Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT)

Ensuring reliable, objective, accessible, and secure assessments.

Students in an SSAT test center taking the paper SSAT.

Enrollment professionals need an equitable way to assess applicants, regardless of their background or experience.

Since 1957, the SSAT has been their indispensable solution. Developed by EMA to standardize admissions for grades 3-11, the SSAT measures students' verbal, math, and reading skills and provides objective insights enrollment leaders need to reduce inherent biases and predict first-year student success.

As the assessment landscape continues to evolve and grade inflation rises, the SSAT offers a significant asset to decision makers inside a holistic assessment process by giving an objective, scientific measurement within an admission file with mostly subjective inputs (grades, recommendations, interviews, etc.). The SSAT allows schools to compare students' cognitive skills in similar circumstances when used as one component in an overall applicant portrait.

EMA administers The SSAT to more than 53,000 candidates each year.

Our testing experts continually monitor The SSAT to ensure it remains:

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The SSAT is written and reviewed by independent school educators and content and testing experts. Every question goes through a rigorous standardized process of validation.

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The SSAT’s scaled score reliability is higher than .90 (out of a possible 1.0) for both the verbal and quantitative sections and is approaching .90 for the reading section.

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EMA offers millions of dollars in fee waivers for the SSAT and the SAO each year for students in need who are seeking educational opportunities with our member schools.

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The processes and procedures for the SSAT’s administration are the same for every student at test sites around the world.

Without a reliable test of cognitive skills, it is impossible to compare applicants from a variety of diverse backgrounds.


SSAT Customized Score Services

Want to get the most out of every SSAT score report you receive? EMA offers two services to provide you with customized information appropriate to your school's unique needs:



The SSAT scores of currently enrolled students can help schools establish a baseline for comparing incoming applicant scores. It can also help establish a benchmark to measure the future progress of current students.


Applicant Comparison Data

We can provide school-specific data to give schools a better understanding of where each applicant’s scores fall in relation to currently enrolled students and the previous year’s applicant pool.

See what admissions professionals have to say about the SSAT.

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Quality test development requires a rigorous scientific approach.

Our test development and scoring practices adhere to The Standards of Educational and Psychological Testing, the American Education Research Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education.

Assessments are written and reviewed by test experts, subject-matter thought leaders, and independent school educators dedicated to equity, fairness, and inclusion.

Each question receives a full review by our staff, psychometricians, test developers, and external review panels to reduce bias and remove items that all students would not understand.

Statistical procedures are used to adjust for difficulty so that scores from different test forms carry the same meaning and can be used interchangeably.

Our experts also provide training to schools on how to reduce bias in admissions and properly use assessment results during the enrollment process.

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Schools need reliable assessment tools to make confident decisions about applicants.

It's time to champion transformational education journeys. Let’s do it together.

Schools Benefitting From The SSAT

A Better Chance logoViewpoint School logoProctor Academy logoRansom Everglades School logoRiverdale School logo

Create an equitable admission review process.

EMA's standardized admission assessments—the SSAT and the Character Skills Snapshot—enable schools to conduct equitable and non-biased enrollment processes by providing objective, scientific measurements.

Our longstanding Fee Waiver Program helps thousands of students explore the possibilities of independent school education.

A close-up image of a student's hand gripping a pencil and completing the SSAT answer sheet.

Ready to learn more about the SSAT? Let's chat!