# Group Differences in Standardized Testing and Social Stratification

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1 College Board Report No Group Differences in Standardized Testing and Social Stratification WAYNE J. CAMARA and AMY ELIZABETH SCHMIDT College Entrance Examination Board, New York, 1999

5 TABLE 1 Group Means (and Standardized Differences 1 ) on Tests by Ethnicity and Race ACT ACT GRE MCAT7 MCAT MCAT SAT 2 SAT ACT ACT Mathe- ACT Science GRE4 Quantita- GRE GMAT 5 Verbal Physical Biological Group Verbal Math Composite 3 English matics Reading Reasoning Verbal tive Analytical Total LSAT 6 Reasoning Sciences Sciences African American 434 (.83) 426 (.92) 17.1 (.98) 16.4 (.89) 16.9 (.88) 17.2 (.82) 17.3 (.98) 391 (.96) 416 (.98) 423 (1.11) 416 (1.03) (1.14) 6.0 (.96) 6.1 (.96) 6.1 (1.08) Asian American 498 (.25) 526 (.02) 21.8 (-.02) 20.5 (.13) 23.4 (-.39) 21.3 (.13) 21.6 (.04) 487 (.07) 598 (-.46) 557 (.06) 533 (-.02) (.08) 7.6 (.29) 8.9 (-.21) 8.8 (-.04) Hispanic (.63) 460 (.61) 18.9 (.60) 17.9 (.61) 19.0 (.47) 19.1 (.5) 19.1 (.59) 438 (.53) 482 (.46) 485 (.62) 492 (.35) (.88) 5.9 (1.00) 6.3 (.88) 6.4 (.96) White Standardized Differences are computed between whites and each additional subgroup. The focal group mean (each subgroup) is subtracted from the reference group mean (whites) and divided by the standard deviation of the population. Standardized differences between subgroups are reported as a ratio of the test s overall standard deviation. The most recent published data on subgroup performance was used to construct the table. 2 College Board (1998) SAT I verbal and SAT I math range from 200 to 800 with a standard deviation of 111 to ACT (1998) Composite includes reading, math, science, and English tests, and ranges from 1 to 36 with a standard deviation of 4.7 in Each of the four subscales also ranges from 1 to 36 with the following standard deviations in : English (5.4), Math (5.1), Reading (6), and Science (4.6). 4 Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) (1998) Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical tests range from 200 to 800 with standard deviations of 108 (Verbal) and 127 (Quantitative and Analytical) for Educational Testing Service (1998). 5 Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) (1998) Total score mean is comprised of verbal and quantitative tests and ranges from 200 to 800 with a standard deviation of 112 for Educational Testing Service (1998). 6 Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores range from 120 to 160, and the standard deviation is not available for this group. LSAT scores reported are for all students applying to law school in The standard deviation across all LSAT tests administered in 1998 was Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) Verbal Reasoning, Physical Sciences, and Biological Sciences scales range from 1 to 15 with a standard deviation of 2.4 in For the SAT I, GRE, and GMAT, Hispanic is a weighted average of mean scores for three separate categories of groups: Mexican American/Chicano, Puerto Rican, and Other Hispanic or Latin American. For ACT it is a weighted average of Mexican American/Latino and Cuban/Puerto Rican/Other Hispanic. For LSAT it is a weighted average of Mexican American/Chicano, Hispanic, and Puerto Rican. For MCAT it is a weighted average of Mexican American/Chicano, Puerto Rican Mainland, and Puerto Rican Commonwealth.

