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SAT Is a Symptom, Not the Cause

Recently the New York Times put out a study that juxtaposes SAT performance by family income bracket.

No surprise: Higher income students perform remarkably better than lower income students.


The details and the bar charts provide stark numbers. For example, 31% of all students in the top 1% of family income scored at least a 1300 compared to only 2.4% of all students in the bottom 20% income bracket.


Nuts. But, again, not surprising.


Followers of the CROSSWALK blog have read about studies we have cited about how test performance is tied to parental income levels (and education, race and first language). In fact, the whole income tied to performance argument is nothing new.


What perhaps is new from this article is the daunting and seemingly impossible challenge of actually changing this. Per the article, there are a multitude of factors that enable the wealthy to have a consistent upper hand when it comes to higher education access. Achievement gaps are tied to access to early pre-K, school funding and neighborhoods segregated by income brackets. These systemic issues that would take years, if not generations, to solve.


Put simply, SAT scores are not the cause of the problem, they are just a symptom.


Sigh. Perhaps equitable and equal access to higher education is an impossibility.


That said, CROSSWALK continues to do our small part to help all students of all backgrounds find their paths to college. On the test prep side, we offer significant financial aid for our courses and do a lot of pro-bono work. For college admissions, CROSSWALK partnered with Empowered Admissions on several accessible resources like our books GOODFITS: Everyone Can Go To College, BUENFITS: Todos Pueden Ir a La Universidad and the free podcasts in English and in Spanish that accompany the books.


Perhaps trite or clichéd, but an investment in higher education will help us all. A more educated society with more paths to success is exactly what CROSSWALK stands for. The CROSSWALK brand is literally a path like the one a student would take to cross to get to school. We launched in 2023 but there is much more work to be done!


If you need a path to higher education, contact CROSSWALK to see how we can help.



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