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, Revised in April 2019
NBER Program(s):Children, Economics of Education, Labor Studies

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24945

 
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