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Back to Oct. Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 225 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS OCTOBER 2004

New SAT May Not Boost Minority Scores After All
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The new SAT test to be administered by the College Board to college-bound students beginning in March 2005 may not have much impact on the "race gap" between white and Asian students, on the one hand, and black and Hispanic students, on the other hand, according to college admissions directors and the College Board.

Pressured by the University of California system, the College Board announced changes two years ago to address criticisms that the critical-reasoning focus of the old SAT disadvantaged low-income and minority students. The changes included dropping analogies in the verbal section, adding Algebra II questions to the math section, and adding a writing exam. The hope was that making the test more like an achievement test of classroom learning would enhance the scores of minority students.

However, fewer than a third of black students take the more-advanced math courses that would help with the new test, as compared with about half of whites and almost two-thirds of Asian-Americans. Moreover, it is not clear that schools will be able to prepare minority students adequately for the writing test.

The SAT score gap between whites and African-Americans averages 202 points out of a possible 1200 points. Between whites and Hispanics, the gap is 133 points. (Wall Street Journal, 9-1-04)

One wonders, then, why the College Board was forced to go through the exercise of redesigning the tests. The new writing section will include a 25-minute handwritten essay which, in addition to being very expensive to grade and impossible to evaluate in a uniform, objective manner nationwide, may penalize students with sloppy penmanship and/or politically incorrect views.


 
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