On Tuesday, ACT and College Board (the administrators of the ACT and SAT tests) released a conversion table that could be used to compare scores of students who completed either exam. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the table was based on a study of more than 300,000 students who had taken both tests between 2004 and 2006.
The two test providers release a similar table every few years, but the latest chart was a necessary update due to a change in the SAT format. In 2005, College Board added a new mandatory writing section to their exam, one that is optional for ACT takers. To better assist college administrators in making their admissions decisions, the new table predicts the SAT scores of students who chose to opt out of the ACT writing section as well as of those who completed all portions of the exam.
Students who did not take the writing section and received a score of 21 (the average composite score on the ACT), could expect a combined critical reading and math score of 990 on the SAT. Those who chose to complete the writing section of the ACT and received a composite English and writing score of 20 could expect to receive a 490 on the writing portion of the SAT.
College Board stressed that the comparisons were estimates and that a student’s results on one test did not necessarily ensure the suggested equivalent. The company stated that, “In general, the scores should not be compared. However, we understand that our constituents, particularly members of the admissions community, have a need to assess the test scores of students, some of whom might have taken the SAT, while others might have taken the ACT.”