Sylus Green is a Gates Millennium Scholar and a the Co-Founder of The 5:30 Scholars. He is the Gandalf for gifted Black kids.

The Academic Boogieman: The Real Monster Holding Your Kids Back On The SAT.

Uncategorized Feb 11, 2023

The SAT is a crucial factor in determining a student's future educational and career opportunities. However, for Black students, the road to a high SAT score can be filled with obstacles and challenges. In this article, we will explore why socioeconomic status, lack of access to quality education, teacher bias, racial stress and trauma, and test anxiety all play a role in Black students' SAT performance.

Socioeconomic Status: Black students are more likely to come from low-income families, which can greatly impact their educational opportunities and preparation for standardized tests like the SAT. Many low-income families cannot afford expensive SAT preparation courses or private tutors, which can give other students an advantage. Additionally, Black students from low-income families are more likely to attend underfunded schools with limited resources, making it difficult for them to receive the education they need to perform well on the SAT.

Lack of Access to Quality Education: In many communities, Black students are more likely to attend underfunded schools that may not have access to the same resources and educational opportunities as more affluent schools. This can result in a lack of exposure to challenging coursework and limited access to advanced placement classes, which can help prepare students for the SAT. Furthermore, underfunded schools often have fewer resources to support student learning, such as inadequate libraries and outdated technology.

Teacher Bias: Implicit biases held by teachers can negatively impact the academic performance of Black students. Research has shown that Black students are often undervalued and not given the same educational opportunities as their white peers. This can lead to lower expectations for Black students, causing teachers to not provide them with the support and resources they need to succeed. In addition, Black students are more likely to be disciplined in school, which can lead to a cycle of disengagement and poor academic performance.

Racial Stress and Trauma: The stress and trauma that Black students face due to systemic racism and prejudice can greatly impact their mental health and academic performance. Black students are more likely to experience racial profiling, microaggressions, and discrimination, which can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress. These negative experiences can affect a student's ability to focus and perform well on standardized tests like the SAT.

Test Anxiety: Standardized tests like the SAT can cause anxiety for some students, and this can be particularly pronounced among Black students who may feel additional pressure to perform well. Test anxiety can result in a loss of focus, difficulty retaining information, and decreased confidence, all of which can negatively impact a student's SAT performance.

In conclusion, the factors that contribute to Black students' poor SAT performance are complex and interconnected. Addressing these challenges will require a comprehensive approach that addresses systemic issues, provides equal educational opportunities, and supports Black students in their academic and personal journeys. The goal should be to create a level playing field for all students, regardless of race, to ensure that everyone has a fair chance to succeed and reach their full potential.

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