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Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008

NCES 2008-084
September 2008

Student Performance on College Entrance Examinations


In 2007, American Indian/Alaska Native college-bound seniors scored lower, on average, than Whites on the SAT and ACT.

Figure 4.9. Average SAT scores for college-bound seniors, by race/ethnicity: 2007
Average SAT scores for college-bound seniors, by race/ethnicity: 2007
NOTE: Data are for seniors who took the SAT any time during their high school years through March of their senior year. If a student took a test more than once, the most recent score was used. The SAT was formerly known as the Scholastic Assessment Test and the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Possible scores on each part of the SAT range from 200 to 800. The critical reading section was formerly known as the verbal section. The writing section was introduced in March 2005, however, the first aggregate data on the writing section was reported in 2006.
SOURCE: College Entrance Examination Board, College-Bound Seniors: Total Group Profile [National] Report, 2006–07, retrieved August 28, 2007, from http://www.collegeboard.com/about/news_info/cbsenior/yr2007/reports.html

On average, American Indian/Alaska Native college-bound seniors who elected to take the SAT college entrance exam in 2007 scored below the national average on the critical reading, mathematics, and writing sections of the exam. However, they scored higher than Black and Hispanic college-bound seniors.

In 1997, American Indian/Alaska Native students scored 30 points below the average critical reading score of all students; this gap decreased to 15 points in 2007. The gap between the average mathematics scores of American Indian/Alaska Native students and the score of all students, decreased from 36 points in 1997 to 21 points in 2007. Beginning in 2006, the SAT results included scores for a writing component in addition to the critical reading and mathematics components. From 2006 to 2007, American Indian/ Alaska Native students' average critical reading and mathematics scores stayed the same, while the average of all students decreased by 1 point in critical reading and by 3 points in mathematics. The average writing score of American Indian/Alaska Native students decreased by 1 point between 2006 and 2007, while the average of all students decreased by 3 points.

The second most common college entrance examination is the ACT. Although the SAT and ACT measure different constructs, scores on the two tests are highly related. Composite scores below 19 on the ACT indicate minimal readiness for college, and students receiving such scores are likely to need additional precollege classes (ACT Program 2002). The average ACT score in 2007 for American Indian/ Alaska Native students was 17.9 for English and 18.7 for mathematics—about the same as the scores for Hispanic students (17.6 and 19.0), higher than the scores for Black students (16.1 and 17.0), and lower than the scores for White (21.8 and 21.7) and Asian/ Pacific Islander students (21.7 and 23.6).

View Table View Table 4.9a View Table View Table 4.9b

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