SES trumps GPA

September 3, 2009

Sorry for the light posting, folks. I’m on the road for the next month with only intermittent Internet access. I’ll check in when I can but in the meantime, enjoy Flying Whale.

Here are the findings, graph-style, from a Department of Education study tracking college graduation rates. As Nathan points out,

many low-income students who had high math performance still didn’t complete college. The percentage of college completion for low-income, high math students was still lower than high-income, low math students.


I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview last week of some forthcoming research on labelling students academically talented/gifted and–at least in Georgia–the results echo the ones above. Kids’ chances have more to do with their SES status and the quality of their school than, you know, their intellectual ability.

Once you throw race into the mix–it’s almost impossible for a poor African American at a bad school who is academically gifted to be identified as such. If I remember correctly, their chance is something like 1.8%. I’ll post that study here as soon as it becomes available (and edit that number if need be).

Obviously, the solutions that make college graduation more attainable for poor students and the policy and attitudinal changes that would level the nomination and testing process for being identified as academically gifted are quite different. But I’m adding both sets of data to my response arsenal when someone insists we have a merit-based education system.



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