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Correlation between Test Scores and Academic Success

  1. Nov 7, 2014 #1
    I recall reading that, while it is not true for all fields, there is a correlation between standardized test scores and academic performance in math and science. I did a quick search, but couldn't find much information that was specific to math and science.

    I teach AP Calculus and this subject came up while talking to a student about her performance on tests. Obviously, I told her that she should work hard to do well on the tests, but in the long run, she could be successful even without doing well on the tests. The discussion made me wonder what the research actually shows.

    I am mostly interested in a relationship between high school standardized tests (AP, SAT, ACT), but other tests would be interesting as well. I would appreciate any guidance toward relevant research.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2014 #2
    Well, yes - there is correlation between the academic ability of a student and his test scores. But it is not necessarily causation. Students who are in, and succeed in, rigorous courses (AP Chem, AP English, AP Biology, etc.) are going to be better test takers. Students who perform well in school pay more attention.

    Alone, it is difficult to predict test scores. Very good students can do poorly on these standardized tests (ie. ACT, SAT, MCAT, LSAT, etc.). Lazier students who are very smart, may get mediocre grades but do great on standardized tests. However, this is a correlation because intelligent students are more likely to be better test takers.
  4. Nov 9, 2014 #3
    To add to that, less intelligent, but hardworking students are as likely if not more likely to ultimately be successful in their careers/academia.
  5. Nov 10, 2014 #4
    Is there actually any correlation? There is no point in explaining the correlation before actually showing that there is one. The small amount that I found showed that there is NOT a correlation in general across all fields of study. I am interested in seeing evidence that math and physics have or do not have a correlation before trying to explain why there is a correlation.
  6. Nov 10, 2014 #5

    Doug Huffman

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    The correlation is the topic of Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein's The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life (1994, Free Press). The book has several appendixes valuable in themselves.
  7. Nov 10, 2014 #6

    Vanadium 50

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