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National Trends Show More Students Taking ACT Over SAT

Trend is not ringing true in the Upper Dublin School District, where the SATs still reign supreme.

National Trends Show More Students Taking ACT Over SAT

The ACT  tests have started to win a national popularity test. According to a blog on the Washington Post, it has overtaken the SAT as the most popular college admissions exam in the United States.

A report information from FairTest showed that in 2012, the ACT has finally surpassed the more traditional SAT exams.


2011: 1,623,112 took the ACT; 1,647,123* took the SAT

2012: 1,666,017 took the ACT; 1,664,479* took the SAT


(* Once it saw that the number of ACT-takers had grown larger, based on a historically consistent measure, the College Board revised the 2010 SAT total upward by including more exam administrations, a practice it continued in 2011 and 2012.)

 However, in the Upper Dublin School District, students aren’t trending in the same direction. Here, the SAT exams are still the dominant test.

In 2010, students in UDSD took far more SAT exams than ACT exams. According to reports from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, in 2010, 315 students took the SATs, while only 105 took the ACT exam.

In 2011, just one school-year later, the report shows that 314 Upper Dublin students took the SATs, while only 61 took ACT.

Dr. Michael Pladus, Superintendent of Schools, told Patch, that the number of ACT test takers at UDHS over the past ten years has increased from 5 to 105 in 2010, the first year that Upper Dublin School District offered the ACT on site.

Pladus added that 90 students took the ACT test in 2012.

Pladus told Patch that the SAT has been the standardized test choice in the east, whereas the ACT has been the choice for predominately midwestern colleges.

He added that UDHS students have done well on both the SAT and the ACT, with average scores tending to be in the top 10 in the state for public schools.

Upper Dublin resident, Steven Greene, owner of mAke the grAde, told Patch that both tests are four hour long tests, with the SAT covering reading, math, and writing with an essay component; and the ACT covering english, math, reading and science, with an optional essay.

He continued that the SAT is 10 sections that are between 20-25 minutes and alternate between subjects, whereas the ACT is five sections that are 35 to 60 minutes long and does not repeat content. However, pacing for the ACT needs to be faster, with about 1 minute or less per question, so students must work faster on the ACT.

"The SAT originated as a Scholastic Aptitude Test focusing on math and verbal reasoning skills, while the ACT is often considered more of a curriculum based assessment measuring what a student has learned as opposed to his or her ability to reason," added Pladus.

"I agree [with the blog] that the ACT is certainly gaining in popularity if it isn't already 'ahead' of the SAT.  Frankly I can see why," said Greene, "Most student seemed to find the ACT 'more fair' … and less intimidating."

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