skip to main content skip to footer

A Comparison of Strategies Used by Black and White Students in Solving SAT Verbal Analogies Using a Thinking Aloud Method and a Match Percentage-Correct Design SAT

Freedle, Roy O.; Kostin, Irene W.; Schwartz, Laraine M.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Analogies, Black Students, Comparative Analysis, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Test Taking Behavior, Verbal Ability


Two studies are reported which investigate how Black and White examinees differ in their ability to solve analogy items. The first helps to identify three factors which affect differential ethnic performance on analogy items; the second study carried out a controlled experiment in order to investigate, via a thinking aloud paradigm, how the same three factors influenced the types of strategies that were differentially evoked for two matched groups of Black and White students. In general, both studies provided evidence that item difficulty (the easy/hard dimension) was a significant factor underlying ethnic performance; the evidence showed that Black students perform better than their matched White student counterparts on the hard items and perform less well with respect to the easy items. But for Study 2 no confirming evidence was found that Black students performed less well on items involving science content, contrary to the results found in Study 1. Reasons for such differences across studies are discussed. Over and above ethnic differences, additional analyses in Study 2 uncovered differential strategy use as a function of whether analogy items contained a science or nonscience content. (46pp.)

Read More