SAT Race, Gender Gaps Increase

Status: 
Archived
Subject: 
University Testing

This year's annual release of test scores for the nation's college bound seniors demonstrates once again that continued reliance on SAT scores in selective admissions will undermine efforts to promote diversity in higher education. In the high school graduating class of 2003, the SAT gender gap increased by four points from its 2002 level: boys now average 43 points higher than girls. Whites outscore African Americans on average by 206 points, a 3-point increase from 2002. The White-Mexican American gap is 158 points on the SAT scale, up one point.

 

Both the widening score differences between White test-takers and applicants from most underserved minority groups and the gender gap, will intensify the disparate impacts of test score- based admissions and financial aid processes.

 

The data reinforce the conclusion that the SAT is not a level playing field. The test-makers themselves admit that the SAT systematically underpredicts the performance of young women, who earn higher college grades than their male counterparts when matched for identical courses. Independent researchers have found that the SAT misevaluates students whose home language is not English. When colleges rely on flawed test results to admit students or award scholarships, they bar their doors to many otherwise-qualified candidates. Leaders of schools that are truly committed to opening the pipeline to higher education, while simultaneously enhancing academic excellence, can transform their words into effective action by joining the growing list of institutions that have no admissions testing requirement (see story, p. 1).

 

This year's state-by-state SAT score trend data also fail to support the claim that imposing high school graduation tests will improve the overall quality of public education. SAT scores in Texas and Florida, states promoted as models for high-stakes testing, rose more slowly than the national average. If "test driven reform" really worked, students from such states should have outperformed the nation, not fallen further behind.

 

 2003 COLLEGE BOUND SENIORS: ACT

Approximately 1.18 million test takers, of whom 56% were female

 GENDER  COMPOSITE SCORE
 Female  20.8
 Male  21.0
 ETHNICITY  
 American Indian or Alaskan Native  18.7
 Asian-American or Pacific Islander  21.8
 African-American or Black  16.9
 Mexican-American, Chicano, Latino  18.3
 Puerto Rican, Cuban, Other Hispanic  19.0
 Caucasian-American, White  21.7
 Multiracial  20.9
 Other  19.3
 Prefer Not to Respond (3%)  21.8
 No Response (4%)  20.1
 FAMILY INCOME  
 Less than $18,000/year  17.9
 $18,000 - $24,000/year  18.6
 $24,000 - $30,000/year  19.3
 $30,000 - $36,000/year  19.9
 $36,000 - $42,000/year  20.3
 $42,000 - $50,000/year  20.8
 $50,000 - $60,000/year  21.3
 $60,000 - $80,000/year  21.8
 $80,000 - $100,000/year  22.4
 More than $100,000  23.4
 No Response (22%)  20.9
 ALL TEST-TAKERS  20.8

source: ACT, ACT Assessment Results 2003 

 

 

  2003 COLLEGE BOUND SENIORS TEST SCORES: SAT

Approximately 1.41 million test takers, of whom 53.5% were female

   VERBAL  MATH   TOTAL
 GENDER      
 Female  503  503  1006
 Male  512  537  1049
 ETHNICITY      
 Amer. Indian or Alaskan Native  480  482  962
 Asian, Asian Amer. or Pacific Islander  508  575  1083
 African American or Black  431  426  857
 Mexican or Mexican American  448  457  905
 Puerto Rican  456  453  909
 Other Hispanic or Latino  457  464  921
 White  529  534  1063
 Other  501  513  1024
 No Response (25%)  510  525  1035
 FAMILY INCOME      
 Less than $10,000/year  420  444  864
 $10,000 - $20,000/year  437  452  889
 $20,000 - $30,000/year  460  467  927
 $30,000 - $40,000/year  480  484  964
 $40,000 - $50,000/year  495  498  993
 $50,000 - $60,000/year  504  508  1012
 $60,000 - $70,000/year  511  514   1025
 $70,000 - $80,000/year  518  523   1041
 $80,000 - $100,000/year  529  536   1065
 More than $100,000/year  555  568   1123
 No Response (47%)     scores not reported
 ALL TEST-TAKERS  507  519  1026

source: College Board, College-Bound Seniors 2003