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    #200424 - 09/09/14 10:13 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2596
    Loc: MA
    Steven Pinker is a Bostonian smile.

    Quote:
    As for Deresiewicz’s pronouncement that “SAT is supposed to measure aptitude, but what it actually measures is parental income, which it tracks quite closely,” this is bad social science. SAT correlates with parental income (more relevantly, socioeconomic status or SES), but that doesn’t mean it measures it; the correlation could simply mean that smarter parents have smarter kids who get higher SAT scores, and that smarter parents have more intellectually demanding and thus higher-paying jobs. Fortunately, SAT doesn’t track SES all that closely (only about 0.25 on a scale from -1 to 1), and this opens the statistical door to see what it really does measure. The answer is: aptitude. Paul Sackett and his collaborators have shown that SAT scores predict future university grades, holding all else constant, whereas parental SES does not. Matt McGue has shown, moreover, that adolescents’ test scores track the SES only of their biological parents, not (for adopted kids) of their adoptive parents, suggesting that the tracking reflects shared genes, not economic privilege.

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    #200425 - 09/09/14 10:38 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3290
    Loc: California
    Perhaps, but what kind of aptitude does the SAT test for? IMO, it tests for an ability to answer relatively easy questions quickly (if they were hard or anything but superficial, you wouldn't be able to answer them in even a few minutes each, let alone <1 minute).

    Sure, people with (near) perfect scores on the SAT may have aptitude for elite college work, but they aren't the only ones. Plus, given the way the test is scored, it isn't clear to me that anyone can even honestly discriminate between "aptitude" in students with scores between ~650 and 800.

    I think that Deresciewicz was getting at this point: the admissions process at elite colleges selects for an overly narrow group of students, to the detriment of the students and the system as whole.

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    #200426 - 09/09/14 10:44 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Val]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2596
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: Val
    Sure, people with (near) perfect scores on the SAT have aptitude for college work, but they aren't the only ones. Plus, given the way the test is scored, it isn't clear to me that anyone can even honestly discriminate between "aptitude" in students with scores between ~650 and 800.

    The relationship between PSAT scores (and very likely SAT scores) and college grades is close to linear throughout the range of PSAT scores.

    https://research.collegeboard.org/sites/...st-year-gpa.pdf
    Examining the Linearity of the PSAT/NMSQT®–FYGPA Relationship
    By Jessica P. Marini, Krista D. Mattern, and Emily J. Shaw
    Quote:
    Executive Summary
    There is a common misperception that test scores do not predict above a minimum threshold
    (Sackett, Borneman, & Connelly, 2008). That is, test scores may be useful for identifying
    students with very low levels of ability; however, higher scores are considered unrelated to
    higher performance for those above a certain threshold. This study aims to examine whether
    this is true for the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®),
    which is used for that very purpose — to differentiate among very high performing students.
    The linearity of the relationship between PSAT/NMSQT scores and first-year college GPA
    (FYGPA) was explored in this paper, using a regression approach. This relationship was
    explored over the entire range of the PSAT/NMSQT score scale, known as the Selection
    Index, ranging from 60 to 240 as well as the upper end of the score scale (≥ 200), where
    initial screening decisions are made for scholarship programs conducted by National Merit
    Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). For the full PSAT/NMSQT scale, the addition of a quadratic
    term improved model fit; however, the effect size was small as indexed by the change in the
    squared multiple correlation coefficient (R2
    ) of 0.001. That is, including PSAT/NMSQT Selection
    Index2
    in the model accounted for an additional 0.1% of variance in FYGPA. As for the subset
    of students who had a PSAT/NMSQT score of 200 or higher, the results indicated a strong
    linear relationship, which suggests that even among very high-scoring students, the PSAT/
    NMSQT score scale differentiates between students in terms of academic success measured
    by grades earned in the first year of college. In sum, the results of this study support the use
    of the PSAT/NMSQT as a screening tool for selecting Merit Scholarship winners.

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    #200428 - 09/09/14 11:04 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Bostonian]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3290
    Loc: California
    But we're not talking about the PSAT.

    That said, PSAT math scores go up from the mean by ~3.25 standard deviations.

