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Study Reveals Gap Between GPA, CAT Scores

Posted June. 18, 2007 03:02,   


A recent study suggests that there are performance gaps between high school student GPAs and their CAT (College Aptitude Test) results.

According to the study, which was conducted by Dong-a Ilbo and UWay Central Education, a private academy institute, the GPA and CAT records of 16,000 perspective college students were analyzed, and some high school students with high GPAs were found to be in a much lower CAT category. This clearly shows that there is a flaw in the government’s logic when it insists on universities using high school performance records of students when giving admissions regardless of performance disparities among high schools.

In order to ensure accurate comparisons and analyses, the study calculated the difference between grades regarding high school records and College Aptitude Test records. The study indicated that humanities students with high GPAs scored two grades lower on the CAT. Some students showed even a bigger gap.

The CAT average for students falls among students with lower GPAs. The average gap of GPA third tier students was 4.1 compared to the CAT, and the average score gap among fourth tier GPA students compared to their CAT performance was 4.7. The gap between the GPA and CAT fell among lower tier students. Fifth tier GPA students averaged 5.1 CAT scores; sixth tier GPA students managed 5.7 CAT scores on average, and ninth tier GPA students scored 8.3 on average on the CAT. Some students ranked lower than the fifth tier in terms of GPA showed better results on the CAT.

This trend was the same among science students. Students whose GPAs were high showed a large disparity compared to their CAT scores. Just like in the case of humanities students, mid tier GPA students showed poor CAT results, while lower tier GPA students were found to have better results.

A spokesperson from Uway Education said, “More than just a few students had good GPAs but poor CAT records. This obviously shows that we cannot ignore the difference in students and schools.”

Another study conducted by education professor Yang Jung-mo at Sungkyunkwan University showed a similar pattern. In the study, he analyzed the study data of the Korean Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training on 2000 students who tool the 2005 CAT and compared their scores with their GPA records. The study results showed as much as a 75 percent disparity between the two, especially in the areas of Korean language, mathematics, and foreign languages. When comparing records in the language subject area, 44 percent of students had lower GSAT grades than their GPA grades, while 31 percent of students had better test results. The comparisons of percentile records in math among 98 high schools across the country indicated that the average scores of students in metropolitan areas were far higher (54.87 points), followed by those from small- and medium-sized cities (48.41), Seoul ( 47.17) and -eup and -myun levels (34.78). Professor Yang said, “Given such differences in GPA and CAT records, it is nonsense to insist on particular records. Rather, it is reasonable for universities to consider their own admissions policies.”