Your Lying Eyes

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08 July 2010

Our Future Elites

High schoolers scoring above 750 on the Math SAT are good candidates to be out in the forefront of newer or at least dominant technologies and driving growth in our "Information Age". On the other hand, we are a race-obsessed society, believing that this elite must - surely must - reflect our wonderful diversity - that this elite should "look like America." Surely, as we all know from watching the most popular shows on T.V. (House, Grey's Anatomy), a large proportion of doctors in elite hospitals - indeed, the more brilliant among them - are African-American. But what can we glean about these future leaders from the published SAT's?

The College Board doesn't publish numbers of students by race at each 50-point scoring cohort -- they only do that for male/female overall (and even now they're only showing results at 100-point cohorts beginning in 2009). But we can estimate how many there should be based on the mean and standard deviation for each group. In the post below, I compared estimated to actual for males/females overall, and the results were right in line. So here are estimates for 2009:

Race Mean Std. Dev. Total Est 750+ Est 800
Asian 587 125 158757 15259 7016
Black 426 97 187136 78 11
Latino 461 106 103937 333 72
Mexican 463 99 79766 149 26
Native Am 501 128 66448 1719 648
Other 514 119 51215 1212 416
Pacific Isl 450 104 22881 45 9
White 536 103 851014 16059 4414

What's immediately notable is that there are nearly as many Asians expected to score at this level as there are whites, despite the great disparity in overall numbers of test takers - and significantly more Asians than whites are expected to score 800. Next you'll note the very low numbers of minorities who can be expected to score at this level. And the math test is pretty straightforward - nothing fancy, just math a high-schooler should know. It's hard to argue that there are any significant numbers of hidden math geniuses who can't score high on the SAT-M. So the prospects of an innovative elite looking like the rest of the country are pretty dim.

NOTE: It's not unlikely that the actual numbers of minorities, particularly blacks, who scored 750+ was significantly higher than these numbers as there is a strong incentive for high-achieving minorities to take the SAT even in non-SAT regions due to the lure of Ivy League affirmative-action admissions.


Blogger Dutch Boy said...

We've been importing Oriental college students and H-1b engineers/scientists for years so this is no surprise. Our lords and masters are not content to foist a foreign lumpenproletariat on us - were getting a new master class in the bargain!

July 12, 2010 12:09 PM  

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