College Admissions Exam Smackdown: Another Round

By Catherine Gewertz — September 23, 2010 1 min read
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Those of you who were interested in the recent annual SAT report might recall that it yielded some interesting news about the historic rivalry between the SAT and the ACT. For the first time, more students took the ACT than the SAT, according to traditional measures.

When I reported that fact in our Web story, my phone rang almost instantly. The College Board was taking issue with my representation of the SAT’s loss of dominance, pointing out that its numbers—which included, for the first time, a group of students it hadn’t reported before—showed more students taking the SAT.

That’s true, if you include the new group of students. But it’s not true if you use the traditionally reported group, to keep the trend lines clean, as we chose to do. (We explained all this in our story and our blog post.)

I wasn’t the only one trying to explain the two approaches to calculating who’s winning the SAT-ACT war. Inside Higher Ed dove into it, too.

FairTest, a group that’s a vocal critic of standardized testing, took up the SAT-dominance issue as well and got pushback from the College Board. In a guest-post for The Washington Post‘s Answer Sheet blog, FairTest’s Bob Schaeffer discusses why he thinks the SAT slipped behind the ACT (though he doesn’t get into the numbers issue). The College Board responds with a vigorous defense of the SAT.

You can find the College Board’s response, and Schaeffer’s rejoinder, here.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.