Friday, September 3, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 10

Soccer tourney may tie up UH traffic

UH Crime Report

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Minority test scores stay below average

Average overall scores up in past 10 years

By Jim Parsons
News Editor 

Although the number of minorities who take the Scholastic Aptitude Test has increased during the past decade, average SAT scores have not shown much change, The College Board announced earlier this week.

Similar findings were reported regarding the nation's other major college entrance exam, the American College Testing assessment.

The College Board said Tuesday that the percentage of minorities taking the SAT jumped nearly one-third in the past 10 years. Minorities account for 33 percent of the 2 million students who took the exam in 1999.

But College Board President Gaston Caperton said minorities' scores on the exam dropped or did not change in most cases, and those scores remain below the national average.

"(The SAT) describes what currently exists, and unfortunately what exists is an education system where people of different races and economic backgrounds are not getting the same opportunities," Caperton told the U-Wire news service.

SAT scores among Mexican-Americans and Hispanics showed a decline since 1989, probably because of a significant increase in the number of test-takers among those populations, The College Board said.

The average SAT score in 1999 was 1,016. Mexican-Americans and other Hispanics averaged 100 points lower, and African-Americans averaged a score of 856.

The average score for all students increased 10 points since 1989, but fell one point from 1998 to 1999.

In contrast, ACT officials reported that the test's average score increased to 21.0 from 20.6 over the past 10 years.

Although the percentage of minorities taking the ACT increased by 7 percent in the past decade, the scores for most minorities remained below average. The average score this year for African-Americans was 17.1, and for both Hispanic and American Indian students, it was 18.9.

But the ACT said the numbers show that students are becoming better-prepared for college. "Greater participation by members of groups that historically score below average could lead to declines in the national score if those students were not also improving their performance," the group said in a statement.

The ACT score report for 1999 also showed an interesting trend among college-bound seniors: a declining interest in computer-related fields despite a continuing demand for those jobs.

Only 4 percent of students polled by the organization said they want to enter information technology and computer science, as compared to about 19 percent who reported interest in health sciences and 11 percent in business.

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