Score higher on the SATs … GUARANTEED!

Just make sure that your parents went to college.


The College Board publishes a “Total Group Profile Report” on college-bound seniors …

One set of numbers caught my eye:

SAT scores by the student’s parents level of educational attainment.


Note that about 2/3’s of the college-bound seniors taking the SAT came from homes with a degreed parent – either associate, bachelor or graduate.

Only about 1/3 came from homes with parents having only a high school education or less.

And, the performance differentials are substantial between the groups …


The performance differentials are illustrated on the chart below:


Scaling off the high marks earned by students whose parents hold graduate degrees:

Students whose parents didn’t finish high school score about 15% below average and about 25% lower than students whose parents hold graduate degrees.

Students whose parents finished high school but didn’t earn a college degree, score about 10% below average and about 20% lower than students whose parents hold graduate degrees.


Bottom line:

(1) Disproportionately few students whose parents are non-degreed even take the SAT.

(2) And, those who do, have a big scoring gap against students coming from degreed homes.

Why is that?

Explanations range from DNA to family resources (for better schools and test prep) and parental study help – either help with the material or motivation & discipline.

But, the latter – motivation & discipline – doesn’t require a high level of education attainment … it just needs parents who value education – whether they have it or not.


Case in point: ME !

My dad dropped out of school in the 8th grade to work on the family dairy farm.

My mom was yanked from school in the 6th grade to housekeep for her 6 siblings and single-parent father.

Both parents survived the Depression.

That experience cemented their belief that education matters.

The value of education was a dominating core value in my family.

Teachers weren’t to be questioned and grades were expected to be high.


Did it work?

My math SAT was over 750 … defying the above chart.

I guess my parents didn’t need to be educated to be smart …



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