Want to know how many Californians take the SAT?
The College Board reports that every year with precision. The number of students in the class of 2014 from the Golden State who took the college admission test: 236,923. Growth compared to the previous class: 2,156.
The same is available for every state , as well as Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Want to know how many Chinese take the SAT?
The College Board has released no public data on that. Nor has it specified the number of test takers from South Korea or South Africa or Sweden or any other foreign country.
That is likely to change soon.
On Friday, College Board spokesman Zachary Goldberg wrote in an e-mail: “Historically we have released domestic data on SAT participation, but based on growing interest we plan to release international data in the coming months. As with all our data, we want to ensure we are providing consistent and accurate information.”
Goldberg confirmed that meant the College Board plans to disclose per-country usage numbers. The College Board, a nonprofit organization based in New York, owns the SAT.
ACT, a nonprofit organization based in Iowa, declined Friday to provide a count of how many students from China or other foreign countries take the rival ACT college admission test. “Sorry to frustrate you,” ACT spokesman Ed Colby wrote. He said the ACT considers the data “proprietary information.” But he said that 60 percent of international ACT usage is in Asia.
Detail on international test-taking is relevant for multiple reasons.
First, the globalization of higher education means that ever more students from abroad have ambitions and realistic hopes of going to college in the United States. Knowing exactly where admission tests are taken, and by exactly how many students, would be a key metric in tracking this phenomenon and would yield very interesting information about education patterns in specific countries and regions.
Second, this week’s revelation of cheating allegations involving Chinese and South Koreans who took the SAT on Oct. 11 spotlights the growth of testing in that part of the world and how test security is maintained there. Knowing how many Chinese or South Koreans take the SAT (and where they take it) would provide important context for that story. (Worth noting: Chinese generally must leave the mainland to take the test, going to Hong Kong or elsewhere.)
Here’s what is known about international test usage from previous College Board reports: The total number of students in the Class of 2014 who took the SAT was 1,672,395. The total from the United States, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, was 1,535,049.
So the total not from the United States was 137,346.
A significant fraction of that total were undoubtedly Chinese or South Korean because those two countries are the top annual suppliers of foreign undergraduates in U.S. colleges.
Soon, it appears, we will learn more about just how many Chinese and Koreans — and others from foreign countries — take the SAT.