Effects of range restriction and criterion contamination on differential validity of the SAT by race/ethnicity and sex.

We illustrate the effects of range restriction and a form of criterion contamination (individual differences in course-taking patterns) on the validity of SAT scores for predicting college academic performance. College data facilitate exploration of differential validity’s determinants because they (a) permit the use multivariate range-restriction corrections to more accurately account for differential range restriction across subgroups and (b) allow for separate examinations of composite performance and specific performance episodes, the latter of which controls for ecological contamination of composite performance due to individuals’ choices of performance opportunities. Using data from 363,004 students at 107 U.S. institutions, we found that controlling for course-taking patterns resulted in validity coefficients that were appreciably larger than predictors’ correlations with obtained grade point averages (GPAs). The validities of SAT scores for predicting the first-year college performance of Black and Hispanic students were not significantly different from the validity for White students after correcting for both course-taking patterns and differential range restriction, but significant Black—White differences were detected for predicting 4-year cumulative performance. Validity estimates for predicting both first-year and 4-year cumulative performance were significantly smaller among Asian students than White students after making these corrections. The SAT’s observed validity for predicting college GPAs was substantially lower for males than females and, unexpectedly, controlling for course-taking patterns increased male-female validity differences. Implications for personnel selection research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)