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    #200749 - 09/12/14 11:51 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: HowlerKarma]
    Dude Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
    This is hard, though, because in a low SES household, those hours may wind up being empty anyway, or filled with things that are... er... well, probably not suitable for academic consideration.


    In low-SES household, though, many of those hours are filled with the kinds of things Bostonian (in a rare acknowledgement of the challenges faced by to those with low-SES, hat-tip to you, sir) described as being worthy of consideration by recruiters, namely employment and child care. I'd also add to those considerations adult care (because many families are impoverished because a potential wage-earner has a health issue preventing full-time employment) or any extraordinary challenges the child had to overcome in order to produce equivalent results. For instance, if a child had to take the bus to the public library and wait an hour for a computer to be freed in order to produce the same quality of work as someone who got to do it at home, as a recruiter, I'd want to know that.

    And even if that candidate isn't using their free time to overcome extreme barriers (the neighbor lets them use the computer), earn money, or care for others, I would still want to know that they had a lot of free time, and spent it in ways that didn't involve criminal activity. Because that still tells me something valuable... one student works quickly and achieves a sufficient work/life balance, and the other one is exhausted trying to keep up. That second candidate is likely to end up in the office of the school psychologist by the end of the first quarter, and out of school by the end of the freshman year.

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    #200750 - 09/12/14 11:51 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Val, I see your point, but also consider-- kids who are well-rounded and high LOG may well be polymaths who couldn't bear to "give up" even one of their many EC's to "focus" on something that has more bearing on their putative future career path.

    I'm loathe to suggest that kind of system, having seen how HAPPY it makes my own little PG polymath to be completely engaged in something that has no outside significance in her life. It's purely for the joy of doing it, if that makes sense. That is, I can't actually see her majoring in anything outside of STEM, but that didn't stop her from doing things like NaNoWriMo, being obsessively engrossed in crafting musical tragi-comedies out of Hamlet and Lear, etc. It's the quirky, sort of broad and unexpected interests that I think are the real give-away there. I mean, clearly that wasn't a list generated by parents or student either one running down some checklist of "How to Get In at Very Elite Institution."

    I'd like to think that such institutions would be ALL OVER kids like mine. But the evidence seems to suggest that they often prefer the checklist-generated candidates instead.
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    #200753 - 09/12/14 01:03 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2277
    Here's a thought. If the stated goal of a university education at an elite school is to be proficient in a subject at a high level, why don't the elite institutions offer significantly more rigorous programming, loosen admissions criteria somewhat, refocus on academics, and let water seek its own level? This is exactly what high quality Canadian schools have done and, I'd argue (with some bias) the result has been to attract top international talent--both in student and professorial ranks-- away from the old elite.

    The university I attended for my undergrad was ranked in the top 10 in the world outside the US at the time in the subject. My professors were largely former Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford professors, and the material we covered in third year was equivalent to what my prof had taught in the Y1 or Y2 PhD series courses at Harvard. The incoming freshman class of over 500 was whittled down to maybe 50 graduating honors students. My tuition bill was $15K for an undergrad, before scholarships, as compared with $40k+/year at the Ivies. Frankly, the Ivies are missing the boat. I have competed against pools of mostly Ivy grads for work in Canada and won positions and promotions over them, so there isn't an Ivy premium in my area of practice.

    Provided the influx of talent into top Canadian universities continues unabated, and assuming my son wishes to work in Canada, I will definitely encourage him to study in Canada for at least his undergraduate studies. Many of my Canadian friends have gone on to pursue doctoral and postdoctoral studies at Ivies/Oxbridge. The value for money in technical disciplines is, IMO, unparalleled, and a significant portion of my provincial tax bill is already allocated to subsidizing resident post-secondary enrollment.
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    #200754 - 09/12/14 01:14 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Dude]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2596
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: Dude
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
    This is hard, though, because in a low SES household, those hours may wind up being empty anyway, or filled with things that are... er... well, probably not suitable for academic consideration.


    In low-SES household, though, many of those hours are filled with the kinds of things Bostonian (in a rare acknowledgement of the challenges faced by to those with low-SES, hat-tip to you, sir)

    Thanks, Dude. I have been on the forum long enough that as I write, I can imagine possible responses of other posters with long histories and incorporate them into my posts smile.

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    #200755 - 09/12/14 01:19 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Bostonian]
    raptor_dad Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/21/12
    Posts: 100
    Loc: Minnesota
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian

    AP exam scores are reported on a 1-5 scale and are intended to be comparable to the A-F grade scale (5 = A, 3 = C). The College Board grades each exam to get a raw score and then decides where to set the thresholds for a scaled score of 2, 3, 4, and 5. The ceiling could be lifted simply by reporting the raw scores as well as the 1-5 scaled scores.


