NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Take Two! SAT Retaking and College Enrollment Gaps

Joshua Goodman, Oded Gurantz, Jonathan Smith

NBER Working Paper No. 24945
Issued in August 2018
NBER Program(s):Children, Economics of Education, Labor Studies

Data on millions of SAT-takers show only half retake the exam, with even lower retake rates among low income and underrepresented minority students. Scoring below multiples of 100 increases retaking, implying some students have round number target scores. Regression discontinuity evidence finds retaking once improves admissions-relevant SAT scores by 0.3 standard deviations on average. Likely by strengthening college applications, retaking substantially increases four-year college enrollment, particularly for low income and underrepresented minority students. Eliminating disparities in retake rates could close up to 20 percent of the income gap and 10 percent of the racial gap in four-year college enrollment.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24945

 
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