Saturday, February 4, 2017
Race gaps on the SATs are especially pronounced at the tails of the distribution.among top scorers — those scoring between a 750 and 800 — 60% are Asian and 33% are white, compared to 5% Latino and 2% black
Meanwhile, among those scoring between 300 and 350, 37% are Latino, 35% are black, 21% are white, and 6% are Asian. There are some limitations to the data which may mean that, if anything, the race gap is being understated. The ceiling on the SAT score may, for example, understate Asian achievement. A standardized test with a wider range of scores, the LSAT, offers some evidence on this front. An analysis of the 2013-2014 LSAT finds an average black score of 142 compared to an average white score of 153. This amounts to a black-white achievement gap of 1.06 standard deviations, even higher than that on the SAT. A 2015 research paper from the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley shows that between 1994 and 2011, race has grown more important than class in predicting SAT scores for UC applicants. While it is difficult to extrapolate from such findings to the broader population of SAT test-takers, it is unlikely that the racial achievement gap can be explained away by class differences across race.