Research in Higher Education

, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 305–319 | Cite as

Accuracy of Self-reported SAT and ACT Test Scores: Implications for Research

  • James S. Cole
  • Robert M. Gonyea


Because it is often impractical or impossible to obtain school transcripts or records on subjects, many researchers rely on college students to accurately self-report their academic record as part of their data collection procedures. The purpose of this study is to investigate the validity and reliability of student self-reported academic performance. As expected the study finds overall validity of self-reported test scores to be high. However, correlations between self-reported and actual SAT scores are significantly lower than correlations for self-reported and actual ACT Composite scores. This study also confirms prior research which found that when students are inaccurate in reporting their scores, a disproportionate number of them over-report their scores. Also consistent with other studies, this study finds that lower achieving students for both tests are much less accurate when reporting their scores.


Self-report accuracy Cognitive distortion Motivated distortion Higher education research SAT/ACT test scores 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Postsecondary ResearchIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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