Director of Admission
Choate Rosemary Hall, CT
Member of AISAP Board of Directors
Someone told me my blog articles make too much sense and generally folks agree with them so there’s little chance I’m going to stimulate much discussion. With that, I’m not just titling this article to be controversial…I’d like to float a thought for reaction. I use the terms wealthy vs. poor but realize better terminology might be advantaged vs. disadvantaged (that’s another blog article!)
The other day a girl from a wealthy town and a private school was saying how she took the SSAT 4 times and had to achieve a 90% or above to feel like she would be competitive at the schools to which she was applying. I thought that was interesting (and perhaps true) because I often hear admission officers juxtapose wealthy vs. poor kids in the following way when it comes to testing:
If a wealthy child (presumably with college educated parents, a household with books on the shelves, and surrounded by other smart kids and in a good school system with access to test prep and guidance) “should” (is supposed to) have strong test scores, how can they possible “win” (be seen as smart and a sufficiently competitive applicant to selective schools) if they don’t?
If a poor child has weak test scores…there are good reasons to discount those (at least I have heard many times and seen this as truth in outcomes) and look to other factors for success indicators. If a poor child has strong test score well then usually there is little doubt they are authentically smart, right?
So when a parent from a wealthy background walks into my office and says their child has strong grades, weak test scores but did no prep and that they do not believe in multiple test taking and test prep companies…how might one look at that case?
Therefore I ask, are standardized tests hurting wealthy kids?