Family Wealth Plays a Role in the Racial Gap in Test Scores of School Students

It is well known to JBHE readers that there is a direct correlation between family income and success on college entrance examinations such as the SAT and the ACT. Now a new study by researchers at New York University has found an expected correlation between family wealth and standardized test scores of students in K-12 education. Census data shows that white families on average have 10 times the wealth of black families.

The study, published in the March/April edition of the journal Child Development, finds that family wealth had a greater impact on the racial gap in test scores for school-age children than is the case for preschoolers. This leads to the conclusion that families who are able to use their wealth to provide their children with access to cultural activities, travel, tutoring, and other learning experiences are able to increase their advantage over students who do not have such opportunities generated by family wealth.

In sum, wealth enables families to improve their children’s test scores relative to students who do not have the same level of family assets.