National Merit semifinalist formula ensures geographic diversity

02/6/2004 | USA Today

Because PSAT cutoff scores are based on the percentage of graduating seniors in each state, the qualifying bar for semifinalists can vary widely. According to a study of semifinalists in 2001, if a uniform cutoff score had been used nationwide, New York's number of semifinalists would have gone up by 423, while some other states, including Indiana and Ohio, each would have lost more than 100 semifinalists.

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