“Mrs. Dietz! I got a 1290 on my March SAT!”
“Great news!” I’d reply, then continue by asking if they had converted their scores using the College Board’s concordance charts yet in order to interpret them.
“Concordance what?” And it was clear my students did not have the tools to adequately interpret their scores, leading them to believe they had performed better than they actually did. Cue the rain cloud rolling in as I crunched the numbers to let them know their score on the old test would have been 50 – 60 points lower in each category, a difference of 100 points sometimes in their total score.
Here’s the BIG problem with this new test: It’s a completely new test, testing brand new and DIFFERENT content in different ways than the old SAT. College Board itself has said you cannot equate new SAT scores to old SAT scores.
Unfortunately, the comparison is natural. Though completely overhauling the test, College Board kept the same 200 – 800 point scale. It’s difficult for me even to not see the 690 in Math and want to extend hearty congratulations to my student for a job well done. But when I convert that 690 to the reciprocal score on the old SAT, it drops to a 660 (still very good! But a sizeable and significant difference).
College Board has done a terrible job explaining to students the need to use the concordance charts (or even where to find this set of cumbersome 16 tables). My worry is that, without guidance, students and parents will mistakenly think they are within range for a school, according to test scores, that is actually out of reach. Might this increase disappointment come application season next fall? Maybe…
But, alas, I am not a decision maker at College Board, so the best I can do is try to make sure you are as informed and educated as possible. If you took the new SAT this year, you need to convert the scores in order to interpret them for admissions chances and your own understanding. You can do that with the concordance tables here, or by downloading the College Board conversion app (I find the app far more user-friendly).
The smart money this year is on the ACT. It’s the tried and true of the two tests, even though they are having their own issues with the essay scoring. But no matter which test you have taken, breathe easy knowing colleges accept both.
Now, go do something awesomely productive with your summer. For inspiration, read here. Or here.