Are your student’s poor grades due to boredom, laziness or racism?
SATs: The diversity argument that may improve a student’s grade
“So let me get this straight,” my grandfather said, leaning over his dining room table. “You failed a Minority Studies course — as a minority.”
I shrugged. “Yeah, I know it sounds crazy. It was the closest thing I could find to an African-American History or African-American Literature course at that school. It ended up being just a bunch of random history lessons about non-black people but never discussed their stories. No culture. No social justice. No literature. Just random statistics. Plus I’m bad at standardized tests, and the teacher loved to create pop quizzes.”
“I don’t understand how someone who earned a ‘Most Educated Student’ award could be bad at test taking,” he said.
I nodded. “Me either.” But I was.
My grandfather took so much pride in coming to my eighth grade graduation and hearing the principal’s announcement. I’d won the 1995 “Excellence in Education Award” from State Senator Emil Jones, Jr. My parents were proud of me, but he was beaming. He claimed there was dust in the auditorium as he wiped his eyes, realizing I was the only student who received this award in eighth grade. The same dust appeared when I earned my bachelor’s degree and graduated Cum Laude. Even in grad school, I was determined to maintain a 3.2–3.5 GPA.
But if there was one thing I simply could not conquer, it was bragging about my scores on standardized tests. I was never going to be Dwayne Wayne (of “A Different World”), going around bragging about my “perfect score*” on my Standard Assessment Tests (SATs). If memory serves me correctly, my score was in the 800s. Even on my Advanced College Testing scores, my score was a 20. Clearly I was a student who valued education, but there was no bigger challenge for me than boredom. And standardized tests were painfully dull.