SAT Is the #1 Test, But Numbers Can Be Deceiving

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Numbers can be important, but there is usually more to the story. College Board just announced their SAT exam regained its #1 market share after seven years as #2. In the graduating class of 2018, nearly 2 million U.S. students took the SAT, compared with 1.9 million who took the ACT. Take a look past the numbers to see why that happened.

You might think more 2018 graduates picked SAT over ACT because it was a better test for them. It actually had more to do with decisions made by state boards of education in Illinois and Colorado, who had recently signed contracts for statewide testing of all juniors in public high schools. Students taking the SAT in Illinois went from 12,402 for the Class of 2017 to 145,919 for the Class of 2018. At the same time, the number of ACT students in the state dropped from 134,901 for the Class of 2017 to 62,626 for 2018 grads.

While these state contracts for ACT or SAT testing are not new, the number of such states has leaped to around 20—making a huge impact on the overall ACT-SAT usage. The state contracts allow students to take a 3-hour test at school during a weekday, and the state picks up the cost. On the other hand, when students take weekend ACT-SAT tests, it costs them about $45 each – except for those who get fee waivers due to demonstrated financial need. State contracts can be effective in many ways:

  • More students in more socioeconomic categories are taking ACT-SAT tests and hopefully qualifying for college admissions and scholarships.
  • State school boards are using the ACT or SAT for statewide measures of academic skills instead of other tests that may have less valid results. [Note: Georgia still uses its Milestones tests instead of statewide ACT or SAT.]
  • Taxpayers are getting more accountability from their public schools because aggregate ACT-SAT test results can be easily compared to results from other states.
  • And College Board and ACT are winning because state revenue is worth many millions of dollars. This comes at a time when more colleges are going test-optional.

Now that you see how and why the national SAT-ACT popularity numbers have evolved, why does ACT continue to be a better match for Dogwood students by a 2:1 margin?

Read our blog: Why Is ACT More Popular Than SAT?

At Dogwood Tutoring, we help you decide which test is a better match, based on your child’s individual needs. Please call Ivan at 678-735-7555 to discuss how we can customize a test prep program to help achieve his or her best results on the ACT and/or SAT.