Aptitude and Achievement Tests for Adolescents
The two most widely used tests administered to adolescents assess both aptitude and achievement.
The SAT, formely called the Scholastic Aptitude Test and Scholastic Assessment Test, was revised in March of 2005 and consists of two tests. The first, the SAT Reasoning Test (formerly the SAT I), measures verbal, mathematical, and writing skills, while the second, SAT Subject Tests (formely SAT II), assesses knowledge of particluar subject areas such as biology and world history. Some suggest the SAT Reasoning Test measures reasoning aptitude and the SAT Subject Tests measure achievement.
The new SAT Reasoning Test consists of ten sections divided into three math, three reading, and three writing sections, with an additional equating section that may be any one of the three types. Separate verbal, writing, and mathematical scores are reported with a range of 200 - 800 for each. A perfect score on this new three - part version of the SAT is 2400.
SAT Subject Tests are one-hour multiple-choice tests given in individual subjects such as English, history and social studies, mathematics, science, and languages. Each individual test is scored on the same scale of 200 to 800.
The SAT is administered to approximately a million high-school seniors every year and used by a majority of colleges and universities in the admissions process. Scores from the old SAT appear to be good predictors of college grades across a wide range of majors and areas of concentration. Old SAT scores also are predictive of college graduation rates and were found to be related to g or intelligence (Frey & Detterman, 2004; Stumpf and Stanley, 2002)
The American College Testing (ACT) Assessment Program (1995) is another widely used assessment instrument. The ACT consists of three parts: the Academic Tests, the Student Profile Section, and the ACT Interest Inventory. The Academic Tests assess four content areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning. The Student Profile Section collects demographic data, high school activities, and academic plans for college. The ACT Interest Inventory surveys students' vocational interests. The ACT yields scores of 1 to 36, which are averaged to create the ACT Composite. The ACT differs from the SAT in two distinct ways. First, the ACT measures basic competencies that are necessary for success in college in addition to vocationally relevant interests. This makes the ACT more useful than the SAT for counseling students in their educational and career decisions. The second difference is that the ACT is more closely tied to secondary school curricula and therefore functions as a truer achievement test than the SAT.
The main advantage for colleges in using these test scores is that tests like SAT and ACT make it easier to compare students from different educational backgrounds and grading systems. However, critics of the SAT and the ACT argue that they are not immune to the race/ehnicity, socioeconomic, and gender biases discussed in regard to intelligence tests. In addition, high-school grades are almost equally predictive of success in college. Finally, both tests claim to measure innate ability; however, special classes and coaching can significantly influence the score on either of these tests. For these reasons, the College Entrance Examination Board has long since encouraged colleges to rely on other admissions information.
© ______ 2007, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
Washington Virtual Academies
Tuition-free online school for Washington students.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- Child Development Theories
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Social Cognitive Theory
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- The Homework Debate
- Problems With Standardized Testing