The achievement gap: Should we rely on SAT scores to tell us anything about it?


  • Dale Whittington Shaker Heights (OH) City School District



Increasing numbers of students taking the SAT have declined to identify their race/ethnicity. I examined the impact of non-respondents on the validity of reported racial/ethnic differences and year-to-year changes in test performance. Using an analysis reported by Wainer (1988) and SAT data from 1996 to 2003, I confirmed Wainer’s findings that non-respondents prevent accurate estimations of group differences based on SAT data. I then explored the impact of College Board press release information on news reports about the achievement gap. I found frequent reports of racial/ethnic differences in SAT scores and year-to-year changes in scores but negligible consideration of non-respondents. Press releases and media reports should include information about non-respondents and their impact on accuracy of reported differences based on race/ethnicity.


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Author Biography

Dale Whittington, Shaker Heights (OH) City School District

Dale Whittington is Director of Research and Evaluation in the Shaker Heights (Ohio) City School District. In addition to managing the district's testing program, she conducts a variety of studies on the schools, students, and programs. She was previously Associate Professor in the Department of Education and Allied Studies at John Carroll University, where she taught courses on research methods, testing and educational psychology.




How to Cite

Whittington, D. (2004). The achievement gap: Should we rely on SAT scores to tell us anything about it?. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 12, 12.