On June 14th, 2018, the College Board and ACT released a new concordance table endorsed by both organizations. Please see this website for the official charts: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/educators/higher-ed/scoring/concordance. You will notice that there are now ranges for some of the ACT scores in their conversions to SAT scores; for example, a Composite ACT score of 24 could range anywhere between a total of 1160-1190 on the SAT. The tables suggest using a middle asterisked score, if you are looking for a single number to use (so in the above example, we would say the 24 is an 1180). We’ve listed the single ACT Composite to SAT Total at the bottom for a quick reference chart. We like that the new tables offer SAT Evidence-based Reading/Writing to ACT English+Reading concordance charts, too. There are also SAT Math to ACT Math concordances as well. Since the SAT has no science section, there is no concordance for the ACT science. And while both tests do have optional writing sections, no concordance was provided for the essay sections.
What exactly does “concordance” mean?
The College Board and ACT kindly offer us a definition in their guide for higher ed, and it is important to note: The term “concordance” refers to establishing a relationship between scores on assessments that measure similar (but not identical) constructs…A concorded score is not a perfect prediction of how a student would perform on the other test. So concordance tools have their limits.
Does this new concordance table change a score conversion?
For approximately 50% or the “middle scoring” students, there is really no effect on the concordance (i.e. scores ranging from ACT 19/SAT 1070 on the old concordance chart to ACT 25/SAT 1220). Things get a bit more convoluted at the top end and bottom end of the total scores. Students at the lower end may see that their SAT scores look a bit higher, but their ACT concordant values have dropped. Conversely, on the higher end, students may see that their SAT concordant values have dropped, while their ACT values have increased.
How will schools use these concordances in the admissions process?
That’s not a simple question to answer. Indeed, some schools utilize their own method of converting and concording scores. Against recommendations of the College Board and ACT, some schools even “superscore” between the two tests. We do know this: overall percentiles, in general, should not be affected by these changes and we hope that schools refer to these percentiles which are based on statistical research (nearly 600,000 data points from students’ official test results).
Should a student switch the test s/he is taking?
When we reviewed all of our ACT vs SAT Diagnostic report recommendations completed to date–approximately 40 reports–the new concordance didn’t make a difference in our decisions to suggest ACT or SAT. We also like to point out that students are more likely to do better the second time they take a test. For example, the ACT predicts that 57% of students do better the second time they take an ACT. This means that if a student has taken one test already, he or she should stick with it for at least a second administration before switching.
Why did the test-makers come out with a new concordance chart?
First, it is important to note that the ACT did not approve of the concordance chart generated in 2016, likely for a number of reasons. Very few official data points for the “Redesigned SAT” were available at that time. We and our friends at Compass Prep found it interesting that “The number of students taking the ACT grew by 56% between 2007 and 2017, for example, but the number of perfect scorers increased ninefold. Disproportionate growth was also seen at the low end of the scale, as more states required the ACT for all students. This unequal growth did not guarantee a drift in the concordance, but it made it far more likely. In other words, an updated ACT/SAT concordance was probably overdue.” A third, impartial party–the NCAA–was integral in driving this new concordance chart since the organization dictates certain required scores for student-athletes.
All in all, we do not think this concordance change will affect our students’ testing plans. If you’re in doubt, please set up an appointment for an Ivy Ed Diagnostic or ask to have your results reviewed by one of our test prep experts.
|ACT Composite||SAT Total|