SAT Coaching in Unlikely Places: Offering Achievement Test Preparation to Students with Academic and Economic Need

Tracey Cannova, Mary Beth Schaefer*, St. John’s University

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Abstract: After studying the literature on the effects of SAT preparation programs, it was found that students who received coaching had more positive outcomes. No study considered the affective effects among students who received some kind of formal SAT preparation nor did the studies address how to increase access to preparation programs to serve the needs of lower-income populations. The authors of the present study designed and implemented a small-scale SAT program to deliver preparation to an underserved community and measured its impact on students’ achievement scores and attitude towards the SAT. This study confirmed the findings of other studies in that students who were coached exhibited higher achievement scores; additionally, it was found that students who were coached developed a more positive attitude towards the SAT and college.

Introduction The purpose of this study was to analyze the effects of a SAT prep course on a group of students who would not normally seek out coaching due to socio-economic need. After considering the literature on SAT preparation, we developed our own program for SAT preparation and sought out an urban high school with high need and low socio-economic status. We delivered services free of charge to students who otherwise might not have received SAT preparation (due to cost and travel) and analyzed our program’s impact on students’ achievement and attitude towards the SAT. We asked the following questions:

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