Boys win most science scholarships Test biased, says advocacy group

November 17, 1993|By New York Times News Service

Three-fourths of the college scholarships in a new federal program intended to encourage students to go into mathematics, science or engineering have been awarded to boys, according to a study released today by a research and advocacy group based in Cambridge, Mass.

A total of 352 boys and 84 girls received the scholarship money, which totaled $2.2 million, in the 1993-94 academic year, said the organization, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing.

The $4,000 annual scholarships from the National Academy for Science, Space and Technology were awarded solely on the basis of high school students' performance on a standardized test, the American College Testing Program Assessment.

The fair-testing center maintains that these standardized tests are biased against females and that ignoring other academic measures such as grades further discourages girls from entering the sciences.

On an average, males score 1.2 points higher on a 36-point scale than females on the ACT math section, which was the major determinant for the scholarships.

An official with the sciences academy said that in passing the legislation Congress had mandated that the scholarships be awarded solely on the results of a standardized test.

David Longanecker, an official in the Department of Education, said the Clinton administration had not requested a renewal of financing.

Instead, he said, President Clinton supported an increase in financing for the National Science Scholars program, which has been in existence several years and awards half its scholarships to girls.

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