SCHOLASTIC APTITUDE TESTS

Tests designed to appraise the abilities required for academic work, particularly in liberal arts colleges, teachers’ colleges, and engineering schools.Before scholastic aptitude tests were developed, students were chosen for higher education largely on the basis of high school grades and scores on intelligence tests. Both of these methods had distinct limitations. It was found that the differences in curriculum, marking norms, and student body among different secondary schools were so great that the student’s grades were often an inadequate criterion of success in college. Studies by Harris (1940) and others showed that the correlation with college marks was considerably higher (.60 to .70) when the high school grades were combined with scores on group intelligence tests. However, this was only an average result, and further investigation showed that the predictivevalue of this combination varied greatly from institution to institution due to differences in admissions criteria, scholastic standards, and curriculum. As a result, a number of psychologists turned their attention to the construction of a single standardized test of scholastic ability based upon the specific abilities required for academic success in institutions of higher learning.All scholastic aptitude tests are alike in certain respects. They all attempt to measure abstract ability; and there is also a basic similarity in content since they utilize items which have survived years of research and experimentation. There are, however, certain differences: the items on some of the tests are more closely related to school learning than on others; and certain tests have been standardized on very few institutions and are not representative of the nation’s colleges as a whole. For this reason it is important for the guidance counselor to determine how well a particular instrument applies to the institutions under consideration. The major scholastic aptitude tests will be briefly described.American Council on Education Psychological Examination for College Freshmen (ACE). A widely used test originally developed by L. L. and T. G. Thurstone in 1924. Both high school and college forms are available. Each of them yields two separate scores: an L (linguistic) score based on verbal analogies, same-opposite and vocabulary completion items; and a Q (quantitative) score based on figure analogies, arithmetic reasoning, and number sequences. The items are similar to those given at lower levels of education, -but more difficult.This test has been displaced by others for several reasons. The administration of many of the subtests is awkward, the part scores are of little practical value, and it has been shown that the L and Q scores do not accurately predict verbal and scientific success (Berdie 1172 et al., 1951). A total score can also be computed, but it predicts grade averages with a validity of only .45 (Cronbach, 1960).Ohio State Psychological Examination (OSPE), originally developed by H. A. Toops in 1919, but frequently revised. This is an entirely verbal scale standardized for grades nine to twelve and intended for selection of college freshmen without regard to their future area of specialization. Critics recommend supplementing its same-opposite reading comprehension and word analysis sections with quantitative items, especially for prospective technical and science students. The test predicts college marks with substantial accuracy; .60 correlations are often obtained (Cronbach, 1960). A shortened version of this test, called the Minnesota Scholastic Aptitude Test, is also available.Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). In use since 1926, the SAT is considered a highly effective instrument in determining whether high school seniors of upper ability level are “college material.” The scale is valid enough to detect fine differences even in this rather homogeneous population, but it is considerably more accurate in predicting success in the liberal arts than in technical subjects. There are separate norms for public and private schools, for boys and girls, for all schools combined, and for students in different curricula such as liberal arts and engineering. The items are primarily designed to measure “abstract intelligence.” A mathematics score is computed on the basis of answers to geometry, arithmetic, and algebra problems on the high school level, while the verbal score is based on completion, analogies, opposites, and paragraph meaning problems. French (1958) found that the verbal scores correlate fairly well (.43) with the grade average of a typical college, but quantitative scores show a fairly low correlation (.27) for students in the fourth year of college.College Qualifications Test (CQT). Developed by E. K. Bennett et al., in 1957, this test is also designed to select college freshmen and to predict their degree of academic success. Like most other tests in the field it yields a verbal, numerical, and total score, but it is unique in presenting seventy-five items as a test of information which reflects prior learning opportunities. These items consist of a broad range of questions in social, physical, and biological sciences. Separate scores are calculated for the social area and science area, as well as for over-all information. This information subtest arises out of the conviction that the educational background which the student brings to college is a good indicator of future learning. Implicit in this rationale is the idea that a high information score reflects good study habits and general ability to grasp concepts, both of which are considered essential for college success. Moreover, studies have shown that scores on general information tests correlate highly with scores on general intelligence.Cooperative School and College Ability Tests (SCAT). These tests were developed by the Educational Testing Service in 1955, primarily as a replacement for the ACE. The tests cover all grades from the fourth to the college sophomore level, and are designed to estimate the student’s capacity for additional schooling. The entire series is based on a measurement of “school- learned abilities,” and can be administered by educators who have not been trained in psychology. It consists of two types of items: vocabulary and reading comprehension subtests, from which a verbal score is obtained; and arithmetic reasoning and understanding, yielding a quantitative score. A single over-all score can also be computed. Although the test was created to measure school-learned abilities, the actual items are similar to those in other instruments.Illinois Index of Scholastic Aptitude. Constructed by B. E. Blanchard, this twenty-five-minute test is designed for grades nine to twelve, inclusive. Although its primary purpose is to provide an objective evaluation of the subject’s prospects for success in high school, it can also be used in identifying students who need special assistance.Kuhlmann-Anderson Measure of Academic Potential. This well-established test, now in its seventh edition, measures general learning ability in children from kindergarten through grade twelve. The tests for grades seven to twelve yield separate verbal and quantitative scores as well as a total score, and may be used as a measure of intelligence.Academic Promise Tests. A battery of tests for grades eight to twelve, designed to identify superior students, locate those who need special programs, and serve as an aid in grouping students and planning the transition from elementary grades to junior and senior high school. The Verbal Test measures ability to understand word meanings and to reason with words; the Numerical Test measures basic numerical skills and ability to think; the Abstract Reasoning Test measures ability to reason and form concepts from nonverbal problem figures; and the Language Usage Test measures such communication skills as grammar, usage, and spelling.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "SCHOLASTIC APTITUDE TESTS," in PsychologyDictionary.org, November 28, 2018, https://psychologydictionary.org/scholastic-aptitude-tests/ (accessed September 21, 2019).
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