Yet another reason why tests are stacked against low-income kids. Test prep courses and tutors are all the rage among upper middle class families eager to get their kids into a good middle school. Guess what happens when low-income kids, already facing innumerable other challenges, can’t afford this extra prep? Well, they probably spend their days at school entirely on test prep, being alienated from learning and deprived of fun and meaning and/ or perform poorly on tests. Then their teachers are put on probation and their schools lose funding. Meanwhile test and policy makers can justify how developmentally inappropriate the tests are because higher income kids get tutors and score well . ( 4rth grade reading passages on the 3rd grade test anyone?) Sounds fair right?
How is a system that is inherently unequal supposed to “close the achievement gap”? Even without tutoring, test scores correlate to income level, which makes high stakes testing inherently discriminatory. Maybe if low income schools could spend more time and money on providing a rich and relevant curriculum, community building and outreach, support and resources for teachers, and meaningful learning experiences for their students we could actually do something to mitigate the increasing segregation and inequality in our schools. Not to mention that what all kids should be doing on Saturdays is playing and getting outside, not filling in multiple choice questions.