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How Universal College Admission Tests Help Low-Income Students

Dave_BerryDave_Berry CC Admissions Expert Posts: 2,193 Senior Member
"There is widespread concern about over-testing in schools. Yet we need all students to take the right tests if low-income and minority children are to have a good shot at a quality college education.

The two standard college admission tests — the SAT and the ACT — could be administered universally and free of charge to students. That would reduce the administrative barriers to applying to college, help identify talented disadvantaged children, and increase the likelihood they will attend a college that matches their skills.

A child born into a high-income family is six times as likely to earn a college degree as one who is poor, research that I have participated in shows. This gap is largely rooted in disparities in achievement that appear as early as preschool. But even for students who perform well in high school, parents’ income strongly predicts whether they will attend and complete college." ...


Replies to: How Universal College Admission Tests Help Low-Income Students

  • mohammadmohd18mohammadmohd18 Registered User Posts: 438 Member
    edited July 17
    The College Board and ACT are private companies. Can't go around nationalizing things with impunity. And there are plenty of fee waivers and help available for these tests already--if the issue is that they're underused, then that's an issue in and of itself. The issue isn't that these tests aren't free.

    And if low-achieving students are skipping the tests, then that's an education issue--education of the sort that makes you realize how important that test could be. Maybe knowledge would be the better word.

    Maybe the Department of Education should make their own series of tests instead (rather than intruding on a private market for that action's supposed benefits).
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 9,265 Senior Member
    @mohammadmohd18 in the article we see that nothing is nationalized but rather certain states have taken on the cost of giving the test to all HS juniors and have gotten good results from doing that.
  • JenJenJenJenJenJenJenJen Registered User Posts: 654 Member
    I don't think any of us would want to see the Department of Education make their own series of tests that students need to take, @mohammadmohd18! :-t
  • msdynamite85msdynamite85 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    The national GCSE and A-Level exams in the UK works very well. University knows exactly what an A in A-Level Physics means whether the kid is from a bog standard comprehensive or an elite private school. It's an easier system than trying to estimate the rigor of the wide disparity of US high schools when evaluating GPA and I have to assume that that benefits disadvantaged kids.
  • Conformist1688Conformist1688 Registered User Posts: 771 Member
    It's not a panacea by any means; better prepared students, with more resources, who are statistically more likely to come from richer families than from deproved ones, do better on any kind of test.
  • hzhao2004hzhao2004 Registered User Posts: 471 Member
    I think the author has demonstrated quite convincingly that state-required and paid SAT/ACT tests help poor kids. You have to go through the hoops to get a fee waiver, which I gather many poor families are not capable of handling it.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 9,265 Senior Member
    @hzhao2004 - just on CC, which is a pretty advanced set of kids college-awareness-wise, we see many post who have no idea fee waivers are even an option, much less how to go about getting them.
  • mohammadmohd18mohammadmohd18 Registered User Posts: 438 Member
    @JenJenJenJen Haha it was meant to be sarcastic. As in, having the USDE create tests would be just as bad of an idea as the government taking over the College Board and ACT.
  • mohammadmohd18mohammadmohd18 Registered User Posts: 438 Member
    @OHMomof2 I meant, the government mandating these tests--a sort of government/private entity partnership--would just waste money. It's easy to say that yes, the government should provide this, and it should provide that, and it should pay for kids to take these tests. Not to sound too libertarian, but it would mean your tax money would go to pay for another person's kid to take a test. From personal experience, I know that a lot of kids didn't really need those mandated tests--they had either already taken them, or planned to study throughout the summer and take them right before school started up. Yes, you obviously will get a lot of poor kids who would have had some difficulty in getting waivers previously, but who now have a chance to take the test(s). But maybe the conversation should be about making the fee waiver process easier, and not investing millions and millions of dollars right off the bat.

    Just my 2 cents (or...6 cents? I've written thrice). The tests will probably end up being mandated regardless.
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