In case there was any doubt




These figures were provided in a presentation by Dr. Andrés Menéndez of the College Board’s Puerto Rico and Latin America Office titled ‘Perfil académico y socioeconómico del estudiante puertorriqueño‘. They represent the mean scores on the reasoning and achievement sections of the College Boards- Puerto Rico’s version of the ACT/SAT- for the 2006 graduating class according to family income. Even with the understanding that a fair number of students don’t have an accurate idea of what kind of money their parents make, this is a pretty depressing depiction of the effect of certain socioeconomic factors on academic performance. Not surprisingly, graphs tracking performance by mother’s education as well as father’s were similar.

By the numbers:

  • Reported annual family income: less than $4,800, 14.3%; $4,801-9,000, 16.6%; $9,001-13,000; 15.3%; $13,001-20,000, 16.9%; $20,001-30,000, 16.0%; $30,001-42,000, 9.0%; $42,001-50,040, 4.6%; more than $50,040, 7.3%. (If you counted a full 63% of students whose families earn less than $20,000/year, your eyes are not lying to you.)
  • 26.9% of mothers and 18.1% of fathers held bachelors degrees; 22.6% of mothers and 18.2% of fathers held associates. The number for masters or higher was the same for both sexes- 6.7%. 25.1% and 32.4% of mothers and fathers, respectively, did not continue education past high school.
  • 73.1% of students were educated in public schools, 24.0% in private.

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.


5 responses »

  1. This seems on point with US data. Basically what I’ve learned in graduate school is that the SAT and ACT are much more positively correlated with SES than with first-year college grades.

  2. i’d like to see numbers on how those scores correlate with high school gpa, and ultimately a breakdown on admittance to 2- and 4-year institutions.

    the finding that there is weaker correlation between test scores and first year grades seems to make sense on its face.. the skills being measured in the classroom and on the these tests are not the same, and grades are assigned according to different criteria- not to mention that, for better or for worse, there’s more subjectivity involved in assigning grades in a course.

    the other question i would ask is, what colleges are we talking about? i work for an open enrollment institution that serves a pretty well-defined population- i have more than a few students from that ‘menos de $4,800’ column in my classes. though we’re all accredited by the same body, our programs are necessarily a bit, er, different than what you would find at the university of puerto rico, which is top-tier here. i guess we could file that under ‘glaringly obvious’, though. don’t mind me.

    babbling aside, i have an actual question- what kind of explanations are put forth for the relationship between ses and act/sat scores? is it as simple as private vs public, and the quality of public schools (which again has something to do with $$)?

    (yay, cindy, it makes me so happy to have somebody to talk to who knows and cares about this shit. =) )

  3. I’ll get back to you. Really.

    This takes a lot of thinking. I might even have to look up stuff in the education journals.

    Damn, you might even kick start my back to school mode.

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