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New SAT easier??


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Dh was looking at the SAT stats from some of the colleges. He noticed a bit of a jump up in the Average/75%th SAT scores for the 2017 admits. And he wonders, are the new SATs getting easier?

 

I think many of the high school class of 2017 would have taken the "old SAT" right? Or is there a general feeling (like what Dh thinks) that the new SATs are resulting in slightly higher scores?

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The new SAT is more like the ACT, meaning it is more straightforward and less puzzle-like.  I've done practice tests for both, and I find the new SAT to be much easier.

 

Here is a link to the concordance tables put out by the college board.  If you look at the math tables, you will see that, at least for the math (which is on page 5), higher new SAT scores equate to lower old SAT scores.  For example, a 730 on the new SAT equals a 700 on the old SAT.

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Dh was looking at the SAT stats from some of the colleges. He noticed a bit of a jump up in the Average/75%th SAT scores for the 2017 admits. And he wonders, are the new SATs getting easier?

 

I think many of the high school class of 2017 would have taken the "old SAT" right? Or is there a general feeling (like what Dh thinks) that the new SATs are resulting in slightly higher scores?

 

I believe there are mixed feelings on this.  The class of 2017 often took both tests.  A number of top scholarships adjusted their qualifying criteria up slightly.

 

However, someone on the board posted that College Admittance Advisors have said that they are seeing a downward trend and are recommending the ACT test.

 

I have also heard that the new SAT differentiates less at the top (less of a difference between the top kids in scores). So, more of the top students will score higher.

 

It is also a different type of test (more like the ACT) with fewer tricks and better, more accessible prep. (So, you don't have to pay big bucks to be prepped, you just use Khan Academy). This would lead to better prepared test takers, which would skew the results upward.

 

So, my feelings are that the test may actually be harder for a lot of the middle students. Instead of needing to learn tricks or having a logical mind to score decently, they need to know the information.  So, there will be more of a spread of scores at this level.

 

The top students, however, who are solid in what they know and who have equal access to test prep and with few or no tricks to learn, will score higher and that will effect the overall average.

 

But those are just my thoughts and based on one of my children's experience and his friends. (They all scored well, but I expected that.)

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It's not that simple, unfortunately.  Originally, College Board predicted that the New test would be "easier" (easier to get higher scores) than the Old one.  CB published concordance tables in 2016 that relate Old and New scores.  Unfortunately, at least at the high end, the percentiles that CB was using were off - new percentiles for Class of 2017 were published in Sept 2017 that are higher per a given score, at the top of the scoring range, than the ones used to make the 2016 tables (meaning, it was a bit harder to score high than CB had predicted).  But, many colleges, especially large public Us, have used - and may continue to use - the 2016 tables.  Old vs New isn't really important anymore, but New SAT vs ACT is still relevant, as public Us typically use that 2016 table in setting automatic scholarship levels.

 

The Class of 2017 took both Old and New SATs.  The 2017-18 CDS, which contains the Class of 2017 data, requires that Old scores be concorded to New scores using the College Board's 2016 concordance tables and then mixed in with the New scores, to come up with the middle 50 percentiles.  The concordance tables are now thought to be inaccurate, which then would artificially inflate the CDS reported ranges if a large portion of the enrolled class submitted Old scores.  (It's not easy to find out what that proportion is - it might not be significant, or, it might be as much as a third or a half.)

 

Some colleges reported Old and New scores separately for class of 2017 (college class of 2021).  For some top schools, the range of New scores was the same or *lower* than for the Old scores.  While there has been a lot of speculation on reasons for that, it does appear that the New test is not necessarily easier to score higher, just different.

 

The best thing to do is wait for the class of 2018 (college Class of 2022) data to be published, as it will be virtually all New SAT.  Unfortunately the 2018-19 CDS with Class of 2022 enrolled student data will mostly not be available until after apps are due, at least early apps, but many colleges publish an admissions profile on their websites in the early fall - that depends on the college.  Some even report stats in news articles on this year's admissions season.

 

ETA, College Board and ACT are planning to jointly publish a new concordance table this summer.  Hopefully that will bring some clarity to this mess.

Edited by wapiti
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Ahhh... OK. Complicated story... I see...

(My theory was that students are getting better at or have better access to test prep.)

 

I suppose, to have a better idea whether the new SAT is easier, and how the scores compare to student achievement, one would have to track the numbers for a few years. Or maybe the college admissions teams have seen so many students that they have a general feel about it already.

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I was curious if my son should even bother with older SAT practice books then. If the tests are more like the ACT, wouldn't prepping for the ACT work for SAT prep or are they sufficiently different to warrent different prep? Are there practice tests for the new version even available?

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Are there practice tests for the new version even available?

Both College Board and Khan Academy have the same 8 practice tests available free, of which #5-8 were actual administrations of the new SAT. It has now been two years since the new test debuted.

 

Eta, no I would not use old SAT material for practice.

Edited by wapiti
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