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The Stability of the SAT Score Scale SAT

Modu, Christopher C.; Stern, June
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, Equated Scores, Scaling, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Scores, Testing Problems


The purpose of this study is to determine the extent of drift which may have occurred in the SAT score scale between 1963 and 1973. In compliance with the recommendation in a 1961 report by Wilks to the College Board that a solid research effort be undertaken to assess a possible drift in the SAT-Verbal scale since 1941, a similar study, covering the period 1944 to 1963, was conducted by Stewart in 1966. In the present study, raw scores on 1963 and 1966 forms of the SAT were placed on the reporting scale for a 1973 form. The raw-to-scaled score conversions derived in 1963 and 1966 for equivalent raw scores representing the same ability levels on these forms were compared with their corresponding scores on the 1973 reporting scale. The equating procedures used in the experimental equating are identical with those used in the operational equating of SAT scores during the period of the study. However, in the operational equating, several equatings intervene between the tests which are equated directly in this study. The results indicate that for both 1963 and 1966 equatings, the 1973 candidate group would have earned lower scores on both SAT-verbal and SAT-mathematical tests had the experimental equating results rather than the operational equating results been used in reporting the December 1973 scores. The average difference is 14 points for SAT-verbal and 17 points for SAT-mathematical scores. The data of this study do not provide an explanation for the discrepancy between the results of the experimental and operational equating over the period of the study. (27pp.)

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