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Letters: What the SAT shows

October 04, 2012

Re "Putting the SAT in its place," Editorial, Sept. 26

The SAT was designed to democratize access to higher education for all students, not just "to give talented students a crack at admission to top universities." The SAT is a valid predictor of college success, regardless of students' gender, race or socioeconomic status. Research based on data from students at more than 200 four-year colleges demonstrates a positive relationship between SAT scores and grade-point average.

The Times gives outsized weight to the prevalence of test-optional admissions. Of the more than 1,600 four-year colleges and universities listed on the Carnegie Foundation website, fewer than 100 are test-optional.

Understanding the challenges low-income students face, last year the College Board expended more than $44 million on SAT fee waivers; more than 371,000 students in the class of 2012 took the test for free. These students are far less likely to be completing core course work and participating in advanced courses than their peers.

The data released this week underscored two important points: that success on the SAT and in college is tied to what students learn in the classroom, and that there are many students with the potential to succeed in college who need more support to reach that goal.

Kathryn Juric

New York

The writer is the College Board's vice president for the SAT Program.


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