An Observational Study on Standardized Test Scores and Academic Performance

Cole Kurokawa ‘22
EE Contributor

Standardized tests and academic performance, among other things, are considered one of the most important aspects of a student in a college application. Although most, if not all, colleges review each application with a holistic approach, the GPA takes higher precedence since it is considered a reliable metric for academic potential.

Students either dread standardized tests or look forward to taking them. Remember taking the SBAC or the CMT during elementary and middle school? Well, forget about it; the SAT/PSAT is unlike any test you’ve taken before. These tests, especially the SAT, supposedly mean something different. With the argument that entrance exams such as the SAT are not an accurate reflection of a student’s academic ability and with the increase in test-optional schools, I set out to find whether there is a relationship between academic performance and standardized test scores.

For this study, twenty-five  Trumbull High School students were randomly selected and surveyed. Respondents were asked a series of questions on Google Forms regarding academic performance and test scores, in which unweighted GPA and most recent SAT/PSAT scores were collected. Not all students had already taken the SAT; however, every October, underclassmen take the PSAT. Therefore, as a substitute for the SAT score, the PSAT score was accepted. 

A graph displaying the relationship between PSAT and SAT scores and unweighted GPA showed a weak positive relationship between the two, where as unweighted GPA increases, so does PSAT and/or SAT score.

With the SAT school day around the corner for Juniors, whatever score you receive, know that it’s not the end of the world. Extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and awards, to name a few, are the things that set you apart from the rest. Given the weak relationship, standardized test scores such as the SAT and PSAT do not represent one’s academic ability.

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