As parents and students begin the college application process, the search for scholarships and the most affordable college is top on the list. For 2016, one of the most important scholarship and admission question for students is how are their SAT test scores going to be viewed on their college application. High school students this year may have taken the old SAT or the redesigned SAT or both tests. Due to the new revised SAT test, an adjustment maybe required based on the test date. College Board has made available a Concordance table to compare test scores that were taken after March, 2016.
If you are submitting your college applications using the ACT test or test optional, then the SAT conversion issue is not a problem.
SAT Conversion Background
As part of the new test conversion, College Board wanted to establish a new baseline and compare it to the prior SAT test method. College Board used the March and May tests as samples to create a concordance table to the old test.
Based on the initial findings, the new raw scores are higher on the revised SAT than the old test format. As a result, students and parents will need to take an extra step this year to convert their scores. Here is a link to the Concordance table listed by College Board.
College Board also lists the following tips when using the Concordance table:
- Use concordance tables consistently to ensure equity in the admission process.
- You may find that concorded total scores do not equal the sum of concorded section scores; this is common and expected.
- Since most students in the high school class of 2016 submitted old SAT scores, most colleges will convert new SAT scores to old SAT scores for this cohort.
- Since most students in the high school class of 2017 will submit new SAT scores, most colleges will convert old SAT scores to new SAT scores for this cohort.
Examples of the Conversion
The Washington Post published an interesting article titled, “Why your new SAT score is not as strong as you think it is” by Nick Anderson. The author writes about how the revised SAT scores are not as strong as they appear. He indicates that the scores have risen due to the design decisions implemented by the College Board. In his article, Mr. Anderson posts the comparison between the old SAT test scores and the revised SAT.
The author points out an interesting fact about whether colleges will also point out the inflation in their publicity brochures for incoming students in future years. All this makes it only more confusing for families.
In his article, the author sites the following comparisons on new SAT scores versus the old SAT scores:
- A new 1200 corresponds to an old 1130.
- A new 1300 corresponds to an old 1230.
- A new 1400 corresponds to an old 1340.
- A new 1500 corresponds to an old 1460.
- But a new 1600 is just as perfect as an old 1600
Why is it important that you understand your SAT test scores? If you are using SAT test scores from after March, 2016, your raw scores may give you the impression that your academic position and admission chances are greater. This will also be true for various merit scholarships. Most of the colleges have not updated their guidelines to these new numbers.
Many of them will be doing the conversion behind the scenes based on the SAT tests date that are submitted by the student. It will be important that you ask the college how they are evaluating the test scores.
Most colleges do not publish their academic standards until the actual class is on campus. This may cause additional delays in identifying which scores the colleges are using and is another reason to ask the admission office, so that you are informed.
Discussing this change is great topic for your high school student to review with their guidance counselor or college advisor. Ask their opinion on how to handle the new SAT score inflation and which standardized test is the best option for them based on their specific academics.
If you are using the new SAT test scores, you may want to view the Concordance table. Make sure you know both scores so that you can better judge your academic position at each specific college. Being better informed, helps students and parents make better decisions on college applications. It will also help in identifying your chances of success.