Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

SAT Minority Achievement Gap Persists

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

SAT Minority Achievement Gap Persists

Article excerpt

More minorities than ever take standardized test


Despite the persistence of a scoring gap between White/Asian American students and underrepresented minorities, the largest and most racially and ethnically diverse group of SAT-tested high school graduates are entering college this fall, according to the College Board.

In its annual survey of college-bound SAT-tested high school seniors, the Princeton, N.J.-based College Board organization is reporting that among the 1.3 million first-time freshmen, who took the SAT this past school year, more than a third are minority, or 34 percent. Among all the SAT-tested students, nearly 364,000 are first-generation college students.

"The large number of students who are from minority groups is very heartening. It's also encouraging that so many of them are first-generation college attendees," says College Board President Gaston Caperton, who presented the survey results at an August news conference at the National Press Club in Washington.

Test results show that the national average SAT verbal score among the college-bound students increased by a single point to 506, the highest mark in a decade. On the moth portion of the SAT, the national average held at 514 from the previous year, yet still the highest score in three decades.

Among African American students, the average SAT verbal score was 433, a decline of one point from last year, and the average math score hit 426, a figure even with the previous year mark yet seven points higher than the 1991 average. The 2001 SAT verbal average score of 433 among African Americans is six points higher than the 1991 average. Among White students, the average verbal score went up one point from last year to 529, an increase of 11 points from 1991. The average SAT math score among White students increased by a single point from last year to 531, reflecting a jump of 18 points from the 1991 average.

The proportion of Black college-bound students taking the SAT increased from 10 percent of all SAT-tested high school seniors in 1991 to 11 percent in 2001. The percentage of Asian American/Pacific Islanders taking the SAT in 1991 was 8 percent; in 2001, Asian American/Pacific Islanders accounted for 10 percent of all high school senior SAT test takers. White students taking the SAT as college-bound high school seniors fell from 72 percent of the total in 1.991 to 66 percent in 2001.

College Board officials said that while there's encouraging news about the increases in minority student SAT test-taking and performance, they acknowledged that an "opportunity" gap is reflected by the scores of Whites and Asian Americans and those of Black, Latino, and American Indian students. …

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