Charges of sexual bias in a $2.2 million federally funded undergraduate scholarship program have kindled debate among science educators and others about the use--and misuse--of standardized tests in gauging the abilities of future scientists. The scholarships were awarded solely on the basis of such a test.

According to a report by the National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest) in Cambridge, Mass., male high school students won 75 percent of the 471 college scholarships awarded in 1993, the first year of the National Academy for Science, Space, and Technology (NASST) program in the United States Department of Education. This was so even though young women earn higher grades in science and math than young men in both high school and college, FairTest says.

The reason more men than women won, FairTest says, is that the award relied on scores earned on the math portion of the American College Testing...

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