Billy Beane, the longtime GM of the Oakland A’s, was a pioneer of Moneyball, the practice by which decision-makers in baseball rely on data-driven analytics in lieu of traditional scouting. Beane, like Theo Epstein, Sandy Alderson, and many baseball executives of our time, realized that certain aspects of the game of baseball are overvalued by traditional scouting (e.g., athletic ability), whereas other characteristics are undervalued (e.g., getting on base by any means necessary — like walks). Well, here’s a dose of Moneyball for highly selective college admissions. SAT and ACT composite scores are overvalued…by many parents and college applicants to highly selective colleges, that is. Do composite scores count? Just like home runs, they do. But they don’t count to the extent that you might think (if you’re confused by the baseball analogy, data-driven analytics proved that seeking home run hitters wasn’t an ideal course of action — they should instead seek players who, quite simply, get on base).
Composite scores just don’t matter a ton at highly selective colleges. Do they matter at lower tier universities or public universities? Yes. But at the highly selective colleges, composite scores are overvalued…much like athletic ability. Most of baseball uses Moneyball nowadays. Moneyball challenged the status quo until it became the status quo. Well, today’s status quo in highly selective college admissions is that SAT and ACT composite scores are entirely overvalued by parents and college applicants.
Sometimes, when one of our students gets a really low score on one section of the SAT, an aberration from a previous SAT score, we will tell them not to submit this score to colleges even if the test, on the whole, increased his or her SAT composite score. So, to put it in specifics, if a student received a 730 reading, 720 math, and 800 writing on his or her first administration of the SAT and then received a 770 reading, 650 math, and 740 writing on the second administration, we’d prefer that student not report that second administration. And we’d prefer he or she take it a third time. Because the student can clearly get the reading up, but we don’t want it to be to the significant detriment of the other two sections. We don’t want to call into question the other scores.
Have a question about SAT and ACT composite scores? Let us know your questions by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you. And if you’re interested in tutoring for the SAT or ACT, we offer one-on-one instruction to students around the world via Skype, regularly boosting their test scores significantly. Indeed we’ve got data-driven analytics to back this up.