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Standardized test taken by U.S. high school students applying to colleges. It is divided into two principal sections, verbal and mathematical. Promulgated largely through the efforts of James B. Conant as a means of promoting merit-based (rather than class-based) college admissions, it was administered to few students before the end of World War II but by the end of the 20th century was taken by millions each year. Scores declined as the test came to be more widely administered, and in 1995 the score of 500 for each section (midway between the extremes of 200 and 800) was reestablished as the actual mean score of those tested. The test, which most colleges use as one measure of an applicant's ability, has been denounced as biased in favour of men and the white middle class. Other critics claim that the SAT is inadequate for testing various important capacities.
Variants of SAT
SAT in full Scholastic Aptitude Test
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on SAT, visit Britannica.com.