Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2003 Issue »

    Correcting the SAT's Ethnic and Social-Class Bias

    A Method for Reestimating SAT Scores

    Roy O. Freedle
    The SAT has been shown to be both culturally and statistically biased against African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans. In this article, Roy Freedle argues for a corrective scoring method, the Revised-SAT (R-SAT), to address the nonrandom ethnic test bias patterns found in the SAT. The R-SAT, which scores only the "hard" items on the test, is shown to reduce the mean-score difference between African American and White SAT test-takers by one-third. Further, the R-SAT shows an increase in SAT verbal scores by as much as 200 to 300 points for individual minority test-takers. Freedle also argues that low-income White examinees benefit from the revised score as well. He develops several cognitive and cultural hypotheses to explain the ethnic regularities in responses to various test items. Freedle concludes by offering some predictions as to how ethnic populations are likely to be affected by the new designs currently being proposed for the SAT, and describes the implications of the R-SAT for increasing minority admission to select colleges. (pp. 1-43)

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