Some “interesting” SAT results …

The College Board publishes a “Total Group Profile Report” for  college-bound seniors.

Browsing it, a couple of sets of numbers caught my eye ….

Let’s start with math scores/

Two big takeaways:

(1) The gap between boys and girls narrowed from the 40 point difference in the 1970s to about 25 points … but has remained fairly constant at that level for about the past 20 years

(2) Scores for both boys and girls have been falling for the past dozen years or so.



OK, boys outscore girls in math, but girls do better on the verbal part of the SATs, right?



Answer: nope.

I expected the reverse of the math scores’ chart, but that’s not the case.

Again, 2 takeaways:

(1) Scores for boys and girls have tracked closely together for the past 40 years … with boys consistently edging out the girls.

(2) And again, scores have been falling for the past dozen years or so …. more than giving up the 1995 to 2005 gains



Let’s cut the data another way: by self-identified race.

Most recent verbal SAT scores for Asian and white students are tied at roughly 529.

Hispanics score about 15% below that level … and blacks score about 5% lower than Hispanics.

Technical note: Keep in mind, these scores are for college-bound SAT test-takers – not the broad population of all students, either in aggregate or for each category.




The differences by  self-identified race  are even more pronounced in mathematics.

As expected, Asian students led the pack at 602.

White students score about 12% lower than Asian students.

Hispanic students score about 15% lower than white students … and black students score about 6% lower than Hispanic students.



And, there are some noticeable trends by ethnicity.

While White and Black math scores have stayed relatively flat the past 20 years (i.e. no improvement), math scores for Asians have trended steadily upward … widening the gap against other demographic groups.

The other significant trend is a slow, steady decline in math scores for Hispanics  …. who, at 22% of the total, are an increasing part of the test-taker “mix”.


For the record, here’s the racial composition of recent College-bound SAT Test-takers:



More SAT results coming ….. including a GUARANTEED way to boost SAT scores.



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One Response to “Some “interesting” SAT results …”

  1. Dwight Says:

    Factfulness by Hans Rosling has an interesting section titled “The Gap Instinct” (page 40-41)

    The overlap between men & women when shown as a distribution can change the interpretation of the situation when people are overly focused on two single numbers (average math scores)…

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