Tag Archives: score reports

Has college admissions testing ever been this competitive? I’m not speaking from the test taker’s perspective, though today’s teens seem to fighting harder than ever for seats at name-brand colleges. But the test makers are under massive pressure from each other, traditional testing opponents, and even upstarts trying to break into the lucrative admissions exam market. Economists assure us that competition benefits consumers by driving performance and innovation. One way ACT, Inc. seeks to maintain the top position in the admissions test arms race is by delivering more value in the basic ACT score report. The test maker out of Iowa City has tracked what it calls ACT College Readiness Benchmarks. The College Readiness Benchmarks describe, for each ACT section, the minimum score associated with a 50% chance of earning a B or better and approximately a 75% chance of earning a C or better in the corresponding college course…

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When the College Board returned to the old 1600 SAT scale, many felt as if order was restored to the universe. But the revised SAT introduced more than just the familiar scale. The current test provides more score information than ever before, including subscores and cross-test scores. Why the SAT added all these extra performance measurements may not, at first or even second glance, be clear. Sure, the ACT includes subscores and something like cross-test scores, but the extra data doesn’t seem to influence admissions decisions. Much of the time, schools can’t even be bothered to look at essay scores, so why would subscores matter? Consider today’s SAT a multipurpose tool. Of course, the test remains an influential college admissions test. But the College Board has charted a course towards the lucrative state testing market as well. When the organization redesigned the SAT, they had K–12 educators and counselors firmly…

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Change, as Robin Sharma says, is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end. In terms of changes to standardized tests, however, the first wave of test takers never gets to experience the gorgeous parts. Things do get messy though! High schoolers have been dealing with plenty of changes to the tried and true admissions tests that carry so much weight with competitive colleges. Just about everyone by now knows that the SAT is changing this spring, but not as many noticed the significant revision to the ACT Writing Test that rolled out in September. Unfortunately, many teens hoping to submit Early Action and Early Decision applications now see the real impact of changes to the tests. With our focus so squarely on the design and delivery of the SAT and ACT, we rarely take time to consider the exquisite symphony of organization that facilitates the…

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No matter what how the current SAT or ACT is scored, its score scale is arbitrary. Understanding the difference between a 200-800 SAT score and a 1-36 ACT score can drive a person crazy. That’s why percentiles matter so much. Every SAT and ACT section score is based off a raw score which is then converted to a scaled score based on a larger testing cohort. Any score report will include both scaled scores and percentile ranks. And, really, the only way to understand the value of the former is to consider the latter. For any given score, your percentile or percentile rank describes what percentage of the testing population you scored higher than. For example, a score in the 70th percentile is higher than 70% of all the scores for that population. When it comes to test scores, the higher the percentile, the better you are doing! Students prepping…

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One of the fundamental tenets of test prep is that the most valuable tests are the ones you can learn from. Yet, an official ACT score report does not provide much in the way of feedback. Far better are those administrations that permit test takers to order everything they need to analyze what happened on test day. ACT offers the Test Information Release service for specific national test dates. Students who order Test Information Release don;t just receive the correct answers and list of their own answers, but also a copy of the actual test booklet. Note that they do not receive their actual test booklet, but rather a clean copy. Students who take the ACT Writing Test also receive a copy of the writing prompt, the scoring rubric, and both 1-6 scores assigned to the essay. You can order a Test Information Release during the registration process or during…

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