SAT not the best judge according to study

By Matt Porter

February 19, 2014 Updated Feb 19, 2014 at 7:33 PM EDT

Endicott, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Humza Syed, a senior at Union-Endicott High School, wants to be an engineer.

But his low scores on non-Math portions of the SAT have him worried.

"It kept you so stressed because there was a time limit that you felt like that test was worth your life," Syed said.

For more than fifty years, standardized entry exams including the SAT and ACT have been used as a national measure of college applicants.

But a new study released yesterday by a former college dean of admissions suggests the exam may not be the best indicator of college performance.

The study examined 123,000 student records at 33 colleges and universities that give students the option of submitting test scores.

There was almost no difference between grades in college or graduation rates from those who had taken the SATs and those who didn't.

Syed doesn't like the idea of being judged by a single test, but all of his applications require it.

"Some of the questions are just puzzles," he said. "And some people, they aren't really good at puzzles."

U-E senior Skyler Hoyt has never been good at tests.

"Every time I've gotten the same score," Hoyt said. "I'm not really a good test taker and that's what is really hurting me as a senior."

Her SAT score was much lower than her 91 grade average suggests.

But she's already been accepted to St. John's University in Queens which doesn't require the SAT.

"For colleges having that to be optional it helps me out with picking schools," Hoyt said.

At Binghamton University, high school performance and rigor is the primary factor according to Director of Undergraduate Enrollment Tom Gaube.

"We're really looking for a student who is very well rounded, challenged themselves in high school, and will be a great fit at Binghamton University," Gaube said.

Gaube said the SATs are seen as a secondary item in an application included with letters of recommendations and extracurricular activities.

The study indicated high school performance as much more important in determining success.

Students with lower or no scores, but with higher high school grades performed better than those with higher scores on tests, but lower grades.

For students like Hoyt, she hopes more colleges will take a second look at the SAT.

"One test can't rely on your future," Hoyt said.

The report did show students without scores from the SAT, or ACT, were sometimes looked over for financial aid opportunities.

The industry around college admission exams is worth $2 billion each year.