Next Step Full Length 10, Psych/Soc Passage 10

Session 146

This week, we’re joined once again by Clara from Next StepTest Prep and we’re continuing our breakdown of their full-length 10. This is a sociology passage which is very relevant to real life.

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[02:55] Passage 10

Immediately after World War II, millions of Americans took advantage of programs to attend college, which served to boost the social mobility of these individuals. In modern times, college education has instead served to increase the stratification of social classes. One way that this relationship between class stratification and college is perpetuated is that at top-ranked academic colleges, a large majority of students come from families with high levels of income, and a very small percentage come from families with low levels of income.

This disproportional effect occurs for several reasons. First of all, families with additional resources are able to provide outstanding education for their children from a young age, increasing the chances the children will be admitted to selective colleges. This explanation is born out in the “income achievement gap,” a reference to the increasing disparity in test scores between students from families with high incomes compared to those with lower incomes.

To evaluate the effect of socio-economic status on college attendance, researchers evaluated the enrollment decisions of students in the fourth quartile of admissions test scores. They found that in this group, 80% of students who came from families with high income levels went to selective colleges, while 40% of students from families with low income levels went to selective colleges.

Another means by which socio-economic level impacts college admission is through the cost of school. Tuition costs have dramatically increased since World War II, while the percent of student aid covering tuition has continued to decline. The results of this financial disparity is that students with less economic resources enroll at less-selective colleges, which cost less.

College attendance further perpetuates stratification, as those having attended college are much less likely to experience downward social mobility than those who have not attended college. Those who possess a bachelor’s degree make, on average, twice as much money as those with a high school diploma.

[05:44] Question 53

Which of the following would refute the argument that college is partly responsible for increased social stratification since World War II?

  1. High percentages of individuals who didn’t attend college in both high and low economic brackets immediately after World War II
  2. Test scores being strongly correlated with admissions to college
  3. Greater boosts in income level from before completing college to after completing now than after World War II
  4. Greater tuition costs now than after World War II

Clara’s insights:

The correct answer here is A. Test scores may stand out because if you can afford test prep then you’re going to get higher test scores. And that could be responsible for the social stratification as well.

It directly references income achievement gap as this disparity in test scores depending on the income level. So you’re kind of choosing between B and A until you’re left with A.

[09:33] Question 55

Students from low income brackets in selective schools who then fail because they don’t believe they will be as successful as those from higher income brackets exemplify:

  1. Self-serving bias
  2. Stereotype threat
  3. Confirmation bias
  4. Availability heuristic

Clara’s insights:

The correct answer here is B. Although people can mix these choices up all the time.

Stereotype threat refers to when people have this idea of stereotype in their head. Here, they purposefully referenced low-income brackets.

Then they mention these students from low-income brackets don’t believe they’ll be as successful as those of high-income brackets.

So these students have clearly fallen victim to the stereotype. A stereotype threat is often a form of self-fulfilling prophecy. For instance, if you believe that the stereotype says you won’t succeed, then you often won’t succeed as a result. This is a classic stereotype thread.

Self-serving bias is where we tend to think highly of ourselves. Like if you fail at a test, you would blame it on the teacher and it wasn’t your fault. Or you blame it on the room being too cold. But if you do well, then you’d give all the praise to yourself. It’s a bias that tends to serve our own high opinion of ourselves. So believing you’re going to fail is not typically an example of self-serving bias.

Availability heuristic is where we tend to rely more on information that’s more fresh in our mind. It’s very much available because it’s been highly publicized. So that’s the information you drew on first.

[13:22] Question 56

What is an example of a program which aims to improve students from lower income levels’ prospects in college utilizing the concept of looking-glass self?

  1. A program in which students are paired with a mentor throughout college
  2. A program in which students are tutored in subjects traditionally under-represented by those from low incomes
  3. A program in which peers give positive feedback to students throughout college
  4. A program in which students are taught the mannerisms of successful students

Clara’s insights:

The correct answer here is C.

The looking-glass self is our representation of ourselves based on how others view us. In a large part, you perceive yourself as a result of the feedback you get from others. So you’re like looking in the mirror.

None of the other answer choices here are really relevant at all.

[16:40] Next Step Test Prep

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