or too advanced of a certain topic, but you need to be able to apply what you do know to some pretty tricky problems (especially in math).
  • silverturtlesilverturtle Registered User Posts: 12,496 Senior Member
    I think that SATs test a person's logic and critical thinking ability as opposed to intelligence

    How do you define intelligence?
  • 314159265314159265 Registered User Posts: 4,276 Senior Member
    Intelligence (my definition) = How much/What a person knows

    Logic and Critical Thinking (again, my definition) = How well a person can apply/use what he/she knows
  • crazybanditcrazybandit Registered User Posts: 1,735 Senior Member
    ^You must have a skewed perspective of things, as intelligence encompasses critical thinking and the like. The definition is objective and not subject to change. What you are thinking of is knowledge, which is already the goal of the academic courses you take in school. Whatever the case, the test should not be the object of blame. The fact that a college uses the SAT as a tool in admissions tells us that it cares about what the SAT tests objectively. If it didn't, it wouldn't consider it. The SAT is like a no-smoking sign. You may want to smoke, but if you want the restaurant to serve you, you do not smoke. There is a trade-off
  • silverturtlesilverturtle Registered User Posts: 12,496 Senior Member
    Intelligence (my definition) = How much/What a person knows

    This definition is not standard (unless we are referring to crystallized intelligence, which requires qualification). Indeed, the denotation and common use are antithetical to your connotation.
  • schoolisfunschoolisfun - Posts: 1,238 Senior Member
    I think that even though initial SAT scores may measure the aptitude for critical thinking and problem solving abilities, these things, with an able intelligence, can be taught close to perfection over a period of time.
  • santeriasanteria Registered User Posts: 462 Member
    Supposedly the SAT can accurately measure college performance in your freshman year and somewhat accurately in your sophomore year. After that, though, it does not mean anything. I read this in the New York Times.

    Personally I have a few problems with the test. The essay is meaningless. Its impossible to measure a student's writing ability in 25 minutes and its subjective. The vocabulary is reviewable, so it can not accurately determine how much vocabulary a student knows. I also don't like how the math section is not straightforward. It often doesn't test how much math a student knows, but whether he can understand how the question is stated, which I don't think should be the purpose of the test. I also don't like how students with money can pay for SAT tutors while people without it are forced to study on their own. In theory, if you have an SAT tutor for long enough, you can get an 800. Two of my friends have had SAT tutors for over a year. Both scored extremely high. Their SAT tutor is 90 dollars for 45 minutes (120/hour). Pretty ridiculous.

    Overall though, better educated students obviously do better. I don't think so much weight should be put into the test though, because its not accurate enough.
This discussion has been closed.