U.S. News and World Report Question

<p>I have a question for you...this applies to U.S. News and World Report and many other college guides.</p>

<p>When a college reports its data, say, for instance, Princeton it will give the middle 50% range of SAT Math and SAT Verbal</p>


<p>690-770 Verbal
700-780 Math</p>

<p>In U.S. News & World Report it has the SAT 25th-75th (also in magazines like Atlatnic Monthly, etc.) percentile on a combined basis. </p>

<p>It might have for a certain college, 1390-1550, for example. Are they just adding those two lists of middle 50% SAT verbal and middle 50% SAT math, or does US News have access to the combined scores of all students? Because if they are, that is NOT an accurate gauge for people who are looking at their scores on a combined basis. The US News data inflates the scores, because it makes it look like 25% scored a combined 1550 or above, whereas in reality, if you got a combined 1550 you'd be higher in the percentile. (Because all the people with 800 Maths and 650 verbals and 800 verbals and 680 maths would be separated and ranked according to each subject.)</p>

<p>Example, say the data set were the following scores:</p>

<p>800 M, 700 V
780 M, 500 V
700 M, 720 V
650 M, 800 V
700 M, 700 V
790 M, 790 V
800 M, 620 V
540 M, 800 V
800 M, 800 V
800 M, 700 V
800 M, 640 V
640 M, 790 V</p>

<p>Individually, the middle 50% ranges would be:</p>

<p>700-800 Math
700-800 Verbal</p>

<p>which would, if they combined them like that, make the combined sat ranges look like:
1400-1600...which is really intimidating</p>

<p>But if you look at the scores above on a combined basis like :</p>


<p>The combined middle 50% would be...</p>

<p>1350-1500 Combined verbal + math...which is much less intimidating.</p>

<p>I know this was extensibe, but i'm a very analytical person. So I would say, if you have a 1450 and think you've got no chance at Harvard, ignore the numbers and still try. Your combined score is actually probably pretty good after all.</p>

<p>US News in its summary chart at the beginning on its site provides a range that is simply the addition of the two ranges for V and M provided by the college. It also provides the V and M ranges in the admissions section for each college but unfortunately you need to pay the annual fee for the premium edition to get to that.</p>

<p>Well that's excellent then!</p>

there was an extensive discussion and evaluation of this on the Princeton Review parents discussion site 2 or 3 years ago. If I recall the verdict correctly, you are absolutely right. USNEWS and others typically just add the separate math and verbal mid-50% score ranges and do not rely on actual combined scores from the colleges. Therefore,the reported combined ranges are higher than authentic combined scores would be. Any student looking to find whether she is in the "top 25%" should look at each component of the SAT separately, and not at the so-called combined range reported by USNEWS.</p>

<p>Again if I recall correctly, some colleges occasionally reported their "true" combined scores on their websites and it was on this basis that it was possible to calculate what the typical inflation factor was when USNEWS just added the separate ranges. I think it was something like 25-30 points to the reported 75th percentile.</p>

<p>To my knowledge the true combined scores are not usually reported anywhere. For example, most colleges now participate in the so-called "Common Data Set" program, under which they file (and often post on their own websites -- admissions office or institutional research) detailed information about student body characteristics, financial aid, admit and yield rates, retention and graduation rates, and other information. On those forms, they also report separate SAT verbal and SAT math mid-50% ranges, but the forms do NOT include authentic combined ranges of the SAT. In fact, they don't include any combined ranges.</p>