A Small Decrease This Year, But the Racial Gap in SAT Scores Remains Huge

collegeboard-thumbIn 2013, 210,115 African-American high school seniors took the SAT college entrance examination. They represented 12.7 percent of all SAT test takers in the Class of 2013. After decades of steady growth, the number of African American SAT test takers is down in recent years.

The mean score for Blacks on the combined critical reading and mathematical portions of the SAT was 860. This was a four-point increase from a year ago.

The mean score for Whites on the reading and mathematics sections of the SAT was 1061, 201 points higher than the mean score for Blacks. The racial gap on the critical reading and mathematics section of the test declined slightly this year. However, the long-term trend in the racial scoring gap on the SAT is not encouraging. Since 1988, the racial gap on the reading and mathematics sections of the SAT has increased from 189 points to 201 points.

The racial gap also persists on the SAT writing test, which has been part of the examination since 2006. This year the mean score for Blacks was 418, 97 points below the mean score for Whites.


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  1. With the advent of No Child Left Behind to Race to the Top, what do you think are the greatest contributing factors to widening of the achievement gap between African Americans and White Americans?

      • I’m not even sure family income explains the gap since there is data that shows White/Asians from low income families score just as high as Blacks from high income families.

        • In 2020 this view is racist. Yet the data is consistent. What is the answer when facts are treated as “scientific racism”? That view will not help struggling african americans.

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