Long time readers know I’ve been interested in the question of school test scores in the two biggest states, California and Texas. In the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress scores, Texas routinely beats California across all racial groups. But the NAEP is low stakes to students, which makes it easier for state officials to manipulate results at the margins.
However, looking at an unverified table of high-stakes SAT and ACT college admission average test scores for 2014, white, Hispanic, and black California high schoolers outscore their counterparts in Texas (using a weighted average of SAT and ACT scores). But Texas’s Asians outscore California’s Asians.
|Race||CA||CA SAT/ACT||TX||TX SAT/ACT||CA-TX|
Both states are moderately majority SAT: in California, SAT takers outnumber ACT takers 2.1 to 1, and in Texas 1.5 to 1. This appears to be putting everything on the traditional 400 to 1600 scale, rather than the 600 to 2400 scale of the last decade, but that is being phased out soon. The mean was rescaled in 1995 to, ideally, be 1000 with a standard deviation of 200, although both have drifted since then.
So, California’s overall average is 97 points, or a little under a half of a standard deviation below it’s white average, while Texas’s overall average is 96 points below it’s white average.
I’m not going to put too much credence in these numbers: even if the data are valid (which I haven’t checked), my weighted average methodology is crude. On the other hand, the results don’t seem too implausible.
I mostly want to put some numbers out there to provoke somebody interested in this long-running problem of how to synthesize SAT and ACT scores reliably to try to come up with a more sophisticated general model.