SAT Scoring: Changing the Way This Test Is Scored Won't Fix a Thing & Here's Why... by Dawn Taylor
We have barely had time to process the gravity of the college admissions scandal, but already there has been an attempt to fix some of the problematic aspects of college admissions tests that put many at a disadvantage. From large monetary donations to secure legacy grants for applicants to bribery and fraud to help the wealthy students attend schools they are not academically prepared for, the playing field has been largely unfair. In order to give students without the wealth advantage a fair shot at admittance, we are now going to see a score that reflects the applicant’s socioeconomic status.
According to CNN, the nonprofit group that administers the SAT said it will assign a score to students who take the test to reflect their social and economic backgrounds.
In my opinion, this will do little to fix the issue. It simply assigns another label to already disadvantaged students. It’s also demeaning. Now a student's SAT score, even if it’s academically superior, might be overshadowed by this other score that highlights their reality. I am a single parent, poor by society’s standards, and I would hate for my kids to be viewed this way coming into college. I have thought about this issue for many years, as I grew up poor and, after divorce, am raising kids alone. Whether kids are born into poverty or come about it through circumstances, they are already stigmatized. What I propose instead as a realistic solution to unfair admissions practices is the following:
- Start early to even the playing field. Elementary education, especially preschool, should be available to all, with subsidized programs for the poor so that kids who come to kindergarten are starting on the same page. Please don’t say taxes shouldn’t pay for this, because those same kids who don’t stand a chance will end up on welfare or in prison if they are not educated and given the same opportunities.
- Free lunches for all. When students are hungry, they cannot learn. Create gardens and programs to feed all of the students healthy foods and take away the shame of being hungry. It stings, believe me.
- Provide education to future educators on all aspects of teaching, not just actual instructional practice. Teach them about racial, socioeconomic and gender inequalities so they are aware of the issues they might face while teaching. Have ongoing workshops and continuing education to address our changing student population.
- Provide both academic and technical trade streams in schools so that kids can learn both textbook material and hands-on skills. I don’t mean the way some schools suddenly in 10th grade offer the chance to get on a bus to go to another school to learn a trade because they are already told they have no chance at college. Have it as part of an overall curriculum and count it the same as any other grade and with the same weight. Don’t single out “those kids,” let them learn among the other students as often as possible. Having those programs in place earlier, and within the overall school structure, might in turn spark more engagement in the academic side of learning.
Adding this new SAT score is not the answer to leveling the educational opportunity playing field.
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