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    #197222 - 07/25/14 08:02 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Bostonian]
    JonLaw Offline

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    Originally Posted By: MegMeg
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    Many researchers thought it was Mainstream Science on Intelligence.

    And the take-down of the WSJ article (including the cherry-picked and non-expert status of those researchers) is contained in that very same Wikipedia article.

    Arthur Jensen, one of the signers, would meet anyone's definition of an expert on intelligence. His magnum opus "The g factor" cited "The Bell Curve" extensively. Julian Stanley, another signer, was a giant of gifted education. Someone knowledgeable about psychology, especially psychometrics, will recognize many of the names on that list.

    From that list:

    ""Although the environment is important in creating IQ differences, we do not know yet how to manipulate it""

    Well, if you are poor, you can increase IQ through the application of money.

    #197225 - 07/25/14 08:29 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Bostonian]
    MegMeg Offline

    Registered: 03/14/10
    Posts: 615
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    Arthur Jensen, one of the signers, would meet anyone's definition of an expert on intelligence.

    This is devolving into silliness. The implied force behind that letter is that supposedly an overwhelming preponderance of experts signed it, suggesting a field-wide consensus. This is manifestly false.

    Now you've backed off to the position that One Guy signed it, and we should all be impressed by Mr. One Guy. That's not how scientific issues get settled.

    It should at the very least give you pause that other equally eminent experts (we don't even know how many) were asked to sign the letter and refused. At a minimum this should suggest to you that there are controversial issues here that should be investigated on their own merits, not settled by saying "But an expert said so!"

    #197226 - 07/26/14 01:52 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    22B Offline

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    Is there any concrete evidence that (some?) elite institutions have lowered their academic standards by overemphasizing non-academic admissions criteria (such as extracurriculars)? Which institutions?

    Do the faculty think their students are getting dumber?

    What are the prospects for students who simply want to focus on their academics (plus some fun hobbies perhaps), and who totally ignore the non-academic criteria used by some institutions?

    What about 10 years from now? Could the pendulum swing another way?

    It seems that some institutions could do well by having purely academic admissions criteria.

    #197227 - 07/26/14 04:54 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    madeinuk Offline

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1453
    Loc: NJ

    It seems that some institutions could do well by having purely academic admissions criteria.

    Places like MIT still appear to do this for the most part.
    Become what you are

    #197228 - 07/26/14 06:40 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    NotSoGifted Offline

    Registered: 04/14/12
    Posts: 453
    Schools like MIT do admit mainly based on academics. However, think about the kids that apply to these schools - many, many of them have top scores. Just having top scores is not enough. They have to look at other parts of the application. Here are some admissions stats from MIT:

    They admitted 1,548 kids. Look at how many kids scored 750-800 in each section of the SAT, or 34-36 on the ACT. They could fill the class several times over with these perfect/near-perfect scoring kids. Yes, the academics are important - you need those - but you need something more to stand out.

    These same kids also apply to Ivy League schools, Stanford, elite LACs, so at every top school you are competing against these same kids. Unless you are an athlete, URM or some other hook, you need to have something to make your application stand out. And even if you have a hook, there is still a minimum standard. A kid with very average SAT/ACT scores will not get in, no matter what the hook.

    The standards have not dropped in the manner some have implied. I know kids with perfect scores who were rejected from some elite schools. The ones with perfect scores plus good ECs have better results.

    #197230 - 07/26/14 07:52 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: NotSoGifted]
    rac Offline

    Registered: 10/02/11
    Posts: 57
    I do agree that less focus on ECs would be desirable. However, there is a ceiling effect on the SAT, and major grade inflation (and differences in high school standards), so purely academic admission couldn't work at present. I'm not even sure schools would want purely academic admissions - the student profile would look VERY different.
    I wouldn't say that students have become dumber - but certainly more spoiled; more demanding of hand-holding and accommodations (to the extent that in some top schools, 10% of kids get time and a half or more on exams); more interested in As rather than deep understanding. Some schools are more supportive of this than others. Even amongst some of the very top schools, Deans will ask faculty to postpone a course deadline (announced at the beginning of the quarter) for a student who helped in organizing a party... . If you want a rigorous institution with serious, mostly academically oriented students for your kids, look carefully.

    #197237 - 07/26/14 08:54 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    I couldn't have said it better than Rac has done. smile

    Let's also recall that those perfect/near perfect academic scores? Um-- they don't mean what they USED to mean, before the era of massive grade inflation, gaming the system for accommodations (I'm not talking about needed accommodations for kids who are 2e, I'm talking about those that are "shopped" for-- and yeah, this IS a thing), and superscoring, tutoring FOR superscoring (another thing now is taking the ACT for a particular SECTION, and planning to "not worry about" the other sections ON THE DAY); all of those things are VASTLY enabled by high SES-- and nearly insurmountable barriers for those who are poor or even lower-middle-class.

    Are students "dumber?" No-- but they've been more poorly educated, I think. Fewer of them are capable (or desirous) of deep understanding-- tangents in class are often met with derision and a query about what will be on "the assessment" now, even in honors or AP offerings. It's actually rather sad for those few students who ARE genuinely interested-- and teachers can definitely spot them a mile away. I personally think this is why even DD's lackluster enthusiasm for classes like US History met with instructor delight and approval, and spontaneous encouragement to pursue it in college, since this was obviously a passion-- only, just as clearly (to us) this was nothing of the kind. This is just what a genuinely ENGAGED student looks like. Teachers don't see as many of them now. That's obvious.

