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How Businesses Use Your SATs

Elite companies like McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company, and Goldman Sachs still want to know how you scored on the SAT.  “Employers used to consider educational aptitude tests as having nothing to do with the real world, but some may have read enough to know that they’re very highly correlated with job performance,” said Frank Schmidt, an expert on employment testing.  Even though companies may admit that score does not matter in their policy, their hiring history says otherwise.  “If you present someone with a lower number, usually the interview doesn’t take place,” said Mark Rich, managing director of Whitehouse Pimms in Dallas.

Why?  The main reason has to do with the fact that the SAT is still a handy screening device for the human resource department to cut down on tens of thousands of applicants.  Some employers also want to use the SAT as a measurement for how successful the candidate would be in learning proprietary software that is administer privately by the company.  Eric Eden, vice president of marketing at Cvent, suggests that the SAT measures the general mental ability, or how well a person might respond to an unspecified challenge.  In the age of rapid advancement, a strong mental adaptability might be a better predictor of success than an expertise in a specific skill.

However, not all companies agree on the SAT.  Other renowned companies such as Google question the validity of the test to accurately predict job performance.  According to researchers, Google is only interested in seeking out the very best but the SAT isn’t very effective at differentiating among the top performers.  “Today the SAT is actually too easy, and that’s why Google doesn’t see a correlation,” said Dr. Wai, a research scientist at the Duke University.  For the SAT to be a better measure for employers who only want the best of the best, it has to be harder.


*reblogged from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/30/sunday-review/how-businesses-use-your-sats.html?ref=education

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One comment

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