The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

SAT Private Tutoring Should be Banned

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/27/2013 Category: Education
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,808 times Debate No: 41315
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




Like the title of this debate states, SAT private tutoring should be banned. It gives the rich an unfair advantage in the college application process and essentially in life. The SATs are supposed to be a measure of pure intellectual strength. By offering private tutors, it is not longer a measure of intelligence but instead it is a measure of wealth.


I'm taking the Con side of the debate, and I contend that private tutoring for the SAT should not be banned. First of all, it is not unfair at all. It deals mostly with learning how to take the test: time management, multiple choice strategy, and quick reading comprehension. These strategies and information are readily available for free on the internet to anyone who wants to prepare for the test. There are also full practice tests offered on the SAT website for anyone with an internet connection [2]. After a 30-second search on YouTube, I found an entire channel devoted to math SAT prep with videos that give an entire virtual course on it [3]. All it takes to prepare for standardized tests is commitment and hard work, whether someone is rich and privileged or not. Even a rich student who goes to the most expensive tutor available still has to take the time to absorb the information and practice to improve their score. I would argue that the test is not only, like you said, "a measure of pure intellectual strength;" in addition, it is a measure of how hard the student is willing to work in order to achieve. Colleges do not want to fill their halls with students who are geniuses yet have no drive to accomplish anything.


If private tutoring for standardized tests is unfair, then why shouldn't we also ban private tutoring for regular school? A high school college applicant's GPA is just as important as their SAT/ACT score. Private tutoring for school is sometimes only available to people with the money to pay for it, yet it would be ridiculous to try to ban students from trying to improve their chances of success in order to "make it fair."
Debate Round No. 1


I think you make some valid points. However, to compare the SAT to regular schooling isn't accurate. At schools, students are free to ask as many questions as they want and most schools even offer extra help after school. On the SAT however, there is no, for a lack of a better term, "standard preparation". Not every student is given a book to read for SAT preparation. Not every student has Internet access. Some students don't even know that their are resources available. Now, this isn't to say that all SAT prep material should be banned (although that is arguable), but rather that the extra help and personal attention given by tutor is an unfair advantage. If there were two students who were roughly of the same intelligence and one had a tutor and did not have a tutor, I believe that the one with the tutor would do better on the SAT. Their tutor would be able to explain to them their mistakes on practice tests, go over tricky problems, analyze their strengths and weakness--all of which would be to their advantage come test day.


I will offer rebuttals to some of your points.

"Not every student has Internet access. Some students don't even know that their are resources available."
It would be very hard to sign up for the test without being notified of the free (standard) prep material on the SAT College Board website. Speaking from personal experience, I received numerous emails and an offer in the mail notifying me of the material, as well as the fact that there are ads all over the website. It is not right to penalize everyone for the ignorance of a few. With regard to the lack of Internet access, public libraries offer it for free if it is really a need.

"If there were two students who were roughly of the same intelligence and one had a tutor and did not have a tutor, I believe that the one with the tutor would do better on the SAT."
I disagree that having a private tutor is a very significant factor in doing better on the test. They don't give their students any instruction that they can't find on their own. Showing students how to solve particular problems that they get wrong on a practice test is not very significant as the odds of getting the same question twice are ridiculously small. Analyzing their strengths and weaknesses won't change their score; it only tells them how well they are likely to do in certain areas, and they could do that on their own by taking practice tests.

As I said before, the main (and most helpful) things that tutors give students are strategies dealing with how to take the test. This is all available to students anywhere near a public library. Inevitably, this brings in the fact that not every single student lives in proximity to a library, so I will restate that free mail order test prep is available to anyone with a mailing address. A student who is an exception to every one of these generalizations (one without Internet access, money for a tutor, a public library, or even a mail address) falls victim to the fact that there is a limit to how much the system can be equalized. As it is, it would be unreasonably difficult to enforce the ban of private tutors; in addition, for the reasons I have given in this debate, it would be unnecessary.
Debate Round No. 2


morningowl200 forfeited this round.


Too bad we couldn't finish.

Vote Con!!
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by morningowl200 5 years ago
Actually, I'm sure the SAT board could ban it if they wanted to. Given, it'd be very hard to control, but they could state that the SAT had to be taken based just on your own studying.
Posted by JacobAnderson 5 years ago
You can't ban it because some people can't afford it. Anyone can study on their own time. It comes down to how well you study and how intelligent you are, not if you had a tutor or not. But you can't ban it.
Posted by morningowl200 5 years ago
You are right about that for the most part. However, it is essentially the teaching and ease of learning that comes into play with this topic. Most SAT tutoring programs say that they'll be able to boost a student's score by 100 points at least.
Posted by dylancatlow 5 years ago
SAT tutors don't offer anything that couldn't be done independently.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by STALIN 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Clearly Con is more convincing. He gives examples backed up by sources. Also, Pro FF.