Friday, September 14, 2012

A former colleague comments on SAT accuracy

A former colleague, one who also escaped from the clutches of the bully chairperson, quit at the same time I did.  He is now trying to start up a new business as an education consultant.  To try to build up his brand name, he started a new blog on education

Before I get into talking about Darrin's particular thoughts on the SAT, I want to encourage you to check him out as an educational consultant if you happen to live in the vicinity of Madison, Wisconsin.  I know he was always the guy I went to when I needed advice on how to handle issues in the classroom.  He also was a tremendous resource to our university in organizational and structural matters.  He was actually the first one to see the trouble caused by the department chair and encouraged the administration to look into it (although we all wish he had done so sooner--it would have saved a lot of us a lot of headaches).  All this to say, he is great at observing problems people are having and figuring out ways to solve them in a way that works out best for the students. 

Now, enough plugging his business and on to plugging his blog.  A recent study came out arguing that SAT scores do an overall good job of predicting college success, even for lower socio-economic status students.  Darrin makes an interesting argument that these findings don't seem to follow common sense and deserve further investigation.  Specifically, lower SES students don't have the same advantages on the SAT

For myself, I'm not sure what I think about this.  I'm not sure if this is relevant to Darrin's argument, but it strikes me that colleges try to compensate for SES-led deficiencies by offering extra classes at basic levels to catch students up.  I taught a couple of those myself.  I would think this advantage would somewhat counteract the disadvantage Darrin described in the SAT testing.  Or maybe it would make the difference worse...Let me think about it and come back to all of you on this. 

The main point of this post was to get Darrin's blog out in the blogosphere, and I must confess that he is stronger in this area than I am.  I encourage you to check it out at


  1. Which methons do you personally use to look for information for your future articles, which exact search networks or techniques do you often turn to?

    1. To be honest, Belville, I don't really do research for the purposes of blog posts. I write about what is interesting to me at any given moment and will occasionally do further research to make a stronger point. But, in reality, I don't do much research for this blog. In the case of this post, I'm just reacting to my friend Darrin's blog post. For this blog (but not the other ones) ideas are sometimes triggered by stories either in the Chronicle of Higher Education or InsideHigherEd.