ACT Refuses to Recognize or Approve SAT Concordance Table and Converter App

On Friday, May 11, ACT released a statement on ACT-SAT concordance shortly after the College Board released its redesigned SAT Concordance Table and Converter App.

ACT was not pleased with the College Board's SAT Score Converter, which allows students to compare scores on the redesigned SAT with the old SAT as well as with the ACT. According to ACT, back in 2006 (the last time the SAT underwent a major makeover), the College Board wisely decided to wait a full year before releasing concordance tables. This time, however, they only waited two months.

ACT is mainly frustrated with the College Board for attempting to compare a brand new SAT exam with a tried-and-true ACT exam. In the ACT's words, "Linking scores from a single administration of the new SAT to the old SAT, and then to the 2006 ACT, is a bridge too far." Their argument is based on the fact that the two exams are very different (e.g. the SAT does not include a Science section as the ACT does), therefore, meaningful concordance is actually difficult to achieve.

As such, ACT refuses to "support or defend the use of any concordance produced by the College Board" unless the College Board makes a stronger effort to collaborate with ACT to produce a more accurate concordance table. The ACT even went so far as to recommend that students avoid basing significant decisions (e.g. admissions, course placement, scholarships) on the current data released by the College Board.


The following day, the College Board responded to ACT ultimately standing by the released concordance tables and Score Converter app.

The SAT claimed to have pulled data not only from the March 2016 administration of the new SAT, but also from two large-scale national concordance studies in December 2014 and December 2015. According to the College Board, the data is sound. Furthermore, the College Board even attempted to correspond with ACT to conduct an updated SAT-ACT concordance study, but ACT never responded. The College Board went ahead and released what they call "derived concordance" in the meantime.


On Friday, May 13, ACT released yet another statement in response to the College Board claiming that the methodology used certainly does not meet testing industry standards and contrary to the College Board's claims the ACT never received any correspondence from the College Board regarding an SAT-ACT concordance study.

Main takeaways:

  • Students use concordance tables to decide which exam(s) they will take, and both the College Board and ACT know that. It's worthwhile to note, in their current form, the concordance tables do have one major problem: they are missing percentiles. Without percentiles, it's difficult to know for sure how a redesigned SAT score corresponds to an old SAT score or how it corresponds to a current ACT score.
  • New SAT scores are inflated compared to the old SAT. This inflation is giving students the impression that they are scoring higher on the SAT but their scores may not be as competitive as they think. While colleges won't likely be fooled by the inflation, students could be. And students are the ones who ultimately choose which exam to take.
  • Both the SAT and ACT have recently come under new leadership all during a time of increased competition between the two tests for market share and revenue. These new leaders appear less constrained by the traditional "live and let live" atmosphere that typified the relationship between the SAT and ACT before and are far more willing to disagree in public.
Megan Stubbendeck

About Megan Stubbendeck

Dr. Megan Stubbendeck is an eight-year veteran of the test prep industry with ten years of teaching experience. She earned her PhD in History from the University of Virginia, where she taught for three years in the History Department. She has been part of the test prep industry since 2007 and has earned perfect scores on the SAT, ACT, GRE, and multiple AP exams. As the CEO of ArborBridge, Megan oversees all aspects of ArborBridge operations and helped to create our innovative curriculum.

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