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Can We Accurately Assess Changes in Minority Performance on the SAT? SAT SDQ

Wainer, Howard
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Minority Groups, SAT, Scores, Student Characteristics, Student Descriptive Questionnaire (SDQ), Test Interpretation


The performance of minority examinees on the SAT is carefully monitored by the national educational media. Changes of 10 or 15 points over a five year period are interpreted as having a significant and important relationship to the educational process. A crucial assumption underlying the validity of this inference is that the performance of an examinee is unrelated to that examinee choosing to identify his or her ethnicity. In this paper we show that this assumption is false and that the potential errors introduced by it dwarf the changes being interpreted as real. (17pp.)

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