    Now, those box-checking "perfect" students often slightly outperform even kids like my DD; but-- not on open-ended tasks, and there is no comparing the two things when you actually observe them aside from their resumes. The trouble is that elite institutions have driven DEMAND to such a degree that they have literally NO hope of actually doing that with thousands upon thousands of applications each year.

    In short-- yes, look carefully. The Ivies may not be "all that" for all students-- nor, for that matter, even for the best and brightest ones.

    I'm going to share some links that relate to some of these same issues.

    Ivy Leaguers twice as likely to use study drugs, half as likely to regard it as cheating

    Who Needs Harvard?-- Slate article on hiring at Fortune 100 companies

    Legacy Admissions advantage-- Chronicle of Higher Ed

    Educational Outcomes Op-Ed from Brookings Institute

    From the latter:

    Originally Posted By: Easterbrook's Brookings Institute piece

    Krueger and Dale studied what happened to students who were accepted at an Ivy or a similar institution, but chose instead to attend a less sexy, "moderately selective" school. It turned out that such students had, on average, the same income twenty years later as graduates of the elite colleges. Krueger and Dale found that for students bright enough to win admission to a top school, later income "varied little, no matter which type of college they attended." In other words, the student, not the school, was responsible for the success.

    Emphasis mine. This is not the last such study to have demonstrated this effect. Consider, also, how much CRAZIER admissions mania has become in the decade since that Brookings Institute op-ed was published. frown In 2004, Common App was in its infancy, super-scoring was new (and almost unheard of with the ACT, at any rate), it was only the first year after the end to the so-called "scarlet" asterisk (flagging non-standard testing of PSAT, ACT, SAT, and AP-- the results of destigmatization have been, er-- mixed, at best-- namely, those of highest SES clearly have benefited most from their ability to gain access to accommodations that are arduous and expensive to obtain-- more on that below*) and only a few private high schools were pushing all-test-prep-all-the-time, particularly with AP coursework.

    Parents and students alike are fixated (now) on The Very Best School-- er, or they THINK that they are, anyway. What they actually seem to have bought into is the notion (which I maintain is largely a matter of marketing) that those schools in highest DEMAND are the ones that are most prestigious, and therefore also The Very Best.

    From College Board's Own (much-criticized) study of timing accommodations from 2005


    Extra time seemed to affect the math sections of the
    SAT more than the verbal sections. For students without
    disabilities, the best performance was achieved under the
    1.5-time condition with section breaks, and the lowest
    with standard time. These findings held for high- and
    medium-ability examinees.

    The 1.5-time condition with section breaks also
    proved most beneficial for the verbal sections of the test
    for all ability groups, but the effects were not as great as
    for the math sections.

    This study provides evidence of three major findings:
    • Lower-ability test-takers gain little or no benefit from
    extra time. If students do not have the knowledge or skills,
    no amount of extra time will improve performance.
    • Section breaks appear to help test-takers at different
    ability levels, regardless of their disability status.
    • Extra time helps medium- and high-ability test-takers
    with and without disabilities. Extra time, however,
    does not help and actually may hinder low-ability
    students with disabilities.

    In other words, MOST high-ability test takers could use the extra time. That effect was so robust that even CB's own data collection/analysis was not able to ignore it. One would have to be incredibly naive to think that families that have no problem communicating to their children that performance-enhancing (illicit/prescription) drugs are "fine" as a method to better academic results would then have qualms over gaming the SAT accommodations game. The numbers certainly argue otherwise, unless one actually believes that only high-income WHITE children happen to have disproportionate numbers of learning disabilities... or that maybe living in a high SES causes LD's. As testing agencies like College Board have clamped down on those abusing the system, though, they've unfortunately made it even harder on those that DO need the accommodations but can't really afford to jump through all of the (new) hoops. frown The upshot is that this game has some REAL consequences at the median and low ends-- kids of modest ability (and SES) who also have LD's and could use accommodations in order to show mid-level colleges what they can do.

    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

    #197238 - 07/26/14 09:38 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: HowlerKarma]
    JonLaw Offline

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
    In short-- yes, look carefully. The Ivies may not be "all that" for all students-- nor, for that matter, even for the best and brightest ones.

    That's because you are buying letters patent.

    Granted, a problem might arise when the purchaser thinks that they are buying something else.

    #197243 - 07/26/14 10:29 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: JonLaw]
    rac Offline

    Registered: 10/02/11
    Posts: 57
    I looove the expression "box-checking perfect student". Oh so true! Just to add: I would have been more than frustrated if I had gone to school where a third or half of the students get an A. Meaningless - and I can't fathom why parents agree with this(and presumably demand it), when they spend 50k+ per year. Also, wonderful and ever improving sports facilities, but cramped basement classes with hundreds of students?? Fyi, published student-faculty ratios, are another thing to be very wary of when looking at private schools - especially if you are considering a popular major.

    #197247 - 07/26/14 11:24 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Right-- and look at who is considered "faculty" in the first place. A school with a 10:1 ratio doesn't look so good when 75% of their faculty are part-time adjuncts without campus offices, research programs or advisees, KWIM?

    Here's a tongue in cheek analysis of what it takes (as of 2013) to get into an Ivy:

    While this is obviously being played up for snark value, the data is there to back each assertion, too. Unfortunately.
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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