    SAT math scores only go up ~2.5 SDs, meaning that this very popular exam isn't terribly discriminating at the top. If we were to put this in terms of IQs, this would mean that the SAT equates an math ability score around 150 with one around 138.



    Sources: PSAT SAT

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    #200495 - 09/10/14 09:05 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    Originally Posted By: 22B
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian

    A response.
    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/11932...ndardized-tests
    The Trouble With Harvard; The Ivy League is broken and only standardized tests can fix it. By Steven Pinker. Sept 4, 2014.

    Stephen Hsu comments on Steven Pinker's article.
    http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2014/09/what-is-best-for-harvard.html
    I'd really like to know how many are admitted on academic merit alone, especially in math.
    I assume MIT and CalTech are more meritocratic, though they are more expensive that Harvard for those with modest incomes.

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    #200498 - 09/10/14 09:46 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3695
    Originally Posted By: 22B
    Originally Posted By: 22B
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian

    A response.
    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/11932...ndardized-tests
    The Trouble With Harvard; The Ivy League is broken and only standardized tests can fix it. By Steven Pinker. Sept 4, 2014.

    Stephen Hsu comments on Steven Pinker's article.
    http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2014/09/what-is-best-for-harvard.html
    I'd really like to know how many are admitted on academic merit alone, especially in math.
    I assume MIT and CalTech are more meritocratic, though they are more expensive that Harvard for those with modest incomes.



    I don't believe MIT and CalTech consider legacies.
    _________________________
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

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    #200500 - 09/10/14 09:56 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: aeh]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3290
    Loc: California
    MIT really, really doesn't consider legacy students.

    Originally Posted By: MIT's admissions website
    This is something I thought we'd been pretty clear about. Mollie blogged about it back in 2006. Our institutional research website says, quite specifically, that "alumni relations" are "not considered." And I can tell you, from having sat on countless committees, that we simply don't care if your parents (or aunt, or grandfather, or third cousin) went to MIT. In fact, one of the things most likely to elicit a gigantic facepalm is when a student namedrops some incredibly attenuated connection because they think it is going to help them get into MIT.

    ...

    I want to reiterate that I agree wholeheartedly with everything Mr. Kahlenberg said about why legacy admissions are bad. I personally would not work for a college which had legacy admission because I am not interested in simply reproducing a multigenerational lineage of educated elite. And if anyone in our office ever advocated for a mediocre applicant on the basis of their "excellent pedigree" they would be kicked out of the committee room.


    Edited by Val (09/10/14 09:57 AM)

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    #200504 - 09/10/14 10:11 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: aeh]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2596
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    I don't believe MIT and CalTech consider legacies.

    The Common Data set, supplied by the schools themselves, has this information -- look at the box checked for the "Alumni/ae relation" line of question C7. MIT does not, but for Caltech it is considered but is not "important" or "very important". I wonder if any school that considers legacy status owns up to its being not just "considered" but "important". Princeton is a school with a fairly high fraction of legacy students, but as with Caltech, it says that legacy status is merely "considered".

    I don't think legacy admissions are necessarily a bad thing, especially in the context of the overall system. At many schools, my children will be penalized for their race and their parents' SES. Their potentially benefiting from a legacy preference at one school does not make me feel guilty.

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    #200507 - 09/10/14 10:28 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    The whole legacy never even occurred t me. What I'd mainly like to gauge is how meritocratic various places are, as opposed to using extraneous non-academic stuff.

    Pinker's statement that Harvard lets in 5%-10% based on pure academic merit actually makes me feel more optimistic, but those slots would have to be at an extremely high standard.

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    #200512 - 09/10/14 11:37 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1556
    Legacy helps if you have the scores, so if 10 kids all have perfect scores and similar applications, the legacy gets into Harvard. But if you have something they want, play pretty good football, captain of the fencing team, you can get in with lower scores compared to a perfect score with nothing else. I had a big donor to Princeton tell me this as he was close to coaches and was working his daughter in. She had great scores and played great soccer. Scores have to be really high but not perfect. And I know 2 siblings that got into Harvard but it got more competitive for the 3rd, even though she had similar scores to the 1st two and had double legacy and the father did fundraising but she did not get in because the standards are higher.

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