SAT vs. ACT: College Board And ACT Locked In A Dispute Over College Testing Scores' Differences

By Samantha Finch, Parent Herald May 27, 05:14 am

The ACT and the College Board are locked in a disagreement over the two rival college admission tests in the United States. The ACT has questioned the College Board over its interpretation on scores based on the revised SAT standard.

Scores from SAT, which is owned by the New York-based College Board, and ACT are both used by colleges for admissions and merit-based scholarships. Both tests feature math, reading and optional essays, though the ACT focuses on English and science while ACT has writing and language.

Perhaps the two tests' most notable difference is SAT's scoring is based on a scale of 400-1600 while ACT's uses a scale of 1-36. For the optional essay, SAT tests students' understanding of a source text and ACT tests pupils' ability to evaluate and analyze complicated problems, the Princeton Review wrote.

SAT Revision

In March, it was announced that SAT's test will be more straightforward and will not include words that students will likely forget after taking the exam, the Washington Post reported. SAT's perfect score was also back from 2400 to 1600.

The changes in the new SAT include removing the vocabulary section, eliminating the penalty for guessing and highlighting the areas in math that are most important for students when they begin college, CNN listed. A recent survey from Kaplan Test Prep showed that almost 60 percent of students found the new SAT questions as direct and easy and follow.

According to the College Board, a new SAT 1300 matches up to a 1230 on the math and critical reading areas of the test's old version. The new SAT 1300 also corresponds to 27 out of ACT's maximum score of 36, a separate report from the Washington Post stated.

ACT Criticizes The College Board

ACT Chief Executive Marten Rooda contested the College Board's score interpretation and mentioned a so-called equipercentile, which calculates complex statistics that the new SAT delivers. Rooda said it's difficult for students and schools to compare the new and old SAT scoring because the two have different questions using different rules and different scoring scales, the Washington Post reported.

Granted, the College Board launched a new SAT Score Converter, but Rooda said it comes with a new set of issues because the data could be incomplete. He noted that only the March SAT is available and the score converter needs a whole year worth of data for accurate conversion. Rooda has urged schools to refrain from using the SAT Score Converter, adding that the old and new SAT, as well as the ACT, are incomparable as of late.

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