Here is a bit of news that might have slipped under your radar: the ACT and the College Board have quietly released updated SAT/ACT concordance tables, following an extensive study on concordance between the two tests. These results were produced using data from 589,753 students from the class of 2017, who took both the ACT and the new SAT between February 2016 and June 2017. They replace the highly controversial tables that were posted by the College Board in 2016, without input from the ACT.

What is concordance you ask? The term refers to the relationship between scores from different, but similar assessments. Put simply, they provide a guide to link equivalent SAT and ACT scores. Since the range of possible SAT scores that a student can achieve (anywhere between 400 and 1600, in 10 point increments) is wider than the range of possible ACT scores (1-36), the concordance table assigns a range of SAT scores that match any given ACT score.

What does this mean for your student? Concordance tables are essential for students and parents who are deciding whether to prep for the SAT or ACT after taking diagnostic tests for both exams. They can also be helpful for students who have taken both the SAT and ACT, and are unsure of which score to send to colleges.

The adjustments from 2016 to 2018 are not very dramatic, however there are some key differences students should keep in mind:

  • The new concordances are especially relevant to those with scores at the top end of the scale.The top SAT scores have become stronger in comparison to ACT scores. For example, a 1470 on the SAT is now considered equivalent to a 33 on the ACT, whereas previously the concordance tables had linked a 1470 with a 32 on the ACT.
  • The new concordances are especially relevant to those with scores at the bottom end of the scale. Lower scores on the SAT have become less valuable relative to the ACT. For example, a 1020 on the SAT is now considered equivalent to a 19 on the ACT, whereas previously the concordance tables had linked a 1020 with a 20 on the ACT.
  • There is no change to the concordance in the middle of the score range.If you scored 21-24 on the ACT or 1060-1190 on the SAT, you can rest easy: there is no change at all.

Remember, your standardized test score is only one facet of your college application. Colleges will certainly give scores less importance in the admissions process than your cumulative academic performance over the four years of high school. In addition, they will consider your letters of recommendation, essays, and extracurricular activities.

Nonetheless, it is vital that you prepare for the test where you have a competitive advantage, and, if you have taken both the SAT and ACT, that you send colleges your strongest score. If the new concordance tables are raising more questions than they provide answers, feel free to reach out and set up a consultation with me.