SAT Score Release: What Does Higher Ed Need to Know?
SAT Score Release: What Does Higher Ed Need to Know?Abby Hexter, Director, Communications
This May, more than 300 higher education professionals joined Jack Buckley, Senior Vice President of Research, and Stacy Caldwell, Vice President of College Readiness Assessments at the College Board, for a “live FAQ” about scores from the new SAT. Stacy and Jack addressed and answered the most pressing questions we’ve heard from the higher ed and K-12 communities about new SAT scores. Participants also asked questions throughout the webinar.
Below, we’ve re-created the live FAQ so members can reference this information and share it with colleagues.
Q: What do the new percentile ranks mean?
Percentile ranks show the percentage of students in a particular grade whose scores fall at or below a specific score. For the new SAT total scores and the section scores, educators and students see two types of percentiles ranks on the score reports: nationally representative sample percentile and user group percentile.
Student scores — not percentiles — are the best predictor and indicator of college and career readiness and provide the best feedback to determine student growth from one test to another.
Nationally-representative sample percentile ranks are based on a representative sample of all U.S. students. They allow educators to compare one student’s performance to the performance of a representative sample of all students in the U.S., some of whom are planning to go to college and some of whom are not. Because of this, the nationally representative sample percentile ranks will look, on average, higher than students’ user percentile ranks.
User percentile ranks for PSAT/NMSQT have historically been based on students who took the PSAT/NMSQT in the previous year. User percentiles for SAT have historically been based on the graduating cohort from the previous year. These percentiles are most useful for students, parents, and educators in understanding how a student performed relative to other test-takers.
Are the results what you expected to see?
In advance of the first new test administration, we completed a series of field tests, special data collections, and validity studies to understand how students might perform on the exam. Given those studies, we are seeing projected score distributions that we expected based on our research and available studies. We won’t be able to draw any broad-based conclusions about students’ scores, or test-taking or score-sending behavior, until we have data from multiple administrations of the new SAT.
Is the new SAT easier?
The new SAT is a different test than the old SAT — it is scored on a different scale and it tests a different domain of content and skill. When you compare scores across the two scales, scores on the new SAT often concord to a “lower” scale score on the old SAT. In other words, scores on the new SAT appear higher, so students and universities need to use the concordance tables to effectively compare the scores. For example, a total score of 830 on the new SAT concords to a 740 on the old SAT, on the 1600 scale total concordance table.
We advise our higher ed members to keep this in mind when conducting your own analyses, and when looking at analyses and conclusions made about SAT data by the media and other organizations.
When will participation and performance data from the new SAT be available?
The College Board will release annual SAT participation and performance data for the class of 2016 in early fall.
Data for the class of 2016 will be based on the old SAT since the majority of students who graduated this year took the old test. The new SAT, which students took for the first time in March, was taken by more juniors than seniors, and juniors will not be included in the class of 2016 results. We will complete the transition to national and state reporting of new SAT data when we release reports for the class of 2017 next year.
How and why did the benchmarks change?
SAT benchmark scores represent a 75% likelihood of a student achieving at least a “C” grade in a first-semester, credit-bearing college course in a related subject.
The new benchmarks:
- Work together as a system, making it easier to evaluate how students are progressing year-over-year toward college readiness.
- Provide actionable feedback and detailed information to students and educators in score reports, including areas of academic strengths and weakness.
- Present a straightforward understanding of college and career readiness by using a definition that’s more familiar to students and educators
- SAT: 480 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) and 530 in Math.
- Grade 11: 460 in ERW and 510 in Math.
- Grade 10: 430 in ERW and 480 in Math.
- Grade 9: 410 in ERW and 450 in Math.
- Grade 8: 390 in ERW and 430 in Math.
How many students took the SAT with Essay? Why did students choose to take the essay?
61% of March test-takers took the SAT with Essay. On the post-administration survey, students listed the following as primary reasons when asked why they decided to take the essay:
- The colleges I’m applying to recommend it (57%)
- The colleges I’m applying to require it (64%)
- To see how I would do (52%)
- To showcase my strengths (40%)
- Because others encouraged me to (32%)
Nearly half of respondents who didn’t take the SAT with Essay in March said they plan to take it in the future.
How can higher ed view the essays from the new SAT?
