College Board Releases S.A.T. Data on Blacks

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Although it has been collecting data on black students' performance on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (sat) for more than a decade, the College Board has not released the information until this year because officials feared it would "serve to convey a misperception of minority students' ability," according to the organization's president.

The data on minority students were released last week by the organization in its report on the test results and characteristics of students who took the sat in 1980-81. The report, Profiles, College-Bound Seniors, 1981, shows that black students scored far lower than their white classmates on the tests. In a preface to the report, George H. Hanford, the College Board's president, said the decision to change policy and publish the data was made because "we concluded that in such circumstances the College Board, as a matter of principle, should not impose restraints on access to generalized program data because of our own concept of public interest."

"We are convinced," he continued, "that the data, to the clear advantage of minority youth, will serve to illuminate the extent and nature of the educational deficit this nation must overcome."

The report includes information on ethnic, racial, and economic backgrounds of 90 percent of the students who took the college-entrance test.

Black students scored an average of 362 on the mathematics section of the test, 121 points lower than the average of white students.

On the verbal part of the test, which is scored on a scale of 200 to 800, the gap was 110 points, with whites scoring an average of 442 and blacks 332.

The average scores for all students taking the test in 1980-81 were 424 on the verbal section and 466 on the mathematics section. The scores for 1981-82 rose slightly and for the first itme in 19 years. The verbal average rose to 426, while the mathematics average went up one point, to 467.

College Board statements note that family income, cultural background, and education of parents may have a "significant influence" on students' scores.

The newly released report seems to offer evidence of this.

For example, 17.5 percent of the black students who took the test reported that their parents earned less than $6,000 a year. These students averaged 284 on the verbal section of the test. But the average score for the 1.8 percent of black students from families earning more than $50,000 a year was 414.

Conversely, only 2.2 percent of white students said their parents earned less than $6,000. Their average verbal score was 404, compared to 461 for the 12.8 percent from families earning more than $50,000.

Average scores for other groups represented in the report include 391 on the verbal section and 425 on the mathematics section for American Indians; 373 and 415 for Mexican-Americans; 397 and 513 for Asian-Pacific Americans; and 361 and 396 for mainland Puerto Ricans.--tt

Vol. 02, Issue 06

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