The effects of special preparation for the verbal section of the SAT

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a special preparation program of coaching on the verbal section of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The coaching program was designed to familiarize the students with test-taking strategies and to enhance their sequential deduction and reasoning abilities through the use of classwork as well as homework. This special preparation course covered a period of six weeks and was held directly after school.

The sample for this quasi-experimental study included 170 seniors from three public high schools in a suburb of the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area who had first taken the SAT in May of their junior year and again for a second time in November of their senior year. The May SAT verbal scores served as the pretest measures and the November SAT verbal scores served as the posttest measures. An analysis was made using the regressed gain scores to see if there was a significant difference between the students who were coached for the second test and for those who were not coached. The findings of this study indicated that coaching was effective for those students who received the special preparation.

Additionally, the study examined the following: (1) the effect of coaching across schools; (2) the interaction of controlling variables such as sex, grade point average, final grade in junior English, and parental education levels; and (3) the difference in regressed gain scores of those students who volunteered for coaching programs and for those students who did not volunteer when neither group received any coaching.