Are the ACT’s & SAT’s unfair to lower income students? It seems so.

The TallTale Writer, Editor

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It’s that time of the year when Juniors are already stressed about two things, SAT’s & ACT’s. If you live in a town like I live in, these tests are optimal for getting into college and the families have the money to do so. But how common is it for families to have this kind of money to spend on their children’s tests? Do wealthier children have an advantage on these tests? It seems so.

In my school, everybody already knows the basics. Get tutors, help from prep books, and take extra classes. All of these tools cost an arm and a leg. For example, thirty hours of group preparation with Princeton Review can cost between $1,000 to $1,600, depending on the size of the class. And this is considered to be on the cheaper side! There are some students who pay for individual tutoring. There is one New York tutor who recently got a lot of attention for charging his customers $1,000 per hour. He charges this amount based on his promise of raising students scores by more than 400 points.

Besides the issue of how much money students are paying for tutoring and prep, there is the underlying issue as to why some children may already be put into disadvantages without the extra help anyway. Affluent students have major advantages when it comes to basic K-12 education. They have better teachers, courses and resources.  Even better yet, there has been an interesting new finding in the national GPA gap. It widened. On a new study done on the grade inflation case, they found that schools attended by wealthier students saw less rigorous grading than many other schools. The study saw that while the median grade point averages increased in both school types between 2005 and 2016, it increased in more affluent schools. In other words, it has become much easier to get a good grade in an affluent school than in lower scale schools near poorer areas.  Such GPA gaps and grade inflation can have a devastating impact on larger education and socioeconomic gaps.  

So, how does this all tie in with the SAT’s and ACT’s? Well, there are finally many reports saying that grade inflation can hurt everybody, but it is like a double-blow to poor students. When poor students grades are inflated, it may cause them to miss out on tutoring services for these tests making the GPA gap wider. Many fear that because of this, many kids will graduate unable to catch up or be lacking the necessary skills for college or a career.