Sorry Parents, Getting SAT Test Prep For Your Kid Is A Big Waste Of Money

Thinking of spending money on getting your kids commercial SAT test prep?

It’s probably not worth it.

Steve Hsu at Information Processing links to a 2007 article on the impact of these courses.

The chart is pretty damning: White dots are students who had test prop between the PSAT and SAT. Black dots are students who did have test prep. See a stark difference? Neither do we..


Photo: The Effect of Admissions Test Preparation: Evidence from NELS:88

From the article:

When researchers have estimated the effect of commercial test preparation programs on the SAT while taking the above factors into account, the effect of commercial test preparation has appeared relatively small. A comprehensive 1999 study by Don Powers and Don Rock published in the Journal of Educational Measurement estimated a coaching effect on the maths section somewhere between 13 and 18 points, and an effect on the verbal section between 6 and 12 points. Powers and Rock concluded that the combined effect of coaching on the SAT I is between 21 and 34 points. Similarly, extensive metanalyses conducted by Betsy Jane Becker in 1990 and by Nan Laird in 1983 found that the typical effect of commercial preparatory courses on the SAT was in the range of 9-25 points on the verbal section, and 15-25 points on the maths section.

Read more here >

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