The Racial Scoring Gap on the SAT College Entrance Examination

The College Board has released its annual report on the scores of graduating high school seniors in the Class of 2018 on the SAT college entrance examination. African Americans made up 12 percent of the 2,136,539 test takers in the Class of 2018.

Two years ago The College Board “redesigned” the SAT and therefore it claims that current scores cannot be compared to those from the past. Scores on the redesigned test are significantly higher than those from previous years.

The SAT is scored on a scale of 200 to 800 points. This year African Americans had a mean score of 483 on the reading test. This was 83 points lower than the mean score for Whites. On the mathematics section, African Americans scored an average of 463. This was 94 points lower than the mean score for Whites. Thus, on the combined test, Blacks had a mean score of 946 and Whites had a mean score of 1123. The combined average score for African Americans was the lowest of any racial or ethnic group. Although the redesigned SAT shows higher overall scores, the racial gap remains about the same.

The results showed that only 21 percent of African American test takers met the college and career readiness benchmark for both reading and mathematics. Nearly 60 percent of Whites met the readiness benchmarks in both reading and mathematics. Nearly half of all Black test takers did not meet the minimum benchmark in either reading or mathematics. For Whites the figure was 16 percent.

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