The write stuff

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A study by UGA researchers shows that the new writing portion of the redesigned SAT college entrance exam is a better predictor of academic success than the verbal and math portions of the exam.

Terry College economists David Mustard and Christopher Cornwell and student Jessica Van Parys analyzed data from more than 4,300 test takers, accounting for factors—such as level of parental education and the high school the student attended—that strongly influence success in college.

The researchers found that with each 100-point increase in SAT writing scores, first-year students earn higher GPAs, make better grades in freshman English classes and earn more credit hours.

The researchers found high school GPA is still a much stronger predictor of collegiate success than any individual or combined sections of the SAT, but noted that the test is clearly useful in differentiating between students who have equal GPAs. The writing section of the test was introduced in March 2005.