Base score on the SAT test




"Master the SAT, 2008", Peterson's, ISBN number 13-978-0-7689-2485-5

An ARCO book, pg. 705.

horizontal rule


The SAT consists of one essay question which can be scored only by subjective means, opening it up to controversy about whether or not it's valid or accurate.  The most objective part of the test are the 225 five part multiple choice questions which attempt to measure the probability of a student succeeding in college or graduate school.  About 1/4th of these questions can be answered strictly from rote memorization.  For simplicity we include the results of the essay question in this part of the test.  The other 3/4ths require some form of reasoning or calculation which can be measured objectively.

The base score of 200 is assigned when a student signs their name.  Of the 600 points between 200 and 800, another 150 points can be gained by knowing the subjects but not exhibiting any reasoning or critical thinking skills, for a total score thus far of 350.  If a person were to just guess on the balance of the five part multiple choice questions, he would on average get 20% of them correct just by chance, for another 90 points and a total score of 440.

This score of 440 is conservative.  In TIMSS physics, which is scored similarly and which has questions of equal validity and depth, the score of 474 for American girls represents a score for students who would have performed better if they'd just guessed on this part of the test.

So a score of 440, and possibly a score as high as 474, is not indicative of any reasoning or critical thinking skills at all.  These skills are measured only between 440-474 and 800, with many Asian students (more than 10% of them) scoring higher than 800.  This makes SAT a bad IQ test, particularly when American blacks consistently score lower than this, or 431 in both SAT Verbal and SAT Math, 391 in GRE Verbal, and 416 in GRE Quantitative.

While the College Board provides the standard deviation for black students in both SAT and GRE, scores this low cannot be expected to follow a normal Gaussian Distribution.  For the average to be 431, there can't be too many students who score higher than this, because it's almost impossible to score lower than this, so their estimate that the standard deviation, say for black women who took GRE Verbal, is 88, is the most optimistic estimate.