Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

Aptitude vs. Academic Knowledge:

December 30th, 2007 by Ajuan Mance

The following piece from the most recent edition of the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education raises some interesting questions about the relationship between race and so-called aptitude testing, versus race and subject-based testing. I plan to revisit this issue in a future post, but for now, I’d like to share with you the newsbrief as it appeared on the JBHE website. I’ve highlighted what I felt were the most provocative portions of the essay in bold type. 

“Black-White Score Differences on Particular SAT II Subject Tests”

–From the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, December 28, 2007

SAT II subject tests are largely used by students who are applying to the nation’s selective colleges and universities. This past year showed a modest increase in the number of blacks taking these tests. Although the increased number of black students taking the tests is a good sign, there remains a large and growing racial scoring gap.

Of all the widely taken SAT II tests in 2007, the black-white racial scoring gap of 108 points, or approximately 18 percent, was the greatest on the world history test. There were also large racial gaps on both mathematics tests, English literature, and American history tests.

College-bound black students generally fared well in comparison with the scores of white students on foreign-language examinations. The black-white scoring gap was only 36 points on the Latin test and 37 points on the French test. On the Chinese test, black students actually scored 77 points higher on average than whites. But only 19 blacks and 97 whites took the test, making racial score comparisons statistically insignificant. The 19 black students who took the Chinese SAT II test had a remarkable mean score of 734. Blacks also had a higher mean score than whites on the Korean language test, but only six African-American students took the test in 2007.

Posted by Ajuan Mance

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Posted in aptitude, race, SAT, SAT II

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