The New SAT has a number of features that differ from the Old SAT. Test scores are scored on different scales and students are tested on different knowledge and skills.

On the New SAT, students are assessed on reading and writing (combined) and mathematics. An optional essay section that Idaho has chosen to include for the Statewide School Day Administration is scored and reported separately. In the Old SAT, students were assessed on reading, writing, and mathematics.

Because of these differences, the New SAT and the Old SAT test scores cannot be directly compared. The College Board’s SAT Score Converter provides only estimates of score correspondence from one test to another. Caution must be used in using this table as it will not provide an exact comparison.

For the Old SAT®, the College Board (the publishers of this test), chose to set an arbitrary benchmark score of 1550 out of 2400. That would be very ambitious for most students. This score was never meant to judge a person’s ability to succeed in later life.

The New College and Career Benchmarks are based on student success in entry-level college classes and represents a 75% likelihood of a student achieving at least a “C” grade in their first semester. The new grade-level benchmarks for the SAT® are based on expected student growth towards the SAT® benchmarks at each grade. Revised benchmarks take into consideration that most colleges allow for “C” grades, and consider a “C” in a college credit course as “Satisfactory.” The Old SAT® held students to a college grade standard of A’s and B’s. The New SAT® reflects a more realistic picture of satisfactory performance and college readiness. This is based on information from colleges and universities.

The new benchmarks:

  • Make it easier to track progress over time. The pre-redesign benchmarks were not designed to function together as a system. The new benchmarks were designed around expected student growth to make it easier to assess how students are progressing year-over-year toward college readiness.
  • To provide more actionable feedback. While the pre-redesign benchmarks provided educators with a general sense of their students’ college readiness, it did not provide detailed feedback on specific areas of strengths and weaknesses, or resources to support students. The new benchmarks provide students with more detailed information on their scores.
  • Make it more straightforward for students. The NEW SAT® uses a “C” grade as the new metric, as it is almost universally interpreted as “Satisfactory” in undergraduate institutions and is less confusing to students and educators than “B-.” Instead of “65% likelihood,” we are using “75% likelihood” to ensure that if we tell a student they are ready for college, there is a relatively small chance that they are not.

The New SAT also reports scores relative to the benchmarks using a simple, color-coded system. Here is what those colors indicate:

  • Green: The student met the College and Career Readiness benchmark
  • Yellow: The student is within one year’s average growth of reaching the benchmark
  • Red: The student is more than one year’s average growth away from reaching the benchmark

Caution is necessary when interpreting the new benchmarks. Unlike in previous years, the new Evidence-Based Reading & Writing and Math benchmarks are not designed to produce cumulative scores. Users should not combine the separate benchmarks for each subject area in an effort to create a comparison point for total score data. Combining the benchmarks this way may lead to inaccurate conclusions.

For example, combining individual benchmark scores of 480 in Evidence-Based Reading & Writing and 530 in Math would create a cumulative score of 1010. A student with a score of 600 in Evidence-Based Reading & Writing and 500 in Math would have a total combined score above this cumulative target, but would clearly not be meeting the Math benchmark. The benchmark data must be analyzed individually or using the percentage of students who met BOTH the Evidence-Based Reading & Writing and Math benchmarks.

The New SAT® has a number of features that are different from the Old SAT® such as:

  • No penalties for guessing
  • Greater emphasis on the meanings of words in extended contexts instead of vocabulary in limited context.
  • The New SAT® has scores ranging from 400 to 1600
  • Sub-scores are available for every test with additional question item analysis. Resources and practice materials and tests are available for every student free of charge.

College readiness is a continuum. Colleges and universities utilize admissions test as one component of a holistic admissions process. Students scoring below the SAT® benchmarks can still be successful in college. A student’s SAT® score is only one snapshot of how they can perform in college or career. That is why colleges and universities take a comprehensive look at the total student.

The Khan Academy is a no-cost practice resource that can be linked to a student’s free College Board account. It provides personalized, interactive practice recommendations and offers four official full length practice tests as well as test taking tips. Educators can access instructional resources via Khan Academy.

According to IDAPA, before the end of a student’s junior eleventh grade year, a student must take one (1) college entrance examination: the COMPASS®, ACT, or SAT®. With funding appropriated by the Idaho State Legislature, Idaho juniors are provided the opportunity to take the SAT® on the SAT® School Day in mid-April of every school year. If the student is forced to miss this opportunity, there is a make-up day one week later, and a senior make-up day the first week of November of the subsequent school year.

For each school year, Idaho SAT® School Day Reports provides information on district clusters and school clusters. The reports summarize the performance of participating Idaho juniors who took the SAT School Day academic assessment on the SAT® School Day primary administration only, which occurs in mid-April of each school year. Make-up and non-standard test takers are excluded from the reports. The reports include results for test-takers who have valid composite scores.

It is important to note, that while Idaho juniors are required to take a college entrance or placement exam under Idaho Code, not all juniors participate in the SAT® School Day administration. This may be because some students are not available on the School Day administration and participate in one of the make-up days. Or some juniors may take one of the other exams, referenced in Idaho Code, which meets the requirement. This in turn, may skew the school and/or district SAT mean score in the reports. Please be certain to make note of each district or school participation percentage; this will give you a more accurate view of a district or school mean score.


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