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Do SAT and ACT tests accurately predict college success? UC study plans to find out

SAT prep books line the shelves of Barnes and Noble in New York City.
SAT prep books line the shelves of Barnes and Noble in New York City.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

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More than 1,000 universities across the country dropped SAT and ACT tests as a requirement for admission.

Standardized tests have come under growing criticism in recent years. Now University of California faculty leaders plan to launch a study to find out if these tests accurately predict college success. The review, announced last Wednesday, is meant to evaluate if standardized tests should be optional for admissions.

A study released earlier this year found that the tests failed to fully identify talented students. According to the study, universities that dropped the tests saw an increase in applicants from minority groups, including more blacks and Latinos. Critics of standardized tests say the requirement put low-income applicants who can’t afford expensive preparation at a competitive disadvantage.

We examine if SAT and ACT tests accurately predict college success and look into the planned UC study.


Nathan Kuncel, professor of industrial-organizational psychology at the University of Minnesota, his focus includes the structure and prediction of performance in academic and work settings, specifically the use of standardized tests like SATs

Jerry Lucido, professor of research and Associate Dean of Strategic Enrollment Services at USC; executive director of the USC Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice, and Special Advisor to the Provost at the University of Southern California; his focus includes college admissions and enrollment management