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Most of the disparity between Hispanics' and whites' college-admissions-test scores is due to differences in family income and coursework, according to a new study released this week.

"If we could move [Hispanics] into higher income levels, and get them to take more academic courses, they would achieve equally well," said George A. Chambers, professor of educational administration at the University of Iowa and author of the study. "The problem is, there are not many Hispanics situated in that fashion."

The study, presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of Secon6dary School Principals, compared the American College Testing program scores of 964 pairs of Hispanic-American and white students from 12 states. It selected students from 427 high schools that had at least 10 Hispanics and 10 whites who took the act

Nationwide, the average composite act score for whites was 19.6, compared with an average score of 15.2 for Mexican-Americans and 16.6 for Puerto Rican-Americans. But when whites and Hispanics with the same educational background and family income are compared, nearly two-thirds of that difference disappears, according to Mr. Chambers.

For example, he noted, among students with family incomes over $36,000 who had taken advanced-level mathematics and science classes, whites averaged 23.4 on the test, while Hispanics averaged 21.8.

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