More Black Students Are Taking SAT II Subject Tests, But There Is a Persistent Racial Scoring Gap

In 2008, 291,896 high school seniors nationwide took at least one of the advanced SAT II subject tests. Within this group there were 15,169 black students who took one or more SAT II tests. Therefore, blacks made up only 5.2 percent of all students who took at least one of the SAT subject tests.

Looking at the racial gap another way, we find that in 2008, 8.7 percent of all black students who took the standard or regular SAT also took one or more of the SAT II tests. In contrast, 16.4 percent of the white students who took the SAT I also took one or more SAT II tests. The black percentage of all SAT II test  takers has inched higher in recent years.

However, despite the fact that only the most academically talented students of all races take SAT II subject tests, there is a persistent scoring gap between whites and blacks. Of all the widely taken SAT II tests in 2008, the black-white racial scoring gap of 104 points, or approximately 18 percent, was the greatest on one of the two mathematics tests. There were also large racial gaps on the other mathematics test and the SAT II tests on English literature, biology, American history, and world history.