Daily Archives: January 2, 2012

02 Jan 2012

How has SAT scoring changed over time?

Have you ever wondered about your parents’ SAT scores? My parents won’t tell me theirs, but even if they did, I couldn’t take them at face value. This is because prior to 1995 SAT scores were alloted according to a different scale.

In 2002, the College Board issued a report that explains the methods by which SAT scores are scaled, or translated into a score from 200 – 800. SAT scaling helps admissions teams compare scores from distinct tests administered to different groups of students throughout the year. In other words, SAT scaling lets admissions committees know that an applicant who scored a 2050 in October has comparable knowledge and skills to someone who scored a 2050 in June.

In April 1941, SAT scores were scaled so that an average raw score translated to roughly 500. In June the same year, SAT scores were linked to this original set via a process called common item equating. Until 1995, all subsequent administrations were likewise linked to the original April 1941 scores, thus permitting the fair comparison of examinees over time. As the test became more popular, however, and more students from less rigorous schools began taking it, averages dropped to around 422 Verbal and 475 Math. In 1995, SAT scores were thus re-centered to counter this trend and make the “new” average score around 500.

Some educational organizations censured the change, stating that it was merely an attempt to evade international embarrassment about declining test scores. Such organizations explained that even though the number of test-takers had grown by over 500,000, the number of students with a Verbal score above 600 had plummeted from 112,530 in 1972 to a sad 73,080 in 1993.

Still curious about how your parents’ scores match up to your own? Use this official College Board table to adjust pre-1995 Math and Verbal scores to today’s scale.

These Key SAT Words are Expertly Identified by Sentia Tutors

Censure: strong or vehement expression of disapproval
: to distribute; allocate