The Sat: Generalized for Minority Population?

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The SAT: Generalized for Minority populations?

Rebecca Mickle

University of Hawaii at Manoa


Colleges and universities take into consideration a number of factors when determining student admissions and eligibility. One such measure is the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Widely thought to be a reliable predictor of student success at the college level, the SAT has been a vital component of college admissions for nearly a century (Lawrence, 2003). While the SAT has long been presumed a generalized test, evidence indicates that cultural and test biases may play a role in the performance scores of certain minority test takers (Cablas, 1991; Wainer, et al., 1993). This presents some problem since the SAT is supposed to provide an “even playing field” for all prospective college freshmen. This paper argues the position that, while the SAT has been a relatively capable predictor of college success, it does appear flawed in important ways, leaving some doubt as to just how generalized it truly is for minorities. It is proposed that amendments be made to the current SAT in order to account for these potential biases.


Though certainly not exhaustive, this review considers research in support of, as well as in opposition to, the generalization of the SAT. Furthermore, the material and studies reviewed and cited within the current paper are largely peer reviewed and scholarly. This should ensure some degree of quality and reliability of the data. Finally, although several studies have been conducted that support the generalization of the SAT (Camara et al., 2000), studies providing counter-evidence should not be discarded, since the populations of interest do in fact appear to be different in real, measurable, and significant ways that are otherwise unaccounted for by the current SAT (Cablas, 1991).


The SAT has undergone a number of revisions throughout its lifetime...