Test Prep in the News: June

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We are committed to providing you with the most up-to-date resources and announcements from the college admissions testing landscape. Here are some of the top headlines from this past month:


New SAT/ACT Concordance Tables

Summary: ACT and the College Board have finished the great “Concordance Summit of 2018” to create a new score conversion table. The new table, which converts scores between the two exams, came out last Thursday. The College Board, in conjunction with NACAC, hosted a webinar on June 19 for those interested in a deep dive into the new tables. The webinar’s recording can be found here.

What this means: 

  • You may remember that ACT was furious when the College Board produced its own concordance table at the time of the new SAT’s release. This new table is the product of a joint venture between the two and is now the definitive guide.
  • A few shifts did happen in the tables—especially in the low and high ranges. For a full debrief, check out our blog post here.

Concordance (College Board)

ACT/SAT Concordance (ACT)


University of Chicago Goes Test Optional

Summary: UChicago announced last week that SAT/ACT scores will not be required for students applying for the class of 2023. UChicago is ranked #3 in the country and is now the highest ranked school to embrace the test optional/flexible trend. The primary reason for the move is to increase access and diversity. Other changes to the UChicago application system include allowing students to submit their own transcripts and swapping optional interviews for a two-minute video upload to attach to the application. The university will also expand financial aid: free tuition for families making less than $125,000 and four-year scholarships for first-generation students.

What this means: 

  • The new question is what impact this change will have at other schools now that a top-ranked school has paved the way. While UChicago is the first, don’t expect it to be the last. We’ll be keep a close eye and report on other schools that follow.
  • Although test optional is becoming more popular as a policy, there are a few limits to how many students actually forgo SAT/ACT. According to one article, 85% of all college applications are sent to schools requiring SAT/ACT scores. And a majority of students who apply to test optional schools still submit scores.
  • Last month, The Atlantic ran a story that suggested its reporter had heard an unnamed school in the upper tier was considering such a move. We speculate that the school may be UChicago. The article also quoted a source from a prestigious university that indicated if some highly ranked school would take the plunge, others might follow.

University of Chicago to Stop Requiring ACT and SAT Scores for Prospective Undergraduates (Chicago Tribune)

Big Step in Testing Trend: University of Chicago Makes SAT, ACT Optional (Ed Week)

An Ultra-Selective University Just Dropped the ACT/SAT. So What? (Chronicle of Higher Ed)

A Shake-Up in Elite Admissions: U-Chicago Drops SAT/ACT Testing Requirement (Washington Post)

Now That the University of Chicago Dropped Its Testing Requirement for Applicants, Will Other Elite Colleges Follow? (Washington Post)

University of Chicago Drops SAT, ACT Requirement for Admissions (Wall Street Journal)


ACT CBT Update: New Rules for Accommodation Students

Summary: We’ve made a recent update to our guide on the ACT’s planned conversion to a computer-based test, which you can find here. ACT has finally indicated how it plans to handle students with testing accommodations. Students who take the test with 50% extended time in one day will take CBT at an official test center, just like standard students. The only exception to this rule for 50%-extended-time students will be for those who “qualify” for a paper-based exam. All other accommodations (testing over multiple days, stop-the-clock breaks, 100% extended time, etc.) will still take the ACT via “Special Testing” at their home schools on paper.

What this means: 

  • This is a major shift for the ACT. Historically, all international students with accommodation took the exam via “Special Testing” at their home schools.
  • It’s still a bit murky still how a 50%-extended-time student “qualifies” for paper-based. It’s likely dependent upon whether a student’s official paperwork diagnosing the learning difference/disability specifies that the student needs to take exams on paper.

Requesting Accommodations: Checklist for International Examinees (ACT)

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 brings many years of experience as both an Elite Instructor and the Coordinator of Instructor Development at Revolution Prep. As the Senior Director of Instruction at ArborBridge, Megan oversees the curriculum team and their developments.

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