Saul Geiser

Saul Geiser is a research associate at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from UC Berkeley and taught there before joining UC’s Office of the President in 1981.  Geiser served as director of admissions research for the UC system after Californians voted to end affirmative action in 1996, and he helped redesign UC admissions policy.  His work has focused on issues of equity and predictive validity in college admissions, with the aim of identifying admissions criteria that have less adverse impact on low-income and minority applicants while remaining valid indicators of student performance in college. Geiser's research on achievement testing has been influential in the College Board's decision to revise the SAT in the direction of a more curriculum-based test. His work has contributed to the development of a number of new admissions policies, including UC's policy on Eligibility in the Local Context, which guaranteed admission to the top four percent (and now top nine percent) of students in each California high school.  In addition to admissions research, Geiser directed the evaluation of UC's outreach programs to disadvantaged students and schools in California.

Selected Publications


The Big Problem With the New SAT with Richard C. Atkinson. (May, 2015). New York

BACK TO THE FUTURE: Freshman Admissions at the University of California, 1994 to the Present and Beyond by Saul Geiser CSHE.4.14 (April 2014)

Beyond the Master Plan: The Case for Restructuring Baccalaureate Education in California with Richard C. Atkinson.  (January, 2013).  California Journal of Politics and Policy, vol. 4, 67-123.

Reflections on a century of college admissions tests with Richard C. Atkinson. (December, 2009). Educational Researcher, 38 (9), 665-676.

The Advanced Placement Juggernaut (December, 2009). New York

Addressing the graduation gap with Richard C. Atkinson (September, 2009). Science, 325 (5946), 343-1344. Book review of W. Bowen, M. Chingos, and M. McPherson, Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America's Public Universities, Princeton University Press, 2009.

Back to the basics: In defense of achievement (and achievement tests) in college admissions Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning (January/February 2009),41(1), 16-23.

Validity of high-school grades in predicting student success beyond the freshman year: High-school record vs. standardized tests as indicators of four-year college outcomes with Veronica Santelices. CSHE.9.07 (June 2007).

The role of Advanced Placement and honors courses in college admissions with Veronica Santelices (2006). In P. Gandara, G. Orfield, and C. Horn (editors), Expanding Opportunity in Higher Education, Albany, NY: SUNY Press.  Prepublication version available online.

UC and the SAT: Predictive validity and differential impact of the SAT I and SAT II at the University of California with R. Studley (2002). Educational Assessment, 8, 1-26. Pre-publication version available online.

More publications

Saul Geiser, Ph.D.
Research Associate
Center for Studies in Higher Education
University of California, Berkeley
771 Evans Hall #4650
Berkeley, CA 94720-4650

Previous Research Projects

Eligibility and Admissions