An Analysis of a PSAT Coaching Program for Urban Gifted Students

Arthur J. Reynolds, Geraldine L. Oberman, Carole Perlman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The history of test coaching has shown that positive benefits can be produced from short-term orientation, practice, and drill. Coaching on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) has been especially scrutinized for efficacy and has shown modest program effects despite the limited scope and duration of such programs. The present investigation expands the focus of coaching programs by assessing the effects of an intensive 64-hour PSAT verbal and mathematics program on identified urban gifted students. Based on a pre-posttest comparison group design, results showed a significantly positive mathematics program effect of 4.7 PSAT points (47 SAT points). However, a verbal coaching effect was not found, as comparison-group students outperformed summer program students from pre-to posttest. The observed mathematics coaching effect was of greater magnitude than that found in previous SAT/PSAT coaching studies. Given the strict adherence to practice, drill, and feedback on past PSATs or SATs, moderate program length, and instructors who are knowledgeable about SAT-type tests, coaching programs can be very effective in increasing student scores. However, the emphasis on testwiseness strategies may not improve the criterion performance of coached students and may also divert test focus away from the development of cognitive skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-164
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Educational Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988


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