Clara Nevins
May 14, 2017

Education and socioeconomic class


I heard a fascinating story of the power of data the other day--my friend took a class at Stanford where the teacher was discussing his research on education and socioeconomic class. Apparently raw intelligence is best tested when a student is in 3rd grade. A group of students of all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds were given a standardized test (with no preparation) when they were in 3rd grade. Then they were tested again in 11th grade and students of high socioeconomic classes (also known as the ones who were able to afford tutoring) scored exponentially higher than the kids without tutoring despite the fact that many of them started out roughly at the same place when they were tested in third grade. I though this study was incredibly interesting and a case in point that our education system needs to change.

Rachna Shah
May 22, 2017

This is a really important point that you bring up! Many people view education as the key to societal mobility, but even education isn't something that presents the opportunity of equality even at the level of elementary school. Socioeconomic status does affect one's education and future employment prospects. To reduce the gap that is created later, we must start making changes earlier. How would you recommend reforming/modifying the current education system, in the US as well as in other countries?

Morgan Harron
Jul 13, 2017

I believe one of the most important aspects in reforming our current education system is more easily accessible pre-K programs. Learning at a younger age is proven to help narrow achievement gaps and promote literacy comprehension by the 3rd grade benchmark. There are so many studies about the benefits and I wish more states would implement the idea. Another important way to modify our current education system is to find ways to lessen the "digital divide", or in other words help provide access to the internet and technology to students who may not have it at home. Now that so many teachers use the internet to assign homework, imagine the disadvantage students with no internet now face if they aren't even confident they can access the work. Internet access would also allow students to take advantage of free resources like Khan Academy, or released practice tests that may better their chances in relation to standardized testing.


I think that also brings up an important point when it comes to the college admissions process. There is an interesting op-ed in the New York Times ( that discusses how success in prepping for the SAT often comes down to one's socioeconomic status. I think it supports the idea that our education system is failing students even with certain supports in place like fee waivers. With standardized testing being such a vital part of a college application, I think it is frustrating to realize the advantage that certain students have due simply to their families income.




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