Systematic reviews of the effects of preparatory courses on university entrance examinations in high school-age students

Authors

  • Paul Montgomery,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention, Oxford University, UK
      Paul Montgomery, Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention, Oxford University Barnett House, 32 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2ER, UK. E-mail: paul.montgomery@psych.ox.ac.uk
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  • Jane Lilly

    1. Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention, Oxford University, UK
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Paul Montgomery, Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention, Oxford University Barnett House, 32 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2ER, UK. E-mail: paul.montgomery@psych.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

Montgomery P, Lilly J. Systematic reviews of the effects of preparatory courses on university entrance examinations in high school-age students

This systematic review examines the effects of coaching on Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) scores and, ultimately, university entrance. We show a significant effect in score improvement for coached students over their uncoached peers in both the Math and Verbal subtests of the examination. This review's findings indicate treatment group gains over control group of 23.5 points on the Verbal subtest and 32.7 points on the Math subtest, for a combined score of nearly triple that which was previously assumed. As long as coaching remains inaccessible to some students, we urge universities to reconsider the weight given to SAT scores in the undergraduate admissions process. We challenge the designers of the SAT to redesign the examination to eliminate the possibility of score gains from coaching. Finally, we call for researchers to increase the production of high-quality data in this field to ensure accurate estimates of coaching's effects are made available to all.

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