The following is from the Aug. 27, 2008, edition of The Dallas Morning News. Ron W. Moss, dean of undergraduate admission and executive director of Enrollment Services at SMU, provided expertise for this story.

SAT, GPA still strong indicators of college success

The Dallas Morning News

A good score on the lengthier, revamped SAT along with a strong high school grade-point average continues to be a solid indicator of first-year collegiate success, according to a recently released report from the College Board, which administers the test.

The 2008 SAT Validity Studies, based on information from 110 colleges and universities around the country, uses a complex formula that correlates a relationship among SAT scores, high school GPA and first-year collegiate GPA. The study found that high school GPA was a good predictor of how a student would fare in college, but the GPA/SAT score combination was even better.

"The College Board continues to encourage institutions to use both measures when using admissions decisions," the report states.

The report looked specifically into changes made to the SAT in March 2005, which added more passages to the reading section and more advanced algebra questions to the mathematics section, tossed in a new writing section and removed analogies.

Among the three sections, the report endorsed the new writing section as the single best at forecasting collegiate success. . .

Ron W. Moss, dean of admissions at SMU, said he understands the test's possible shortcomings, but the university continues to support it as a predictor of first-year success. SMU's verbally intensive curriculum leads admissions officials to rely heavily on the language portions of the SAT, he said.

SMU uses the SAT along with a broader review of high school GPA and other factors to determine admission.

"When something has the relative impact that something like the SAT has, there is always going to be scrutiny," Mr. Moss said. "I welcome that dialogue and debate."

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