Race, Poverty and SAT Scores: Modeling the Influences of Family Income on Black and White High School Students’ SAT Performance

Apr. 02, 2013

Source: Teachers College Record, Volume 115 Number 4, 2013

Educational policy makers and test critics often assert that standardized test scores are strongly influenced by factors beyond individual differences in academic achievement such as family income and wealth.

Focus of Study

The research examine the association of family income with SAT performance. 
The study is a secondary analysis of a large national sample of 781,437 Black and White college-bound high school students who took the SAT in 2003 .


Results suggest the effects of family income on SAT scores, though relatively modest in contrasts to high school achievement, are substantial, non-linear, and nearly twice as large for Black students.

Moreover, the unstandardized direct effect of high school achievement on SAT performance is not enough to address the substantial effects of poverty for Black students.

Updated: Feb. 26, 2013