12 TABLE 10 High School GPA and Rank by Parental Education 1 Some High School Some College Some Graduate/ High School Graduate College Graduate Degree GPA Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % A average 9, , , , , B average 18, , , , , C average 6, , , , , Below C average , Total 35, , , , ,356 SAT I V Mean SAT I M Mean Some High School Some College Some Graduate/ High School Graduate College Graduate Degree HS Rank Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % 90th 4, , , , , th 6, , , , , th 8, , , , , Below 60th 10, , , , , Total 30, , , , ,756 SAT I V Mean SAT I M Mean College-Bound Seniors. TABLE 11 High School GPA and Rank by Parental Income 1 Combined Parental Income Less than More than \$20,000 \$20 \$35,000 \$35 \$60,000 \$60 \$100,000 \$100,000 GPA Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % A average 34, , , , , B average 58, , , , , C average 20, , , , , Below C average Total 114, , , , ,685 SAT I V Mean SAT I M Mean Combined Parental Income Less than More than \$20,000 \$20 \$35,000 \$35 \$60,000 \$60 \$100,000 \$100,000 Rank Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % 90th 17, , , , , th 22, , , , , th 27, , , , , Below 60th 33, , , , , Total 101, , , ,987 95,753 SAT I V Mean SAT I M Mean College-Bound Seniors. 9

13 60 50 Percent A B C or below 0 <20k 20-35k 35-60k k >100k Family Income Figure 1. Income by high school grade-point average. Self-reported family income by high school average grades, 1997 College-Bound Seniors Percent A B C or below 0 <HS HS Graduate Some College College Graduate Some Grad. School Highest Parental Education Figure 2. Parental education by high school grade-point average. Self-reported highest level of parental education by high school average grades, 1997 College-Bound Seniors. 10

14 SAT I Verbal 300 African American Asian American Hispanic White < HS HS Some College College Degree Some Grad./Degree Parental Education Figure 3. Mean SAT I verbal score for ethnic and racial groups by parental education SAT I Mathematical African American Asian American Hispanic White < HS HS Some College College Degree Some Grad./Degree Parental Education Figure 4. Mean SAT I math score for ethnic and racial groups by parental education. 11

15 Percent African American Asian American Hispanic White th < HS 80th 60th < 60th 90th HS 80th 60th <60th 90th Some College 80th 60th <60th 90th College Grad 80th 60th < 60th 90th Some Grad/Degree 80th 60th <60th Parental Education Figure 5. High school rank for ethnic and racial groups by parental education Percent 30 African American Asian American Hispanic White A < HS B C or <C A HS B C or <C A Some College B C or <C A College Grad B C or <C A Some Grad/Degree B C or <C Parental Education Figure 6. Mean high school grades for ethnic and racial groups by parental education. 12

18 Neil, D.M., & Medina, N.J. (1989). Standardized testing: Harmful to educational health. Phi Delta Kappan, 70, Oliver, M.L., & Shapiro, T.M. (1995). Black wealth/white wealth: A new perspective on racial inequity. New York: Routledge. Ramist, L., Lewis, C., & McCamley-Jenkins, L. (1993). Student group differences in predicting college grades: sex, language and ethnic groups. College Board Report No New York: College Board. Reese, C.M., Miller, K.E., Mazzeo, J., & Dossey, J.A. (1997). NAEP 1996 Mathematics Report Card for the Nation and States: Findings from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Washington, DC: National Center for Educational Statistics. Sacks, P. (1997). Standardized testing: Meritocracy s crooked yardstick. Change, pp Schmidt, A.E. (1999). Explaining racial and ethnic differences in large scale assessments. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Montreal, Canada. Shavelson, R., Solano-Flores, G., & Ruiz-Primo, M. (1997). Toward a Science Performance Assessment Technology. Evaluation and Program Planning, 21 (2), Stewart, D.S. (June 22, 1999). Standardized testing and social stratification. Invited Address at the Macalester College Forum on Higher Education, St. Paul, MN. Strumpf, H., & Stanley, J. (1998). Stability and change in gender-related differences on the College Board Advanced Placement and Achievement Tests. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 7 (6), U.S. Department of Commerce (1997). Educational attainment in the United States. Current Population Reports, P- 20 Series. Washington, DC: Bureau of Census. U.S. Department of Education (1992). National Educational Longitudinal Survey of 1988: Follow-Up of Preliminary Results. U.S. Department of Education: Washington, DC: National Center for Educational Statistics. U.S. Department of Education (1994). National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988: Third Follow-Up. U.S. Department of Education: Washington, DC: National Center for Educational Statistics. Widaman, K.F. (February 5, 1998). Utility of SAT scores for the admissions process at the University of California. Testimony before the California State Senate Select Subcommittee on Higher Education Admissions and Outreach. 15

