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Research Round-up: SAT Prep Tools; Diversity in the Workplace; Anti-Semitism is Not Dead on Campus

SAT Tools Used More by Students From Higher-income Families

Professors from The Ohio State University and Emory University presented a new study at the American Sociological Association last week, saying students from higher-income families are more likely to use SAT preparation tools such as classes and tutors. The tools give them an advantage in getting into more selective colleges.

The students who took private tutors and classes averaged scores 60 points higher on their SATs compared to those who didn’t take those classes, according to results from “The Myth of Meritocracy? SAT Preparation, College Enrollment, Class and Race.”

“SAT prep tools have become a tool of advantaged families to ensure that their children stay ahead in the competition for college admissions,” said Dr. Claudia Buchmann, co-author of the study and associate professor of sociology at Ohio State.

Buchmann conducted the study with OSU colleague Dr. Vincent Roscigno and Dr. Dennis Condron of Emory University. They examined data from the National Education Longitudinal Study, which followed the preparation methods of eighth-graders from 1988. About 18 percent took a high school class on SAT preparation, 11 percent took a private class, and 7 percent had a private tutor.

But the authors said prep tool classes are also expensive, with courses from Princeton Review and Kaplan charging more than $800 for their classes.

Results showed that students from lower-income families, and with parents who have less education and lower-level jobs, were less likely to use any form of test preparation.

Buchmann said that while test preparation is not the only reason children from economically advantaged families are more likely to attend college, the prep courses do play an important role.

“The SAT test was supposed to level the playing field and allow people from all social classes to have equal access to college,” she said. “But [the study shows] students from advantaged families still have better opportunities to reach college, and access to test preparation tools is one reason.”

Diversity in Work Place Linked to Improved Business

Racial diversity in a company’s work force greatly improves business revenue and market shares, according to a University of Illinois at Chicago study presented last week at the American Sociological Association in Montreal.

In “Does Diversity Pay?: Racial Composition of Firms and the Business Case for Diversity,” Dr. Cedric Herring, a UIC professor of sociology, analyzed data from a national sample of firms and found that businesses with a racially diverse roster reported higher sales, more customers, larger market shares and greater profits compared to firms with a more homogeneous makeup.

“These results suggest that not only is having a diverse work force a good and socially responsible thing for companies to do, but in addition, organizations that broaden their pool of qualified workers also reap material economic benefits from doing so,” Herring said.

The findings also noted that average sales revenues of organizations with low racial diversity were approximately $3.1 million, compared with $3.9 million for those with medium diversity and $5.7 million for those with high diversity.

Anti-Semitism Still Exists on Campuses


The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has released a Campus Anti-Semitism report detailing the continuing incidents of anti-Semitism on many college campuses throughout the country.

The 76-page report was originally issued to the public on April 3 and concludes that anti-Semitism on American campuses today “is a serious problem which warrants further attention.”

The report found that anti-Semitic bigotry is no less morally deplorable when camouflaged as anti-Israelism or anti-Zionism. It also noted that many Middle Eastern studies departments provide one-sided, highly polemical academic presentations, and some may repress legitimate debate concerning Israel. According to the report, many students do not know what rights and protections they have against anti-Semitic behavior.

Based on the findings, the organization recommended that all academic departments, including departments of Middle Eastern studies, maintain academic standards, respect intellectual diversity and ensure that the rights of all students are fully protected.

Evidence presented in the report was gathered from oral presentations by a panel of experts at a hearing last year, as well as written submissions to the commission by organizations, academic institutions and other interested parties.

The full report is available online at

Diverse staff reports


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