The Large and Expanding Racial Scoring Gap on the Graduate Management Admission Test

Students seeking admission to graduate schools of business are in most cases required to take the Graduate Management Admission Test. In 2005, 8,448 African Americans took the GMAT test. They made up 7.9 percent of all GMAT test takers that year.

The mean black score on the GMAT was 425. (The test is scored on the familiar 200 to 800 scale used for each section of the SAT test.) For whites, the mean GMAT score was 532. This is 107 points or 18 percent higher than the mean score for blacks.

The racial scoring gap on the GMAT test has increased in recent years. In 2003 the scoring gap was 101 points. The next year the gap increased to 104 points. And now the gap has increased further to 107 points.

The average GMAT score for admitted students at the nation's leading business schools is over 700. Perhaps only 1 or 2 percent of all black GMAT test takers score at this level. Therefore, without continuing affirmative action admissions programs at Harvard, Penn, Stanford, Northwestern, MIT, and other top MBA programs, the nation’s leading business schools will have very few black students.

The latest JBHE survey shows that blacks make up about 5 percent of the students at the nation's leading business schools. If affirmative action admissions programs were to be discontinued, black enrollments at these schools might drop by 75 percent.

Copyright © 2006. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.