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This customized study will help you evaluate your use of SAT scores, high school GPA, and other measures in admission decisions. It will show you how well these criteria work alone and in combination so you can better predict how applicants will perform at your institution if admitted.

You’ll learn:

  • Which measures are the most useful predictors of success at your institution.
  • How you might narrow the number of factors you consider without loss of predictive ability.
  • How to construct the optimal equations for predicting the success of future students.
  • Which specific students in the data set you supply are at risk for not returning.

Designing Your Study

Get an overview of how to design your study below. For detailed step-by-step instructions, download the ACES SAT Admission Validity Study Guide (.pdf/774KB) or see the FAQ at the bottom of this page.

Choosing a Cohort and Criterion

You’ll select a cohort to examine—for example, last year’s admitted class—and a criterion. In ACES studies, a criterion means a measure of student success that can be used to validate your admission or placement policies.

The standard choice of criterion for an ACES admission validity study is first-year GPA. You can also select first-semester GPA or cumulative GPAs over other time periods.

Choosing Predictors

In ACES studies, a predictor means a data point that you’re using to make your decisions and whose effectiveness you want to analyze. All ACES admission validity studies use SAT score(s) and high school GPA as predictors. You can add up to five additional predictors, including custom ones.

Choosing Additional Subgroups (Optional)

All ACES studies break down your results on the basis of gender and ethnicity whenever your sample includes 50 or more students for at least two levels of a subgroup (e.g., 50+ males and 50+ females) with the relevant study variables in the file. For an SAT admission validity study, you may request up to three additional subgroups, using ACES-supplied data, your own data, or a combination of the two.

Submitting Your Student Data

Which Students to Include

For a standard admission validity study, you should include all first-time, first-year students (domestic and international) that entered your institution last fall.

Which Data to Include

You’ll need to supply identifying information on the students in your sample as well as college performance data (e.g., their first-year GPA). If you are supplying any additional predictors or subgroups for your study, these will need to be included in your file.

Submitting Your Data File

You’ll be prompted to submit a data file when you design a new study. You can upload a new data file or reuse one from a previous study if it meets the new study requirements.

Your data file format must be Microsoft Excel, Comma Separated Value (CSV), Tab Delimited (.txt), or SAS Transport (XPORT).

Download an Excel template with the correct data layout for the SAT admission validity study (.xls/13KB).

For detailed information on preparing your data file, see the ACES Data Preparation Guidelines (.pdf/607KB).

College Board Matched Data

After we receive your data file, we’ll use the personally identifiable information contained in it to find matches to those student records in our College Board ACES database. Then we’ll combine our data and your data into one file.  

When you receive your ACES admission validity report, you’ll also get what we call a “matched data file”—the complete set of combined data for all the students in your study.

The matched data file is invaluable for future research. It also comes with indicators that show which students are at risk for not returning, so you can target retention efforts.

Getting Your Report

When your study is finished—within 20 business days of your completed request—we’ll notify you that your report is available on the ACES website and you can sign in to access it. You’ll get three deliverables:

  • A complete, printable report in PDF format that shows the strength of your chosen predictors of success—alone and in combination—with charts, tables, and detailed explanations.
  • A report in HTML format featuring interactive graphs. You can click to display or hide data, compare data, zoom in and out, take a snapshot, sort table columns, and more. You may want to insert these graphs into campus reports or presentations you are preparing for various constituents.
  • A matched data file that combines your data with College Board data and includes at-risk indicators for specific students.