Within-High-School Versus Across-High-School Scaling of Admissions Assessments: Implications for Validity and Diversity Effects

Jack W. Kostal, Paul R Sackett, Nathan R Kuncel, Philip T. Walmsley, Melissa S. Stemig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous research has established that SAT scores and high school grade point average (HSGPA) differ in their predictive power and in the size of mean differences across racial/ethnic groups. However, the SAT is scaled nationally across all test takers while HSGPA is scaled locally within a school. In this study, the researchers propose that this difference in how SAT scores and HSGPA are scaled partially explains differences in validity and subgroup differences. Using a large data set consisting of 170,390 students each of whom matriculated at one of 114 separate colleges, the researchers find that awarding SAT scores by ranking SAT within a high school generally results in substantial reduction in the size of subgroup mean differences for this predictor. However, validity for predicting first-year GPA is also reduced by a small amount. Conversely, placing HSGPA onto a nationally normed metric through the use of multiple regression procedures results in a moderate increase in the size of subgroup mean differences, while also producing a small increase in validity. Taken together, these findings suggest that differences in predictor scaling can partially explain differences in the size of subgroup mean differences between HSGPA and SAT scores and have implications for predictive power.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-46
Number of pages8
JournalEducational Measurement: Issues and Practice
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

Keywords

  • SAT
  • admissions testing
  • high school GPA
  • race/ethnicity
  • standardized examinations

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