When the number of applicants exceeds the capacity of postsecondary institutions, it must be decided which students are more qualified and most likely succeed in these institutions. Selection criteria vary from institution to institution and from country to country and to determine which criterion or criteria are most accurate in predicting academic success in postsecondary institutions is a very complex task. Cognitive factors (e.g., SAT), noncognitive factors (e.g., personality traits), and demographic characteristics (e.g., gender, ethnicity, location) are major criteria for the admission decisions in most of postsecondary institutions. Nevertheless, traditionally, future academic success has been predicted from cognitive factors used as criteria of academic success (Pentages & Creedon, 1978). A significant body of literature shows that both high school grade point averages and standardized tests scores, such as the SAT or the ACT scores, are generally significant predictors of student success in college (Bridgeman, McCamley-Jenkins, & Ervin, 2000; Snyder, Hackett, Stewart, & Smith, 2002; Kim, 2002; Kuncel, Credé, & Thomas, 2007; Kuncel et al., 2005; Kuncel, Hezlett, & Ones, 2001, 2004; Noble, 1991; Astin, Korn, & Green, 1987; Moffat, 1993; Ramist, Lewis, & McCamley-Jenkins, 1993; Waugh, Micceri, & Takalkar, 1994; Wolfe & Johnson, 1995).
In Yemen, however, although there is a significant growth in the student population, most postsecondary institutions have traditionally been relying on high school GPA to make decisions about student admission and indicate a students' potential for success in postsecondary institutions. Engineering and scientific colleges use admission tests after a student obtains a certain grade point average in high school.
Using high school GPA and admission test scores to decide who might be admitted and who might not raise a critical question about their validity in predicting future academic success. Many students are denied entrance into particular program as a result of insufficient test score. The question whether they are sufficient predictors of college success for students or not should be investigated.
The high school GPA has been lately criticized by educators, parent, and faculty at most Yemeni universities and colleges for considerable reasons. First, high school GPA is not cumulative of the entire high school works of a student but is calculated based on student scores gained on the work at twelfth grade only.
Second, tests are constructed by the ministry of education to all students in the same time. This means that twelfth grade students are taking tests that are developed and graded by different classroom teachers. It also means these tests are different in their quality in terms of validity and reliability which might affect the scores of students.
Third, in Yemen, there are two majors of secondary school: Science and Literary. These majors have slight difference in regard to standards,...