Over the summer of 2016, higher ed will be able to view essays from the old SAT as they always have, using the essay viewer link. Essays from the new SAT will only be available over the summer by request (batch or individual). Starting in the fall, all essays from both the old and the new SATs will be available through the new Higher Ed Score Reporting portal.
Are score being delivered on time?
May 9: Higher ed started receiving new SAT scores; K-12 educators received SAT score data file; and concordance tools and tables posted on online
May 10: Students started receiving their scores
May 11: Large-Scale Concordance Tool for Higher Ed available
June 14: Online reports available for educators
We actively monitor Facebook, Twitter, listservs, and other resources, and we have field and technical staff ready to respond to any issues quickly.
When will we get scores from the May and June SAT administrations?
Educators and students will receive May SAT scores the week of June 13
Educators and students will receive June SAT the week of July 18
Check our website for the most up to date information about score delivery: sat.org/highered.
When will you release scores for future SAT administrations?
Fall 2016: Scores from the October, November and December 2016 SAT administrations will available within 26 days of test day.
Spring 2017: Scores from the January, March, and June 2017 tests will be available within 39 days of the administrations.
This schedule also applies to SAT Subject Tests.
We are committed to delivering scores as quickly as possible, and we will work to reduce score delivery times in the future.
Students taking the October administration will have scores back in time to make early action/decision and regular decision deadlines. We will share specific dates for October, November, December when they are available and after we share dates for the spring 2016 administrations.
How often will higher ed receive SAT scores from now on?
Our goal is to start sending scores on a daily basis again by this fall.
All about Concordance
Where are the concordance tables?
Can you explain the mass concordance tool?
The Large-Scale SAT Concordance Tool (Electronic Score Reports), available now, is an automated tool that allows institutions to concord a large number of scores quickly using the higher education electronic score reports (ESR). Direct data entry is not allowed. A second tool is coming soon that will allow both direct data entry and copy/paste from campus system-generated files.
How does the app work?
Users first choose which direction they want to concord. Then, the SAT Score Converter will easily concord their score.
For example: Lars, a junior, has taken the new SAT, and wants to know what he would have gotten on the old SAT. He will enter his total score, his section scores, and his test scores (all in his SAT Electronic Score Report) into the converter, and then the converter will calculate his estimated score on the old SAT based on data from the concordance tables. He can also check to see what his score would have been on a 1600 scale. Then, he can check what his score on the ACT would have been, via our derived concordance table.
Who will use the app?
Students, K-12 educators, and higher ed professionals will use the app to easily compare their scores on the old SAT to scores on the new SAT and vice-versa.
Why don’t section scores add up to the total on the score converter?
When using SAT concordance tools or tables, it is common and expected to see the sum of the section scores not equal the total score. For example, you might see your total score on the new SAT would have been 1240, but your section scores are 610 for Math and 600 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. The difference is the result of having concordance tables at different levels—total-to-total; section to section; or section-to-test (or test-to-section). When there is a difference between the sum of concorded Section scores and the concorded Total scores, about 4 out of 5 times the difference is 30 points or less.
Why can’t I compare Evidence-Based Reading and Writing on the new SAT directly to Critical Reading on the old SAT?
Because the new SAT tests both reading and writing in one section, there’s no concordance table from the new SAT’s Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) section to the old SAT’s Critical Reading
Instead, compare these sections by concording a combination of the old SAT’s Writing section and Critical Reading section to the new SAT’s ERW section.
Will concorded scores be included in Student Search Service orders?
While concordance tables will be available for your reference, Student Search Service will automatically concord scores for Search orders to ease the process in this transition year and to minimize the impact on institutions.
Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy
Are students using Khan Academy? How do you know it works?
1.3 million students are already using Khan Academy to practice for the SAT. Nearly half of all examinees who took the SAT in March 2016 prepared with Khan Academy; nearly two-thirds found it extremely or very helpful.
Our data show the median household income for users of Official SAT Practice ($75,978) is roughly equal to that of the overall SAT testing population ($74,821). In every income bracket (including households making more than $240k a year), more students now prepare for the SAT with Khan Academy than with all commercial test prep courses combined.
Among March SAT test takers who practiced: 68% of Asian students, 65% of African-American students, 61% of Hispanic students, and 60% of white students used Official SAT Practice.
For the first time, there is equality of access to SAT preparation.
When will Khan Academy research be available?
We have a number of studies underway that are looking at how Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy works. To complete these studies, we are tracking students’ progress as they practice for and take the new SAT over the course of several administrations of the test.