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Minority Participation in SAT Posts Record Increase
College-bound seniors taking the SAT in 2009 were the most diverse group on record, but mean scores for African American test takers still fall behind other ethnicities, according to a new report from the College Board.
Of the more than 1.5 million students taking the test, 40% were minority and 12% were African American, the College Board announced Tuesday. An additional 12,753 black students took the test in 2009 compared to 2008, and SAT participation by blacks increased by almost 57% since 1999. Nevertheless, in the three areas that are tested by the SAT–critical reading, mathematics and writing–black students scored lower than all other ethnicities.
“We are tremendously encouraged by the increasing diversity of participation in the SAT,” said Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board, which administers the standardized test used for college admission. “As the equity gap narrows, more than ever, the SAT reflects the diversity of students in our nation’s classrooms.”
This year test takers on average scored average of 501 in critical reading, 515 in mathematics and 493 in writing. Comparatively, black students scored an average of 429, 426, and 421 respectively, with black males scoring higher than black females in mathematics, but lower in the other categories.
Students who had taken the most demanding honors or Advanced Placement courses had higher SAT scores on this year’s test. Twenty-two percent of black students who took the SAT also took an AP/Honors Science course.
“Data bear out the necessity for schools to renew efforts to provide the strongest core curriculum possible, including writing instruction, and to improve access to courses like AP that give students such advantages on the SAT and later in college,” Caperton says.
–Marcia A. Wade