Mark makes some very good points.

Here is another twist. At the University of New Mexico, we are primarily
ACT. However, we do have out-of-state applicants who took the SAT, and
some of our better NM students also take the SAT since they are
considering out-of-state colleges as well as UNM. The result is that our
SAT average is quite a bit higher than our ACT average (when compared
using the concordance). For internal analyses I use the concordance to
create an ACT-equivalent score for each SAT score and use those in
computing an overall ACT average -- which I think better represents our
complete student body.

But these issues aren't addressed in the CDS instructions. I suspect that
not only are we comparing apples and oranges, but that we've got a few
bananas and grape mixed in too!

Mark Chisholm

On Thu, 1 Sep 2005, Mark Erste wrote:

> Date: Thu, 1 Sep 2005 11:32:05 -0400
> From: Mark Erste <merste@franciscan.edu>
> Reply-To: cds@cblist.org
> To: Common Data Set <cds@cb1nyo.cblist.org>
> Subject: [cds] RE: Calculating ACT and SAT Averages for CDS
>
> Bob et al,
>
> I think I need to clarify my last answer, because it is clear a misunderstanding has occurred.
>
> The CDS is very clear about not substituting TOEFL scores in place of SAT or ACT when reporting these figures. However, in my answer, I was not referring to what we report, I was referring to what we require for admission to OUR institution.
>
> What the CDS is not clear about, however, is how to treat a student who took both tests. (I will assume it's clear in my example and carry it to it's logical conclusion and the list can let me know if I get it right). Specifically, as way of example, take two students:
>
> Student 1 submits an ACT score of 15 in her junior year of high school (I am disregarding GPA, etc at this point). She would likely be denied admission. If however, in her senior year she submits an SAT score of 1420, she will likely be admitted. The ACT score would have been a basis for denial of admission, and the SAT score would, however, be the basis for admission.
>
> Student 2 submits an ACT score of 15 in his junior year of high school. He would likely be denied admission. If however, in his senior year he submits an ACT score of 32 (which happens to be equivalent to a 1420 SAT), he will likely be admitted. The first ACT score would have been a basis for denial of admission, and the second ACT score would, however, be the basis for admission.
>
> As I understand it, if both students enroll, I would include Student 2's ACT score of 32 in the calculation of the average ACT, but not his score of 15 (the CDS does not address this, so maybe I am wrong here). But, I would include Student 2's SAT score of 1420 in the calculation of the average SAT, and I would also include her ACT score of 15 in my ACT average. If I am correct, because the first student took the same test, he doesn't penalize the ACT average, but the second student does because she took a different test.
>
> I am trying to understand the rationale in calculating both scores so that when I look at the scores reported by other colleges, I am comparing apples and apples because my example is fraught with potential (actual in reality) problems. For instance, one school may have a retention policy that requires that test scores for students denied admission are destroyed after one year. If this were the case, Student 1's scores would not be included in the average ACT score. Likewise, if Student 1 saw how low the scores were and chose not to submit them in the first place, I would never know she had a 15. But because I know, my college's ACT scores are penalized.
>
> If the purpose of the average ACT/SAT and the ranges and percentiles we report are supposed to be a reflection of the academic profile of our students, it seems to me we need to clarify what we report, otherwise scores we report will be artificially low and not accurately represent anything of value.
>
> I await the many responses I am sure I will receive.
>
> Mark
>
>
> Mark Erste
> Franciscan University of Steubenville
> Institutional Research Manager
> 1235 University Blvd
> Steubenville, OH 43952
>
> merste@franciscan.edu
> Phone: 740-283-6226, x1212
> Fax: 740-284-5456
>
>>>> RMORSE@usnews.com 9/1/2005 10:35 AM >>>
>
> That is incorrect.
> The CDS is VERY clear on that, NO substitutions. If there are scores submitted by students they should be counted.
>
> Robert J. Morse
> Director of Data Research
> U.S. News & World Report
> 1050 Thomas Jefferson St. NW
> Washington, DC 20007
>
> Phone: 202-955-2389
> Fax: 202-955-2263
> www.usnews.com
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mark Erste [mailto:merste@franciscan.edu]
> Sent: Thursday, September 01, 2005 10:17 AM
> To: Common Data Set
> Subject: [cds] RE: Calculating ACT and SAT Averages for CDS
>
>
> Yes. TOEFL (or some equivalent) would replace ACT/SAT as an admission requirement.
>
>
> Mark Erste
> Franciscan University of Steubenville
> Institutional Research Manager
> 1235 University Blvd
> Steubenville, OH 43952
>
> merste@franciscan.edu
> Phone: 740-283-6226, x1212
> Fax: 740-284-5456
>
>>>> kmackenz@bu.edu 9/1/2005 9:45 AM >>>
>
> Would you suggest that SAT verbal scores (and therefore SAT combined scores) be excluded, if the TOEFL score (or some equivalent alternative) was used as the basis of admission for an applicant for whom English was not their first language?
>
>
>
>
> From: Mark Erste [mailto:merste@franciscan.edu]
> Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 10:28 AM
> To: Common Data Set
> Subject: [cds] Calculating ACT and SAT Averages for CDS
>
> I am interested in how other schools calculate their average ACT and SAT for the CDS. We accept either the ACT or the SAT for admission. Some students take both tests and send both scores. If two ACT or SAT scores are submitted, the highest score is used (we use the highest combined score and do not split scores and take the highest verbal and math) While both scores may meet our minimum, the higher score is the "score of record".
>
> My specific question is, if a student has taken both tests, which score is used in calculating their average? For instance, if a student scored a 17 on the ACT but a 1420 on the SAT would both scores be included in their respective average or only the highest? Our admissions office argues that the student would never be admitted with a 17 ACT, but they would be admitted and considered for scholarship with the 1420 SAT, and, therefore, the ACT should not be considered in the average since it was not used as a basis for admissions. Likewise, if a student submits two SAT scores, we would only use the highest one in our average, so is it acceptable to only use the highest of the SAT or ACT submitted?
>
> For those schools that use only the higher of the two in calculating their average, which score is used when the ACT and SAT scores are "equivalent"?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Mark
> Mark Erste
> Franciscan University of Steubenville
> Institutional Research Manager
> 1235 University Blvd
> Steubenville, OH 43952
> merste@franciscan.edu
> Phone: 740-283-6226, x1212
> Fax: 740-284-5456
>
>
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===========================================================================
"Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable." (Mark Twain)

Mark P. Chisholm -- Director, Office of Institutional Research
306 Scholes Hall, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-2041
Phones: (505) 277-5115 (office) -7659 (direct) -7655 (fax)
email: MarkChis@unm.edu Office Home Page: http://www.unm.edu/~oir