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ERIC Number: EJ919014
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 9
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7732
Learning in the Shadows and in the Light of Day: A Commentary on "Shadow Education, American Style: Test Preparation, the SAT and College Enrollment"
Grodsky, Eric
Social Forces, v89 n2 p475-481 Dec 2010
Buchmann, Condron and Roscigno argue in their article, "Shadow Education, American Style: Test Preparation, the SAT and College Enrollment," that the activities in which students engage to prepare for college entrance exams are forms of shadow education, a means by which more advantaged parents seek to pass their privileged status along to their children. By providing their children with shadow education, advantaged parents help them achieve higher scores than they otherwise would have achieved and further increase the differences between the exam scores of more advantaged and less advantaged children. In this commentary, the author focuses on the main contribution of BCR's article: the application of the concept of shadow education to SAT and ACT test preparation. He argues that BCR's conception of shadow education is flawed in two important ways. First, some of the activities they consider as "shadow education" are not shadowy at all; they are widely available free of charge to most students. The only true forms of shadow education here are private test preparation courses and private tutors. Second, the way they operationalize the concept of shadow education makes it impossible to discern the extent to which these true forms of shadow education contribute to student test scores or postsecondary destinations. The author offers an alternative interpretation of BCR's results. He suggests that shadow education in preparation for college entrance exams is a relatively ineffective means of improving test scores but nonetheless quite important in terms of its psychic benefits. (Contains 5 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: ACT Assessment; SAT (College Admission Test)