    A problem with raw scores is that they aren't consistent from year to year. My knowledge all comes from talking to graders and head graders from the 90's, but I assume it is still similar. Keeping grades between tables(literal folding tables) consistent in a given session was a huge issue. Trying to normalize this across different tests over multiple years just wasn't possible. Raw scores in different years just meant different things. The tests just weren't normalized that way.

    A common exit exam that covers a broader swath of knowledge that seniors take is less subject to this problem than APs taken over a 4 year span.

    The second problem is that raw scores on a common exit exam is useless if the ceiling isn't high enough. In the UK the various combined A level math exams are harder than the Calc BC exam. The STEP exams are harder than A levels. Going on the standard belief for above level tests, as pushed by TIP/CTY etc, that each of these tests should generate its own normal curve for appropriate populations suggests that SATs should stratify the top 25-30% of kids; multiple APs should stratify the top ~10%; if you want to accurately sort the top 5% you need harder tests.

    I am ambivalent. I would like the option of more meritocracy but I also fear the results and collateral damage in our hyper competetive society...

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    #200756 - 09/12/14 01:35 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: raptor_dad]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2596
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: raptor_dad
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian

    AP exam scores are reported on a 1-5 scale and are intended to be comparable to the A-F grade scale (5 = A, 3 = C). The College Board grades each exam to get a raw score and then decides where to set the thresholds for a scaled score of 2, 3, 4, and 5. The ceiling could be lifted simply by reporting the raw scores as well as the 1-5 scaled scores.


    A problem with raw scores is that they aren't consistent from year to year. My knowledge all comes from talking to graders and head graders from the 90's, but I assume it is still similar. Keeping grades between tables(literal folding tables) consistent in a given session was a huge issue. Trying to normalize this across different tests over multiple years just wasn't possible. Raw scores in different years just meant different things. The tests just weren't normalized that way.

    I thought about that but believed raw scores would be useful because a large fraction of students for a seat in September 2014 who submitted (for example) BC Calculus scores did so from the spring 2013 version as juniors (since scores from spring 2014 tests taken as seniors would come too late for admissions purposes). For most AP exams, I'd guess that half or more of the scores submitted for admissions come from exams taken as juniors at the same sitting.

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    #200757 - 09/12/14 01:45 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: HowlerKarma]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3290
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
    Val, I see your point, but also consider-- kids who are well-rounded and high LOG may well be polymaths who couldn't bear to "give up" even one of their many EC's to "focus" on something that has more bearing on their putative future career path.


    I'd like to think that such institutions would be ALL OVER kids like mine. But the evidence seems to suggest that they often prefer the checklist-generated candidates instead.



    I see your point about the focus thing. So, I'll amend my position and say that I don't think ECs should be used at all. The university is supposed to be about academics. ECs are great, but shouldn't be used for admissions decisions.

    I see that a very bright and motivated student should stand out with lots of genuine non-tigered ECs, but the reality is that this doesn't happen these days. I'd prefer a transparent system that treats everyone the same way to the current insanity.

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    #200759 - 09/12/14 02:21 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Dude Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    I think ECs say the same kinds of things about non-disadvantaged kids that the other stuff I talked about earlier says about disadvantaged kids. They say a kid has free time, has other things they're passionate about, achieves a healthy work/life balance, and depending on the particular ECs, has a growth mindset.

    You can tell the difference between a resume stacker and a genuine G/T polymath, but you have to sit down and talk with them. The second one can talk about their interests in a way that communicates passion. The first one might not be able to talk much about them at all.

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    #200760 - 09/12/14 02:30 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: HowlerKarma]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
    YES! Bostonian and I agree on this one.

    Having very recently been through this process with DD, this is the "tell" for higher LOG kids. They have all those EC's because they don't NEED 20 hours a week on AP calculus; only five, freeing up the other 15 for theater productions or volunteer work, or practice at a musical instrument, or robotics, or whatever. It's a matter of pacing and rate of learning. HG students are flatly going to have more time to fill. It'd be lovely if tiger parents would quit whipping their own offspring to do it when they can't possibly... but I don't see that happening any time soon, either. So those children will go on not getting a childhood, or sufficient sleep, I suppose. Kids like those on the boards, of course, have no problem there (generally speaking, obviously not for kids with 2e concerns that impact speed).


    No, I don't buy this argument at all. It's like saying that someone who can factorize quadratics in their head while juggling three eggs and riding a monocycle is more suited to Harvard Math than someone someone who can factorize quadratics sitting at a desk with pencil and paper. The problem is that the mathematical task itself has too low a ceiling, and the extraneous activities are a red herring. The solution is is to have much tougher academic tests that can truly distinguish the upper levels, and ignore the extraneous stuff.

    Of course these institutions can have whatever admissions criteria they please. But no-one should pretend that the top 1% are all in an academic dead-heat and we have to use ECs as a tie-breaker.

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    #200761 - 09/12/14 02:37 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    madeinuk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1450
    Loc: NJ
    EXACTLY what 22B said!
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