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This customized study will help you evaluate your use of SAT score(s) and other measures in your course placement decisions. It will show you how well these criteria work alone and in combination to predict whether a student is likely to be successful in a specific course at your school.

An ACES placement study helps you optimize your placement policies, which benefits both your institution and your students: Appropriate placement cuts down on time wasted when students take classes they’re not prepared for or classes they could skip.

Designing Your Study

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

Choosing a Criterion and Predictors

In an ACES study, a criterion means a measure of student success that can be used to validate your admission or placement policies. The standard criterion for an ACES SAT placement validity study is an end-of-course grade in a specific college course. We recommend that you choose the course into which you place your students rather than the course out of which you will place students.

A predictor means a measure that you’re using to make your decisions and whose effectiveness you want to analyze. The standard predictor for an ACES SAT placement validity study is at least one SAT score. You can also add additional predictors such as your own institution’s placement tests to the study.

Submitting Your Student Data

Which Students to Include

To be included in the study sample, students must have scores on the predictor variables and on the criterion. Your results will help you make more accurate predictions if you keep these rules in mind:

  • The sample of students used for the study should be similar to the group of students whose success you want to predict. Characteristics of the population such as gender, ethnicity, and age should be represented in the sample.
  • The data for the predictor and the criterion need to be collected from all students at the same point in the course sequence.

For help in analyzing the validity of a predictor for a sequence of courses, contact the ACES staff at [email protected].

Which Data to Include

You’ll need to supply identifying information on the students in your sample as well as student coursework data and related grades. Your file should also include any additional predictors of course performance that you plan to study (except SAT scores, which are taken from the College Board ACES database).

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 placement validity study (.xls/10.2KB).

For detailed information on preparing your data file, see the ACES Data Preparation Guidelines (.pdf/606KB).

Getting Your Report

When your study is complete—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 two 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.

See a Sample Report

Frequently Asked Questions