If you’ve given much attention to the new SAT/ACT concordance put out by College Board, you may have noticed that the old and new SAT scores don’t really line up the way you might expect. Scores are back on a 1600 scale instead of 2400, but that may not be much of an adjustment. Before the redesign, there were quite a few schools who were only using the Critical Reading and Math portions, anyway, and ignoring the Writing score.

The striking difference between the old and new scores is that the new scores are higher. For example, (and we’re using the ACT scores as a kind of control, here) a 22 on the ACT has r
anged between a 1020 and a 1050 on the SAT, historically. Now it corresponds to an 1110. Some fluctuation is understandable with a new test, but the new scores are all higher. The temptation to compare the new out-of-1600 scores with the old out-of-1600 scores is understandable, but the redesigned SAT is a different test. The scores aren’t really comparable.

This means there’s a lot of work for admissions offices to figure out and update materials. It also means that it’s really important to know what you’re looking at when you look at requirements and set your goals. As David Benjamin Gruenbaum writes, “You don’t think that some colleges are going to botch this?”

Errors are bound to happen during the process of updating and streamlining everything. Some schools seem to have everything up to date, including cautions that while they will continue to superscore the SAT, they won’t be able to superscore between the old and new versions.

However, some websites have either not updated their information, or appear to have pulled up the old score concordances when they made their updates. The South Dakota School of Mines, notes that they “will automatically admit students who meet the educational requirements and who obtain an ACT composite score of 25 AND obtain an ACT math subscore of 25 (or SAT composite of 1130 and SAT Math subscore of 580) AND minimum cumulative GPA of a 2.75.”

An ACT of 25 on the pre-2005 chart matched up with an SAT between 1130 and 1160. For the post-2005 but pre-March-2016 SAT, if you only consider Math and Critical Reading, a 25 still corresponded to an SAT between 1130 and 1160.

Now? That’s no longer true. An ACT of 25, according to the new, not-without-issues concordance tables, matches up to a SAT of 1220, while a new SAT score of 1130 correlates to a 23 on the ACT

As far as the math score correlations, for the new test, there aren’t any. Those numbers are also from a previous concordance.

I don’t want to go out of my way to pick on South Dakota. The University of Missouri – Kansas City lists the pre-redesign Critical Reading + Math scores for their admissions requirements. University of Iowa’s website is updated in some places but not others. ASU, Texas Tech, and both UC and CSU systems are using the “old” scores.  

This may not be a big deal for many students. If, for example, you’re taking the ACT, you don’t need to worry about the SAT requirements at all. But let’s say Bob is taking the SAT. Bob has a college list. He’s spent a lot of time researching the score he needs; he’s checked all the requirements of his colleges-of-choice. He knows he needs a 1200. He studies, he gets a 1200, and then – sorry, Bob. They meant *old* 1200. Bob’s *new* 1200 is an old…1150. Bummer, Bob.

Don’t be Bob. Check the requirements against the concordance chart, and if you’re unsure what the numbers mean, ask your admissions rep. Staying informed and educated during this very interesting time is going to be important for everyone, especially for anyone choosing to engage with the redesigned SAT.

A Concordance Chart with the various Score Ranges by ACT/SAT

SAT ACT Concordance


By Audrey Hazzard, Premier-Level Tutor