ERIC Number: ED581513
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Student Ranking Differences within Institutions Using Old and New SAT Scores
Marini, Jessica P.; Beard, Jonathan; Shaw, Emily J.
Admission offices at colleges and universities often use SAT® scores to make decisions about applicants for their incoming class. Many institutions use prediction models to quantify a student's potential for success using various measures, including SAT scores (NACAC, 2016). In March 2016, the College Board introduced a redesigned SAT that better reflects the work that students do in college. The new test focuses on the core knowledge and skills that evidence shows to be critical in preparing for college and career. This is the overall difference between the tests and the most important one. However, in order to more clearly present findings in this comparison study, the College Board would like to note the following specific differences in format and scoring. The old SAT had three sections: critical reading, mathematics, and writing. The new SAT has two sections, Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, and Math. It also offers an optional essay. The new test reports additional scores (e.g., test scores, cross-test scores, and subscores). The old SAT had a total scale range of 600-2400. The new SAT has a total scale range of 400-1600. Following the release of the redesigned SAT, institutions are especially interested in learning if and how the use of new SAT scores impacts decision-making methods, and studies have been undertaken to address this interest (e.g., Marini, Shaw, Young, & Walker, 2016; Marini, Shaw, & Young, in press). The current study explores whether old and new SAT scores rank students within an institution in a similar way. If the rankings of students produced by the two different SAT scores from the old and new exam are preserved, then the decisions based on performance on the old exam would be essentially identical to decisions based on performance when the new exam is used instead. Conversely, if the rankings of students are markedly different, then decisions would not be consistent across the old and new exams. Ranking students by standardized test scores is not something that admission offices necessarily do. However, this study design can provide insight into whether or not scores on the old and new SAT place students within the same relative position among all students applying to an institution. This can signal whether to expect large, small, or essentially no changes to processes, policies, and procedures incorporating SAT scores on campus. The purpose of this study is not to validate a method of admitting students based on test score ranking within an institution. Rather, the aim is to examine whether the new and old test scores similarly rank-order applicants within an institution to better understand if any broad changes would be expected in the interpretation of student test scores received within an institution.
Descriptors: College Entrance Examinations, College Admission, Knowledge Level, College Readiness, Career Readiness, Evidence Based Practice, Reading Achievement, Writing Achievement, Mathematics Achievement, Decision Making, Class Rank, Performance, Student Characteristics, Gender Differences, Racial Differences, Ethnicity, Institutional Characteristics, Scores, Scoring, Statistical Analysis
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Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: College Board
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: SAT (College Admission Test)