After Prop. 209, the number of under-represented minority students increased in other UC campuses and their performance improved dramatically.“When Proposition 209 went into effect, it is true, the number of under-represented minority students at UC-Berkeley decreased significantly. But those students didn’t just disappear. Most were accepted at other campuses of the prestigious UC system — based on their own academic records rather than their skin color. On several UC campuses, their numbers increased. More importantly, their performance improved dramatically.
Data from UC-San Diego (one of the more elite UC campuses) illustrate what happened. In the year immediately prior to Proposition 209’s implementation, only one African American student in the entire freshman class was an honor student. Following implementation, a full 20% of African American freshmen were. That was higher than the rate for Asian Americans (16%) and extremely close to the rate for whites in the same year (22%). Even more impressive, the number of under-represented minority students in academic jeopardy collapsed.” (
Among top scorers—those scoring between a 750 and 800—60 percent are Asian and 33 percent are white, compared to 5 percent Latino and 2 percent black.The answer in both cases is the same, and can be best summarized in this quote taken from a report released in 2017 by the Brookings Institution:
“Race gaps on the SATs are especially pronounced at the tails of the distribution. In a perfectly equal distribution, the racial breakdown of scores at every point in the distribution would mirror the composition of test-takers as whole i.e. 51 percent white, 21 percent Latino, 14 percent black, and 14 percent Asian. But in fact, among top scorers—those scoring between a 750 and 800—60 percent are Asian and 33 percent are white, compared to 5 percent Latino and 2 percent black. Meanwhile, among those scoring between 300 and 350, 37 percent are Latino, 35 percent are black, 21 percent are white, and 6 percent are Asian.” (Prop. 16 is Real Racism to Combat Perceived Racism, California Policy Ceter, Aug. 26, 2020)
Race Gaps in Math SAT Scores – 2015
These are not subtle differences. Most striking is the disparity occurring at the extremes of the distribution. It is those whose abilities fall within these gifted extremes who, overwhelmingly, become the inventors and researchers whose breakthroughs ensure American technological preeminence and benefit the world. Note how nearly 15 percent of all Asians were able to score over 750 on their math SAT. (Prop. 16 is Real Racism to Combat Perceived Racism, California Policy Ceter, Aug. 26, 2020)