The Racial Scoring Gap on the SAT Writing Test

This is the fifth year of the new SAT writing test. Many of the nation’s highest-ranked colleges and universities do not give much weight to the results of this test because they are skeptical of its predictive power to determine who will do well in college. Also, many test takers have been trained by coaching schools to “hijack” the writing subject assigned by adapting an essay already written before the test by the student or a parent.

Nevertheless, The College Board reports that blacks score lower on the SAT writing test than they do on the mathematics and critical reading sections. But blacks do slightly better on the writing portion of the test in relation to whites than they do on other sections of the SAT. In 2010 the mean score on the writing test for blacks was 420. This is 96 points below the mean score for whites.

The racial gap on the writing test has actually widened by five points from 2006, when the writing portion of the test was first administered by The College Board.