Published Online: March 15, 2006

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Study Suggests How U.S. Could Identify Future Mathematicians, Scientists

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One effective way to identify future mathematicians and scientists would be to give the SAT to middle school students, a study suggests.

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An abstract of "Tracking Exceptional Human Capital Over Two Decades" is available from Blackwell Synergy.

For their study, researchers from Vanderbilt University, Appalachian State University, and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire spent decades tracking two groups: 13-year-olds who had scored high on the SAT college-entrance exam and graduate students enrolled in top-ranked mathematics, engineering, and physical science programs.

By the time they reached their early 30s, the study found, both groups, regardless of what professions they were in, had achieved comparable and "exceptional" levels of success, as measured by outcomes such as their salaries, whether they had earned doctoral degrees, or if they held patents.

The study was published in the March 2006 issue of Psychological Science.

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