19 Appendix TABLE A1 Mean Grade and Percentage of Examinations Graded 3 or Higher on Selected and Total AP Examinations 1 in 1996 by Ethnicity and Race U.S. English Calculus ALL Exam History Biology Literature AB Exams Subgroup Mean % 3 + Mean % 3 + Mean % 3 + Mean % 3 + Mean % 3 + African American Asian American Hispanic White AP Examinations are graded on a 1 to 5 scale. All data are based on total examinations, not individual students. TABLE A Percentage of College-Bound Senior Years of Science by Ethnicity and Race and Highest Parental Education 1 African American Asian American Hispanic White 2 years 4 years 2 years 4 years 2 years 4 years 2 years 4 years or less or more or less or more or less or more or less or more Some High School High School Grad Some College College Graduate Some Graduate School Total N / % 2 15,418 (17%) 35,167 (39%) 2,345 (3%) 45,317 (57%) 15,154 (20%) 29,773 (40%) 75,332 (12%) 328,263 (51%) 1 1,127,021 of college-bound seniors completed the SAT I. Of these, 920,709 (82 percent) provided information on parental education, race or ethnicity, and years of science. The percentage of students completing three years of science courses can be approximated by subtracting those completing two years or less of science and four years or more of science from Percent of total of all students within each ethnic and racial group completing that level of science coursework, across all levels of parental education. TABLE A Percentage of College-Bound Senior Years of Math by Ethnicity and Race and Highest Parental Education 1 African American Asian American Hispanic White 2 years 4 years 2 years 4 years 2 years 4 years 2 years 4 years or less or more or less or more or less or more or less or more Some High School High School Grad Some College College Graduate Some Graduate School Total N / % 2 3,511 (1%) 57,803 (63%) 2,139 (1%) 62,562 (78%) 2,656 (1%) 50,052 (65%) 18,526 (1%) 451,087 (70%) 1 1,127,021 college-bound seniors completed the SAT I. Of these, 930,462 (83 percent) provided information on parental education, race or ethnicity, and years of math. The percentage of students completing three years of math courses can be approximated by subtracting those completing two years or less of math and four years or more of math from Percent of total of all students within each ethnic and racial group completing that level of math coursework, across all levels of parental education. 16

20 TABLE A4 Curriculum Rigor and Intensity, Test Scores, and High School Grade-Point Average or Rank by Ethnicity and Race, African American Asian American Hispanic White Total Total 45.1% 86.9% 60.8% 75.4% 72.1% (3.14) (2.79) (7.27) (1.16) (1.07) Curriculum: Highest 40% and math beyond Algebra 2. (4.98) (3.47) (7.34) (1.44) (1.33) Test Scores: Highest 40% (3.66) (1.90) (8.38) (1.17) (1.09) Class Rank/GPA: Highest 40% of Combined Variable (4.56) (2.95) (7.44) (1.26) (1.19) Notes: (1) Universe for total consists of all on-time high school graduates who entered four-year colleges directly from high school, and whose college transcript files are not incomplete (Weighted N=859 K); the universe for the three component groups adds high school records with positive values for all three components (Weighted N=805 K). (2) Standard errors are in parentheses. SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics: High School and Beyond/Sophomore cohort, NCES CD# (Adapted from Adelman, 1999, p. 85.) SAT I Verbal 300 African American Asian American Hispanic White <\$20,000 \$20-35,000 \$35-\$60,000 \$60-100,000 >\$100,000 Family Income Figure A1. Mean SAT I verbal score for ethnic and racial groups by family income. 17

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