Dec 282012

This month, Grant Wiggins wrote an article on the correlation between SES and academic achievement.  There is a strong correlation between SAT scores and the families income and there is not a single data point out of place in the table. Here is the full 2012 report.


Look at the scores climb as the family income climbs. Every educator will tell you this occurs, but as Grant points out, we have no real explanation for why. The number of lurking variables and confounding variables in this discussion is tremendous, and we don’t know how or why or what they are. We do know the correlation is strong, however. [I strongly encourage everyone to read Grant’s article. He has so many supporting links that are all very worthwhile and constructive.]

Which is why I am really annoyed at my local newspaper, the Reno Gazette Journal. They are running a series of articles on the “Smartest Seniors”. Guess what they are using to determine this. Yup, you guessed it, SAT scores.

So where do these seniors come from? 2 private (and very expensive) schools and 3 public schools that are all in the highest of income brackets in the county are the home schools of the 5 featured seniors. And don’t get me wrong, they all are very awesome kids who deserve the write up in the newspaper.

I am just frustrated because I don’t know how to push my learners to this level. What am I doing wrong that I don’t have any of my learners on the local lists? I don’t teach at a high SES school, in fact approximately 40% of my school is on free and reduced lunch. But correlation does not mean causation, and I should be able to get some of my learners in the top.

How? I just feel like I have way more questions than answers right now, and it is frustrating the heck out of me.

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