Angry parents and students have taken to social media to vent their frustrations about the June 2018. The issue seems to be that the math portion of the test was too easy, which resulted in a harsher curve. That meant that getting even a few questions wrong could result in significantly lower test scores. The College Board has sent the following information to students:
“We understand your questions about your June SAT scores. We want to assure you that your scores are accurate. While we plan for consistency across administrations, on occasion there are some tests that can be easier or more difficult than usual. That is why we use a statistical process called ‘equating.’ Equating makes sure that a score for a test taken on one date is equivalent to a score from another date. So, for example, a single incorrect answer on one administration could equal two or three incorrect answers on a more difficult version. The equating process ensures fairness for all students. The June scores we reported are accurate – the result would be the same even if we rescored it."
But frustrated students and their parents are struggling to understand that explanation. They believe that the College Board should not have administered a test that varied so much in difficulty compared to other versions.
Marguerite Saunders, 17, said she answered 51 of 58 questions correctly on the math portion of the exam in March and received a 740. In June, she said she successfully answered 54 out of 58 questions and received a 700.
“It’s not the most accurate representation of my math ability and the whole reason people take the SAT is to have an accurate representation,” she said.
Leslie Rives, a parent in Kennedale, Tex., said her son’s score dropped by 20 points in June — to 1390 — despite answering six more questions correctly than he did in March.
“It was so disheartening,” Rives said. “This one test could potentially just change this year of college admissions.”
What can you do?
1. Our advice has always been to take the ACT as well. Do not rely on one test! The ACT has been also the more consistent test than the SAT. People put more emphasis on the SAT, but we believe you should seriously consider the ACT. Full disclosure: we are not getting paid by the ACT.
2. If you are unhappy with your June 2018 SAT scores, take the SAT again or take the ACT. Yes, it is a hassle. Yes, you have pay more money. Yes, it will impact other things you are doing. We recommend to take the ACT and if given time, take the SAT again. However, if you score well on the ACT, you don't have to retake the SAT.
3. What is the big issue with the SAT? Why are they inconsistent? Well, the SAT is more abstract than the ACT, so it is not surprising that some tests may end up easier than others, because often abstract things are hard to pin down. That is why we recommend to take the ACT first. Also, if you didn't do well on the June SAT, well, maybe it is because you struggle with more abstract tests. We recommend that you take the ACT.
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