The Role of Socioeconomic Status in SAT–Freshman Grade Relationships Across Gender and Racial Subgroups

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2014


academic performance, admissions testing, ethnicity, gender, race, socioeconomic status

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



Recent research has shown that admissions tests retain the vast majority of their predictive power after controlling for socioeconomic status (SES), and that SES provides only a slight increment over SAT and high school grades (high school grade point average [HSGPA]) in predicting academic performance. To address the possibility that these overall analyses obscure differences by race/ethnicity or gender, we examine the role of SES in the test‒grade relationship for men and women as well as for various racial/ethnic subgroups within the United States. For each subgroup, the test‒grade relationship is only slightly diminished when controlling for SES. Further, SES is a substantially less powerful predictor of academic performance than both SAT and HSGPA. Among the indicators of SES (i.e., father's education, mother's education, and parental income), father's education appears to be strongest predictor of freshman grades across subgroups, with the exception of the Asian subgroup. In general, SES appears to behave similarly across subgroups in the prediction of freshman grades with SAT scores and HSGPA.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, v. 35, issue 1, p. 21-28