Take Two! SAT Retaking and College Enrollment Gaps
Only half of SAT-takers retake the exam, with even lower retake rates among low income and underrepresented minority (URM) students. We exploit discontinuous jumps in retake probabilities at multiples of 100, driven by left-digit bias, to estimate retaking’s causal effects. Retaking substantially improves SAT scores and increases four-year college enrollment rates, particularly for low income and URM students. Eliminating disparities in retake rates could close up to 10 percent of the income-based gap and up to seven percent of the race-based gap in four-year college enrollment rates of high school graduates.
These views do not reflect those of the College Board or the National Bureau of Economic Research. We are grateful for helpful feedback from John Friedman and three anonymous referees, as well as seminar participants at Brandeis, Columbia, Duke, the Federal Reserve, Harvard, Montana State University, Purdue, University of Connecticut, University of Maryland, University of Memphis, and West Point. We also thank the College Board for sharing data and Melanie Rucinski for providing excellent research assistance.
Joshua Goodman & Oded Gurantz & Jonathan Smith, 2020. "Take Two! SAT Retaking and College Enrollment Gaps," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, vol 12(2), pages 115-158. citation courtesy of