The evidence suggests that [the advantages of well-off students] advantages cause a very small part of the gaps. Consider that other measures of learning — like the NAEP, a test that elementary and middle school students take nationwide — show similarly large racial and economic gaps. The federal government describes the NAEP as “the nation’s report card,” while education researchers consider it a rigorous measure of K-12 learning. And even though students do not take NAEP test prep classes, its demographic gaps look remarkably similar to those of the ACT and SAT. This similarity “is another piece of evidence that the SAT is picking up fundamentals,” said Raj Chetty, a Harvard economics professor who conducted the recent Ivy Plus study with Friedman and David Deming. “It strengthens the argument that the disparities in SAT scores are a symptom, not a cause, of inequality in the U.S.,” Chetty said.
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