Indicator 4.9 : Student Performance on College Entrance Examinations

 Figure 4.9. Average SAT scores for college-bound seniors, by race/ethnicity: 2004 NOTE: Test-takers were asked to self-identify a single racial/ethnic group. Scores for both Verbal and Mathematics range from 0 to 800. SOURCE: College Entrance Examination Board, College Bound Seniors Report, 2004.

American Indians/Alaska Natives score lower, on average, than Whites on the SAT and ACT.

The diversity of the student population taking the SAT is increasing. In 2004, minorities represented 37 percent of SAT takers, compared to 31 percent in 1996. The 2004 SAT-taking population was 63 percent White, 12 percent Black, 10 percent Hispanic, 10 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, 1 percent American Indian/Alaska Native, and 4 percent other racial/ethnic groups (appendix table A-4.9).

On average, American Indian/Alaska Native students who elected to take the SAT college entrance exam in 2004 scored below the national average on both the verbal and mathematics sections of the exam. However, they scored higher, on average, than Black and Hispanic college-bound seniors. Between 1996 and 2004, the gap widened between the average verbal scores of American Indians/Alaska Natives and those of the total student population tested. In 1996, American Indian/Alaska Native students scored 22 points below the average verbal scores of all students; this increased to 25 points in 2004. The gap decreased slightly between the average mathematics scores of American Indian/Alaska Native students and those of all students, from 31 points in 1996 to 30 points in 2004. From 2003 to 2004, American Indian/Alaska Native students' average verbal score increased by 3 points and their average mathematics score increased by 6 points. The average scores of all students increased by 1 point in verbal and decreased by 1 point in mathematics during the same time period.

The second most common college entrance examination is the ACT. Although the SAT and ACT measure distinct 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 score in 2004 for American Indian/Alaska Native students was 19.5 for English and 19.9 for mathematics-about the same as Mexican-American (18.3 and 19.4) and Puerto Rican/other Hispanic students (19.1 and 19.9), higher than that for Black students (17.2 and 17.5), and lower than those for White (22.5 and 22.4) and Asian/Pacific Islander students (21.7 and 23.6).

 View Table 4.9a View Table 4.9b