Scandals have you worried about your June or August SAT results? Email us at [email protected] or call our advice hotline at 510–495–0535 to get some guidance from test prep experts on what’s best for your personal situation.
So what actually happened with the August SAT test?
Shortly after the Saturday August 25th SAT test date in the US, numerous reports from students began circulating online alleging that questions from the Reading section on the August test were similar or identical to questions from the October 2017 international SAT administered in Asia. Other students claimed the entire August SAT test had been recycled by the College Board, and was identical to the October 2017 international test.
Though the College Board has never released an official version of the October 2017 Asia test, questions and answers from that test had apparently been leaked online, and some students could have come across that material — knowingly or unknowingly — as part of their test preparation for the August exam. If the allegations are true, it’s also possible that some students could have taken the same SAT twice if they happened to have sat for both the international October 2017 and US August 2018 administrations (some international students travel to the US for the SAT as there is no alternative August testing date abroad).
Wasn’t there an issue with the June SAT as well?
This week’s SAT woes fall on the heels of the #rescoreJuneSAT scandal, in which a process called equating led many students to see their scores drop substantially from previous test dates though they answered fewer questions incorrectly.
The College Board has historically used equating to make sure that the scaled scores between different tests are comparable, so a score of 1350 on one SAT should mean the same thing as a 1350 on another administration of the exam. Typically, raw scores and their corresponding scaled scores are close between SAT tests offered in different months. However, in June, some students reported that they got 5 to 10 more questions right on this test, but received lower scores than they did on earlier spring tests. It wasn’t a subtle difference and students understandably felt cheated out of a fair SAT score.
Why are students upset?
The August SAT test:
Students are understandably worried that their scores will be at a competitive disadvantage to other students who may have previously been exposed to the material of the August test. For rising seniors especially, the stakes of competition are incredibly high as they prepare to begin sending in their college applications in the coming months.
Following the College Board’s response this week, students are newly worried that a significant jump in scores due to increased hard work and honest test prep on their part may now unfairly flag them for score cancellation and possible banishment from future SAT administrations.
For rising seniors especially, the stakes of competition are incredibly high as they prepare to begin sending in their college applications in the coming months.
The June SAT test:
Intuitively, it’s hard to wrap one’s head around seeing your score drop on a test on which you answered a higher proportion of questions correctly than your previous attempt. The scores on the June test, while technically accurate, did seem scaled to a harsher degree than previous tests; it makes sense that students are angry.
Though some students have already made plans to retake the SAT in October, or switch to the alternative ACT instead, other students and their families may not have the funds and/or time juggling multiple responsibilities to invest in retaking the SAT yet again.
Both SAT tests:
Students have also voiced concern about how their scores and the general air of scandal around the June and August SAT tests might lead college admissions staff to view their applications in a less than favorable light.
Overall, many students and parents are feeling increasingly convinced that the College Board’s guarantee of a SAT testing experience that is consistent and fair for all students is a broken promise, one that threatens to hinder students from achieving their college dreams.
Are these student concerns valid?
Where a student decides to go to college is a huge decision, and it’s absolutely valid for anyone who took the June or August SAT to be nervous about circumstances out of their control that threaten to hinder the strength of their college applications. Though one bad SAT experience is arguably one too many, at the end of the day, it’s unlikely that very many students will be negatively affected by the June or August SAT test controversies.
For students who tested in these months and are content with their scores, there’s no need to panic or feel pressured to retake the SAT. We’re truly happy for you and wish you the best of luck with your college applications!
What should students who feel they were negatively affected by either the June or August SAT do now?
And yet for students who are unhappy with or nervous about their scores with the June or August SAT, and are planning to retake or perhaps switch over to the ACT, we completely empathize with the fact that this is a tough and unfair spot to be in at the start of the school year.
We advise these affected students to take a deep breath, register for the next test date as soon as possible, and if they’d like, take us up on our offer of free prep for students affected.
For students — or parents and educators — who are feeling overwhelmed by all this controversy around the June or August SAT and simply don’t know IF they should be worried or not, we have test prep experts on standby to offer them free advice for their unique situation.
How can parents and educators support students affected by the June or August SAT?
It’s important that each individual student assess what they feel is best for their unique situation, and this is especially true for high school seniors who are juggling so much right now with college application deadlines in their near future.
The most important thing you can do for the student or students in your life is to help ease their panic around these June and August SAT controversies and talk them through what, if anything, they should do next.
Remind your student(s) that test scores are only one part of the application process and a test score doesn’t define who they are or how far they’ll go in their educational journey. There is still time to improve other parts of their application: their senior year grades, extracurricular activities, recommendation letters, and more, and colleges look at the whole package of a student in determining acceptance.
If you’d like some help with how to talk to your student or child about this controversy, feel free to email us at [email protected] or call our advice hotline at 510–495–0535 for some personalized suggestions; we’re here to help.
Why, as a test prep company, does Magoosh care about these controversies around the June and August SAT tests? Why offer free test prep and personalized support?
An unfair SAT or any other standardized testing experience hurts all students. Low-income, minority, and otherwise nontraditional students are often hurt the most by lack of access to test prep, widening an already vast gap in educational equity.
We’re offering free prep accounts and advice help to any student, parent, or educator affected by either the June or August SAT controversy simply because it’s the right thing to do. We already know that household income is a strong predictor of SAT scores, and we don’t feel it’s fair for students and their families to incur an additional financial burden in preparing to retake the SAT because of compromises to the test that are out of their control.
So if you’re feeling anxious, stressed, confused about your June or August SAT experience, or you know someone who is, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Magoosh. We’re here for your success, whether that’s a conversation for advice or free access to our SAT and ACT prep, so don’t let a little controversy dull your shine.
The Magoosh Team