Groups’ Math-Science Attainment Studied

February 15, 1989 1 min read

Research conducted by the Educational Testing Service has found that minority students who had high scores on the mathematics section of the Scholastic Aptitude Test were more likely to continue pursuing science careers than similarly high-scoring white students.

Researchers tracked the progress of more than 6,000 black, Hispanic, and Native American students who scored 550 or above on the mathematics portion of the tests in 1985.

By 1987, the report indicated, 61 percent of those students were still studying mathematics, science, or engineering in college. Only 55 percent of the white students were still pursuing careers in those fields.

Summaries of the study, “Persistence of High-Ability Minority Students in Science,” can be obtained from the National Science Foundation, which initiated the research. The address is: Dr. Ray Hannapel, nsf, 1800 G St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20550.

Math Over English

A new study from the College Board maintains that scores on the mathematics sections of the Scho4lastic Aptitude Test and high-school achievement tests are more useful than verbal-test scores for predicting the college success of Asian-American students.

The authors of the study, Stanley Sue and Jennifer Abe of the University of California at Los Angeles, found that the increased predictive validity of mathematics scores for Asian students was consistent for all academic majors and regardless of whether English was the students’ best language.

The study compared 4,000 Asian-American students with 1,000 white students enrolled at the eight campuses of the University of California system in the fall of 1984.

The findings suggest that “for Asians, any change in admissions criteria that weigh English-verbal performances more heavily is likely to reduce the validity of the prediction equation for them,” the authors said.

Copies of “Predictors of Academic Achievement Among Asian American and White Students,” College Board report 88-11, are available for $6 each from College Board Publications, Box 886, New York, N.Y. 10101-0886.--dv & mw

A version of this article appeared in the February 15, 1989 edition of Education Week as Groups’ Math-Science Attainment Studied