This section explores the performance of California's high school seniors
on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The SAT provides colleges a common
measure of student aptitude for college-that is, the test is designed to
forecast student success in higher education.
As with the NAEP, a number of factors influence student SAT scores. For
example, the percentage of students in each state who take the test varies
significantly. As the percentage of the senior class taking the test increases,
SAT scores usually decline somewhat as more lower-performing students choose
to take the test.
SAT tests have been accused of being biased-that questions assume certain
cultural information that not all students possess. The tests have been
changed over the years in response to this concern. In the absence of other
data sources, we believe that scores still provide important information
about the capabilities of college bound students.
As the next three figures indicate, California seniors do relatively
well on the SAT. The overall scores. however, mask quite different student
performance when scores are examined along racial or ethnic fines.
Unfortunately, the data do not Permit investigation into factors other
than race and ethnicity, such as poverty.