The Chronicle

By Leah Boyd

August 14, 2020

Griffin added that some students may not be able to afford to take the SAT or ACT. With the essay component—which Duke recommends, but does not require—the SAT costs $64.50, and the ACT costs $62.50.

High SAT and ACT scores are often achieved by multiple attempts at taking the test, which is not financially realistic for students from low-income backgrounds, said Erica Phillips, an educational equity and policy specialist at Duke’s Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity.

Phillips noted that students who receive high scores often use academic coaches or take classes to prepare for the exams, which low-income students often cannot afford.

“There’s definitely barriers in terms of just knowing the strategies of how to take [the tests] and then having the ability to take them over and over again,” she said.

Griffin emphasized that the inequities associated with standardized testing are class-based and not a race issue, pointing out that there are “many students of color who are middle class or of higher [socioeconomic status] and do well.”