Very Few African Americans Sit for the SAT II Tests

Each year nearly 1.5 million high school students take the basic Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT). A much smaller group also sit for the more rigorous SAT II subject examinations.

In 2006, 279,428 high school seniors nationwide took at least one SAT II subject test. Within this group there were 13,398 black students who took one or more SAT II tests. Therefore, blacks made up only 4.8 percent of all students who took at least one of the SAT subject tests. Looking at the racial gap another way, we find that only 8.0 percent of all black students who took the standard or regular SAT also took one or more of the SAT II tests. In contrast, 15.2 percent of the white students who took the SAT I also took one or more SAT II tests. Therefore, college-bound black students are about one half as likely as white students to take the SAT II subject tests.

The racial shortfall is explained in large part by the fact that many of the colleges and universities to which the vast majority of black students apply do not require SAT II tests. Generally, only the nation’s most selective colleges and universities require applicants to submit scores on SAT II tests. Most public universities and historically black colleges do not require the SAT II test.