Different Tests, Same Flaws: A Comparison of the SAT, SAT II and ACT

Recent debate in college admissions has centered on a critique of the SAT I in favor of the SAT II and/or ACT. Proponents of these alternatives argue that the SAT I is primarily an aptitude test measuring some vague concept of "inherent ability," while the SAT II and ACT are more closely tied to what students learn in high school. However, while the origins of the exams and the rhetoric test-makers offer may differ, the SAT I, SAT II, and ACT present many of the same flaws and shortcomings.

10 Myths about the SAT

1. The SAT gives all students an equal shot at college admission.

Because of the way the test is constructed, its rewards for strategic guessing, the highly-speeded pace, and cultural biases, the SAT denies African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and women equal opportunities for higher education. Research shows that when admissions offices place heavy emphasis on SAT scores - particularly when they use rigid cut-off score minimums - the number of qualified students of color and low-income students admitted goes down.

Selected Annotated Bibliography on The SAT: Bias and Misuse

Includes entries on:

Admissions Alternatives


Gender Bias

Test Misuse

Predictive Validity

Racial/Ethnic Bias


Test Construction


Compiled by the staff of the

SAT I: A Faulty Instrument For Predicting College Success

The "New" SAT: A Better Test or Just a Marketing Ploy?

In June 2002, the College Board announced a series of changes to the SAT-I that were implemented in March 2005. The action primarily responded to threats by the University of California, the SAT's biggest customer, that it planned to drop the test and to the growing number of colleges which have made test scores optional for many applicants. 

The SAT: Questions and Answers

What Is the SAT?

The SAT Reasoning Test is this nation's oldest, most widely used -- and misused -- college entrance exam. The SAT is composed of three sections, "Critical Reading," "Mathematics," and "Writing," each scored on a 200-800 point scale. The 171 questions are nearly all multiple-choice; the exam now includes one brief essay, and ten math questions require students to "grid in" the answer. By design, the test is "speeded" which means that many test takers are unable to finish all the questions.

The ACT: Biased, Inaccurate, and Misused

What is the ACT?

More than a million high school students take the ACT (formerly known as the American College Testing Program Assessment) each year. Like the SAT, the ACT is a standardized multiple-choice test meant to predict first-year college grades. While the SAT predominates on the East and West Coasts, the ACT is more common in the Midwest, Southwest, and Deep South.

Examining the GRE: Myths, Misuses, and Alternatives

What is the GRE?

GMAT - Padlock on MBA Admissions Gates

Note: A printable PDF of this page is located here.

GMAT Basics:

The Graduate Management Admissions Test is the standardized exam used by graduate business schools for admissions decisions. It is designed and produced by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and administered throughthe Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC). The three-hour, computer-adaptive test is almost exclusively multiple-choice and

More Than 1000 Accredited Colleges and Universities That Do Not Use ACT/SAT Scores to Admit Substantial Numbers of Students Into Bachelor-Degree Programs

Current as of Spring 2018

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