schools and standardized testing

Otter Perry ottertee at
Wed Dec 22 11:28:45 EST 2004

On Tuesday, December 21, 2004, at 05:32 PM, HSchinske at wrote:

> Low or medium scores don't correlate very well with being likely to 
> fail or be mediocre, but very high scores really aren't possible 
> unless you're pretty bright. That's why the colleges go on wanting 
> them as one part of the data -- if you take a kid with high SATs, you 
> may be getting a flake or whatever, but you're not getting one who's 
> thick as a brick. They do have quite a bit of ceiling, so you can see 
> a significant difference between, say, the 99th percentile and the 
> 99.9th, for instance.
> Of course not *all* the bright people have high SAT scores, only a 
> subset of them with a particular *sort* of smarts. Same with any 
> criterion, really -- high scores always mean more than low scores. 
> (Mediocre scores don't necessarily keep you out, either, if your 
> grades are good -- I can certainly think of people I went to school 
> with who got into quite tough colleges, like Smith, with not-so-great 
> scores.)
> Mind you, in my day they were harder (the number of people who got 
> 1600s in any given year used to be really, really tiny, instead of 
> only kind of tiny). The modern ones may be less useful, don't know.

My siblings and I had the kind of brains that these tests were designed
for.  We all did quite well.  I did the best on the SATs with a 1502 
in 1963.  When my brother took the GREs, he got 1550.  So you see.

But I, for one, did rather poorly in college because I didn't have any
self-discipline to speak of.

So, yes.  They tell you about potential, but they don't say much about
what's really going to happen.


- I'm a little teapot, short and stout.
   Here is my handle and here is my ... my ...
   Hey, I'm a sugar bowl!

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