Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Laura Bertonazzi

Second Advisor

Ian Menchini

Third Advisor

Jerry Wallace


Established test score qualifications are experienced by low socioeconomic status (LES) students as a large impediment to college admission. The problem this transcendental phenomenological qualitative study explored was that the established SAT assessment methods and strategies used for secondary students are inundated with data relevant to only students who are in a high socioeconomic demographic. The purpose of this study was to explore the examined perceptions of guidance counselors working in urban school districts within Michigan LES communities regarding barriers and challenges created for students by the SAT and its relationship to college admissions. Purposeful sampling was used with semi-structured interviews to examine the topic. Two research questions were addressed: (a) What are the perceptions of secondary education guidance counselors from LES urban school districts regarding the SAT? and (b) How does a sample of secondary education guidance counselors describe barriers and challenges in the college admission process regarding the SAT for LES students? The data from all participant interviews were coded with NVivo to create eight themes with the manual coding using Saldaña’s method. The first finding was that secondary school counselors generally think that low SAT accessibility for LES students affects their scores. The second finding was guidance counselors mainly believe that socioeconomic disparities affect the SAT scores of LES students affecting college admissions. The results may be of use to the College Board, urban school districts, LES school administrators, and parents of LES students.


Ed.D. Dissertation

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