I have my own personal opinions about the SAT (and ACT for that matter) and what it measures and how it applies to college success. All assessments measure something and they provide data and numbers so that colleges can attempt to gauge a student's collegiate potential. However, there are exceptions to every rule.
Almost all educators cannot get through college without learning about Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligence Theory. Gardner believes that eight abilities meet these criteria:
Spatial, Linguistic, Logical-mathematical, Bodily-kinesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Naturalistic. I am a big believer in this theory and as a school counselor, I can apply these types to individual students.
The SAT and ACT only measure a couple of these. They are, I will admit, important aptitudes to have when entering college. My issue with standardized tests is that it convinces kids they are not smart enough for college. For example, an artistic student may have great spatial and kinesthetic intelligence in creating art, but the SAT may convince them to forget about university and join the Navy.
In essence, the SAT allows colleges to compare a student from Bangor, Maine with a student from San Diego, CA with hard data and numbers. However, if you look at these two hypothetical students one may have a 3.0 average and good recommendations, while the other may have a 2.0 and luke-warm recommendations. Guess which student admissions counselors will choose?
The SAT measures potential, but grades and your established track record as a student and person will prove to be most crucial to your admission decision..