SAT scores among the high school graduating class of 2014 revealed a persistent racial gap, according to the College Board’s annual report, released Oct. 13.
On average, African-American students had a combined score of 1278, which was 298 points below the average combined score for Whites, the data showed. With three sections, in which test-takers can score up to 800 points each, the best possible total score is 2400.
The disparity was also present in each of those three portions of the test, with the largest gap existing in mathematics. Blacks had an average score of 429, which was significantly less than the average score for Whites of 534.
On the reading section of the test, the average score for Blacks was 431, compared to 529 for Whites.
And in writing, Blacks had an average score of 418, while Whites scored an average of 513.
While offering possible insight for K-12 educators, the data also had serious implications for the college and career readiness of the graduates. The College Board developed the SAT benchmark to “help college and secondary school administrators, educators, and policymakers identify students who are likely to be ready to take college-entry, credit-bearing courses in college and not need remediation.”
According to the Board, an SAT score of 1550 is associated with a 65 percent probability of obtaining a first-year GPA of B- or higher at a four-year college. Those who achieve that standard are also more likely to enroll in a four-year college—78 percent who achieve it enroll in such a school, compared to only 46 percent of those who did not. Also, they are more likely to complete their degree on time—54 percent earned a bachelor’s degree within four years, compared to only 27 percent of those who did not meet the benchmark.
In the class of 2014, only 42.6 percent of SAT takers scored 1550 and above—a rate that has remained virtually unchanged over the years. And, not unexpectedly, the lag was especially acute among underrepresented minority students. According to the data, a mere 15.8 percent of African-American, 23.4 percent of Hispanic and 33.5 percent of Native American SAT takers met the benchmark.
This year, 1,672,395 students took the SAT exam, of which nearly half—793,986 or 47.5 percent—were minority students, an increase from 2013.