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Standardized Tests: Are they equal for all?

Standardized tests are a large part of the college application process for students. As colleges become more selective, the need for a top score on the ACT or SAT is much greater than it once was. In order to compete, many students are preparing for these exams with the help of a private tutor. The majority of these students come from privileged backgrounds and can afford tutoring.

Early last year, the College Board announced that it would be modifying the SAT test by removing the timed essay and focusing less on the vocabulary. Their data shows that family income and education correlates to scores on the exam. According to an article written in the Washington Post, “students from families earning more than $200,000 a year average a combined score of 1,714 while students from families earning under $20,000 a year average a combined score of 1,326.” (The maximum score on the SAT is 2400) Additionally, the article states, “A student with a parent with a graduate degree, for example, on average scores 300 points higher on their SATs compared to a student with a parent with only a high school degree.”

These statistics are just another indication of the educational inequity in this country. Success on standardized tests shouldn’t be dependent on a student’s ability to hire a tutor. Instead, it should be dependent on the students’ ability to demonstrate their knowledge. It is encouraging to see that the College Board is doing something about this disparity. Hopefully, these modifications will start leveling the playing field for standardized tests.


–Drew Marquardt


  1. Kerry
    February 17, 2016

    Obviously a students socioeconomic status will affect how they do in school. School is prioritized in more well off areas. Standardized tests shouldn’t be the only way in which colleges choose to accept students however I think it should serve as a basis. There are more ways to prepare other than hiring a tutor and there are students who do well on these tests even if they are from poorer neighborhoods.

  2. Brittany
    February 20, 2016

    I believe that every student should have an equal opportunity to prepare for these standardized exams. Right now they are not equal and fair to all because there are some students that get all of the top educational benefits and others that do not like Drew says. Although the test are not fair we do need something to individualize students for college admissions, however with this said we need to find something that is going to be fair to everyone. We need to place preparation courses into the high schools, and even middle schools, so that every student regardless of the families financial state will have the same odds of every other students.

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