SAT scores reveal effect of income inequality

“socioeconomic disadvantages are far more significant in predicting SAT scores for today’s students than racial disadvantages are”

On the math and verbal sections of the SAT, socioeconomic disadvantage imposes a 399-point penalty on low-income students compared with the most advantaged, while being African American imposes a 56-point disadvantage compared with being white.

Quotes above are from “How Much Do You Pay for College” in the Feb. 15, 2013 Review section of The Chronicle of Higher Education.  The article addresses the growing awareness among students of class issues and the rise of organizations like U/Fused to address these issues. The author notes that today’s students “have come of age at a time of growing economic inequality . . . and the gap in spending between wealthy and poor families has tripled since the 1970’s.”

The low SAT scores and poor academic preparation of low-income students is another manifestation of the growing inequality in the U.S.  Cuts in gov’t spending, focus on ‘teaching to the test’ in K-12, need for parents to work 2, 3 or 4 jobs to survive (with less time to nurture children), all combine to produce this poor academic preparation.

Growing Income Inequality

Income of top 1% has grown by 281$ since 1979, but only 16% for bottom 20%

Source of Infographic: Derek Thompson, “Income Inequality Is Not a Myth,” The Atlantic, Oct. 15, 2011.  Online at


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