"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, April 10, 2009

The College Board's Win-Win: For Themselves and the Privileged

For the coached and the coddled, the importance of socioeconomic advantage just got more so. The new SAT rules that just went into play will allow the College Board to collect millions more on the repeated tests as those who can afford to sit for them and then sort their best score to send to the Ivy League. (Of course, the real Ivy Leaguers have legacy privileges that make such scrambling unnecessary, as documented in Karabel's The Chosen). From WaPo:

Legions of high school students equipped with No. 2 pencils have done battle with the SAT, but a new policy is easing the stress for college-bound teenagers. If they take the test more than once, they can send their favorite set of scores with applications and ignore the rest.

Before the policy took effect last month, students had no option: All their SAT scores were reported when they applied to college.

The first time Gabby Ubilla took the test, she said, she fared well on the verbal section but was dissatisfied with her math score. The College Board's "score choice" policy will allow her to push the reset button with most colleges. "Now that I know what I need to study and what's on the test, I can study different types of math questions" without worrying about the old score, said Ubilla, 16, an 11th-grader at Dominion High School in Sterling.

But critics say score choice encourages students to take the test as many times as they want without consequence, giving an unfair edge to the wealthy and injecting an additional level of strategy into an admissions process that can already feel like a cabalistic ritual. Some question whether the change was made simply to compete with the ACT, the other major admissions test, which has been gaining market share in recent years and has had a de facto score-choice policy. A quarter of more than 700 colleges tracked on the SAT Web site are asking students to send all their scores regardless.. . . .

So what unfair advantage of the wealthy are you talking about?

SAT Scores 2002 from the College Board

Family Income Verbal/Math Scores

Less than $10,000/year-----417/442
$10,000 - $20,000/year-----435/453
$20,000 - $30,000/year-----461/470
$30,000 - $40,000/year-----480/485
$40,000 - $50,000/year-----496/501
$50,000 - $60,000/year-----505/509
$60,000 - $70,000/year-----511/516
$70,000 - $80,000/year-----517/524
$80,000 - $100,000/year----530/538
More than $100,000/year---555/568

1 comment:

  1. The correlation between income and sat scores was so strong for so many years. I just looked for the same numbers for this year ...


    Can't find them.

    Maybe it's coincidence, maybe I just can't find them. I found the male-female breakdowns and the racial breakdowns and the breakdowns of repeat test takers. All easily gotten. All easily dismissed because they show no real trends.

    The one metric that shows a trend is either no longer recorded or simply hidden better.

    I am going to keep looking.