Almost No Blacks at the Top of the ACT Scoring Pyramid

Last week JBHE reported that in 2007 the racial gap in mean scores on the ACT college admission test widened slightly. Most serious, the data shows that there is a gigantic racial gap at the high end of the ACT scoring pyramid.

The nation’s highest-ranked colleges and universities aim to recruit students who score 28 or above on the ACT test, which is scored on a scale of 1 to 36. Nationwide in 2007, only 1,784 black students scored 28 or above on the ACT test. They made up 1.2 percent of all black ACT test takers. In contrast, 103,454 white students scored 28 or above on the ACT test this year. They made up 13.3 percent of all white ACT test takers. Thus, whites were more than 11 times as likely as blacks to score at a level equal to the mean score of students admitted to the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities.

This data is particularly relevant for the state of Michigan where the ACT is the preferred college entrance examination and where race-sensitive admissions have now been banned. The small number of black students scoring at the top of the ACT scoring scale will almost certainly result in a reduction in the number of black students qualifying for admission to the University of Michigan.