How Does the Socioeconomic Class of Individuals Affect SAT Score?

            The Scholastic Aptitude Test is an exam created by the College Board and administered nationwide and is used as a requirement for college admission in most colleges and universities. Applicants can compare schools and districts using average scores. The test can be retaken several times if the scores are not satisfactory. Therefore, the level of educational achievement is an important factor that may influence SAT scores. Culture, socioeconomic status, and psychology are other factors that may also affect an individual’s SAT score. In this article we shall see How Does the Socioeconomic Class of Individuals Affect SAT Score?

Wealthy students who can take the SAT repeatedly are more likely to attain higher scores than their counterparts from low-income homes. Retaking the SAT has also been shown to increase a student’s score. Since the cost for retaking is high, students from low-income families who fail the test the first time cannot retake it. Students who reside in wealthy school districts mostly attend schools with better funding. This invariably means these students will be given an advantage when applying for college and taking standardized tests. Schools with better funding can also AP classes which have been shown to improve a student’s SAT scores when the test is eventually taken.

How Does the Socioeconomic Class of Individuals Affect SAT Score?

Other Factors That May Influence SAT Scores

            Asides socioeconomic status of a student, other factors affect a student’s SAT scores. Some of these factors include:

a.         Achievement levels: Factors that have to do with the institution the student attends and how the student is instructed may have a major impact on a student’s SAT scores. Schools that regularly achieve excellent SAT scores and have a low ratio of teacher to students, would typically have emerging students perform better on SAT. This is because the way the knowledge was impacted on those who previously did well is the same as it would be impacted on those who are about to take the test or it might even be modified to give better results. Also, schools with low student-to-teacher ratios usually have better SAT scores posted by the students because there more attention is focused on a few students. The students most likely benefit from the aggressive educational climate and curriculum that enables them to develop skills and strategies to successfully scale the SAT.

b.         Culture: Ethnicity, culture, and race cannot be neglected as some of the reasons why there is a gulf in test scores among students. Gaps have been documented between Asians and whites and even more specifically between whites and African Americans. Though the exact reasons why this disparity exists have not been pinpointed, attitude to the test, low expectations for a particular race or ethnicity, and culturally-based questions have all been suspected to be influential in determining the SAT score of students from specific ethnicities.

c.         Psychological factors: The development of a test-taker’s psychology and their attributes can also impact SAT scores. Developmental factors associated with psychology such as long-term memory, capacity to assimilate and integrate new information, a recognition of the value of knowledge and learning, and personality factors such as motivation, efficiency, and academic focus are some factors that may positively or negatively affect SAT scores.

d.         Incentives: Various educational incentives can assist one in achieving a high SAT score. However, some or all of these factors are cost-intensive and so only favor wealthy families who can afford these incentives. AP classes are usually not offered by all schools, except those with good funding. These same schools are quite expensive but AP classes have been seen as a deciding factor in high SAT scores among students. Wealthy students can also afford private tutors or attend schools that have these tutors. This is an advantage as the close environment in which the tutor and students operate is essential for success on not just SAT but in academics generally.

e.         Extra time: This has been pointed out as a factor that might also edge wealthier students over their counterparts from low-income families. The Wall Street Journal analyzed data from over 8,500 public schools and discovered that students who schooled in affluent areas were given special designations such as those afforded to students with ADHD or anxiety. These designations allowed for special accommodations such as private space or extra time when taking any exam. This is undoubtedly advantageous to those who are afforded this opportunity.


            Despite the disparity in the performance of various students in standardized tests such as SAT, there is still a school of thought that holds that standardized tests are the most effective measures schools can use to assess the achievement and potential of students. Standardized tests are thought to level the field for both low-income applicants and their wealthy counterparts. It is thought that making these tests optional for any group of people might make the benefits useless.

Frequently Asked Questions

a.         Can I cancel my SAT scores? Yes. If you decide to cancel your scores after finishing the test, you should call the attention of the test supervisor to request a “Request to Cancel Test Scores” form. The completed form can be submitted immediately at the test center or it can be thought on for one or two days and mailed.

b.         Are SAT scores that important? The importance of SAT scores is not uniform and varies widely among schools. Other factors such as high-grade point averages, recommendation letters, interviews, your academic transcript, and personal essays are also considered by colleges when deciding for admissions. Another standardized test, the ACT can also be considered when SAT scores are neither available nor good enough.

c.         What question appears in the new Math section of the SAT? The revision of SAT done in 2016 has led to a section of math where calculators are not needed. This section makes up about a third of your total math score. The four sections that appear in the now-revised math section are problem-solving/data analysis, additional math, algebra, and additional topics.

d.         When do I register for SAT? Registration deadlines for SAT usually fall around five weeks before the test date.