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    #243102 - 06/15/18 02:33 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: philly103]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4221
    Originally Posted By: philly103
    These schools are desired because they seem to open doors to post graduation opportunities at greater rates. People want to send their kids to these schools because of those post graduation opportunities. But the reason they provide those opportunities is precisely because they carefully select a student body that maximizes those post-graduation opportunities.
    ...
    fixation on admission to a small handful of schools is distorting secondary school behavior.
    Well said.

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    #243103 - 06/15/18 06:59 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Kai Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/17/09
    Posts: 599
    I think you should be allowed to submit grades *or* test scores. I'm a homeschooler, but both of my kids have taken classes at public and private high schools as well as the local community college and a selective four year engineering school. It never ceases to astound me how teacher dependent grades are. For example, there are certain teachers that seem to have no clue that if you give lots of 5 point assignments and then take a point off for every minor thing, the student gets into the F category awfully fast.

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    #243104 - 06/16/18 04:36 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Kai]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: Kai
    I think you should be allowed to submit grades *or* test scores. I'm a homeschooler, but both of my kids have taken classes at public and private high schools as well as the local community college and a selective four year engineering school. It never ceases to astound me how teacher dependent grades are. For example, there are certain teachers that seem to have no clue that if you give lots of 5 point assignments and then take a point off for every minor thing, the student gets into the F category awfully fast.

    On a report card, you typically see for each class a percentage grade and the associated letter grade. I think the median, mean, and standard deviation of percentage grades of all students in the class should also be shown, so that someone reading the transcript can adjust for easy or difficult grading. Ideally, statistics on associated test scores for a class would also be shown. If the average grade in an AP US history class is an 85 but the average APUSH exam score is 4.5, that teacher is grading more harshly than in a class where the average grade is 90 and average exam score is 3.0.

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    #243105 - 06/16/18 05:11 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    I think Tyler Cowen, prolific blogger and economics professor, has a good theory for what Harvard and other very selective schools are doing:

    Asian-American admissions at Harvard
    June 16, 2018
    Quote:
    My take is simple. Harvard is risk-averse with respect to the stream of future donations, as are many other schools. Asian-American admissions don’t have the same donating track record as the white students traditionally cultivated by Harvard and other top universities. Either Asian-Americans may seek out “diaspora philanthropy,” or they simply may have a more cynical attitude toward top institutions that they basically have never had any control over.

    Furthermore, there is a common fear — repugnant to me I should add — that if a student body becomes “too Asian,” many white students will be less interested in going there. I taught at UC Irvine for several years and found it to be a delightful experience, but this is exactly what many schools are afraid of (the UCI student body is disproportionately Asian, and the honors class I taught in my first year had only one non-Asian student in it).

    And so they come up with every excuse possible — sometimes cemented in by self-deception — for maintaining a “balanced” student body.

    It is incorrect to call it “racism,” but it is non-meritocratic and we should move away from those attitudes as quickly as possible.

    In related news, the University of Chicago is moving away from the use of SAT scores in admissions. The cynical might suggest this is so they are more insulated from potential lawsuits and also so they have more discretion in admissions. If Chicago feels the need to do this, perhaps the system really is buckling under the strain of all these outside pressures.

    Nonetheless, I predict ultimately the status quo will not change very much. I just don’t see a strong enough popular or judicial constituency for righting the wrongs done to Asian-Americans. Some kind of partial concession will be made, various terms and standards will be somewhat redefined, and we’ll be back to “rinse and repeat.” Meritocracy: can’t live with it, can’t live without it.

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    #243108 - 06/16/18 03:24 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Bostonian]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3288
    Loc: California
    The problem is a lot bigger than Ivy League Admissions. After the war until the 80s-ish, there was no admissions arms race because back then, people could get a decent job with a high school diploma and it was generally true that your job wouldn't be outsourced by managers giving you an unceremonious boot out the door and little else. I'm not saying that employers were paragons of virtue back then. I'm just saying that the outsourcing, the gig economy, and other factors have made almost everyone insecure today, and that much of the upper middle class tends to look at IVY LEAGUE SCHOOLS as a vaccine for that problem. IMO, this is wishful thinking.

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    #243234 - 07/02/18 04:54 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Bostonian]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    Almost everyone applying to selective schools such as the University of Chicago has SAT or ACT scores. Why wouldn't an admissions committee want to see them? The SAT and ACT offer fee waivers based on income, so how do "tests place an unfair cost and burden on low-income and minority students"?
    University of Chicago to stop requiring ACT and SAT scores for prospective undergraduates
    by Dawn Rhodes
    Chicago Tribune
    June 14, 2018

    The War on Admissions Testing
    What’s behind the move to drop ACT and SAT scores for college entry?
    Wall Street Journal
    July 1, 2018

    Quote:
    The “test optional” movement has won its most high-profile convert in the University of Chicago, which announced last month that applicants to the school would no longer need to submit ACT or SAT scores.

    The University of Chicago has become known in recent years for its commitment to academic rigor and resistance to coddling and group think. But in this decision it has increased the momentum of a fashionable but damaging ideology overtaking elite education: That standardized metrics of any kind are discriminatory and elitist, and that each student is so special that he or she can only be evaluated according to uniquely personal traits.

    No test is perfect, but the ACT and SAT are powerful predictors of college performance. As psychology professors Nathan Kuncel and Paul Sackett wrote in The Wall Street Journal in March: “Longitudinal research demonstrates that standardized tests predict not just grades all the way through college but also the level of courses a student is likely to take.”

    Standardized tests are especially important in a time of severe grade inflation, especially in more affluent high schools. That doesn’t mean students who don’t test well can’t succeed, or that students with high scores are guaranteed to graduate summa cum laude. But it’s clear scores are at least as valid a predictor of college performance as a students’ roster of carefully selected extracurricular activities or “personal essays,” which may be rewritten by tutors.

    So what’s behind the campaign against standardized assessments? A University of Chicago spokeswoman says the test “may not reflect the full accomplishments and academic promise of a student.” This is true but could be said of any single part of a college application, including high school grades.

    Grades may be the next metric to fall out of fashion. Last year a coalition of private high schools, including Phillips Academy, joined a campaign to eliminate grades on grounds that “a GPA shaves off a lot of humanity,” in the words of one prep-school principal. One wonders if the aim isn’t really to shield well-off students from rigorous assessments so they can skate by on testimonials and extracurriculars alone.

    The University of Chicago also says eliminating testing requirements “levels the playing field” for “under-resourced and first-generation students,” who may not have access to test-preparation courses. But contrary to myth, most such courses produce only modest gains. And last year Khan Academy and the College Board unveiled a free course they say boosts SAT scores for students at all income levels. By contrast, low-income students are unlikely to have access to exotic summer internships or other activities that impress admissions offices.

    ...

    The article cited is

    The Truth About the SAT and ACT
    Myths abound about standardized tests, but the research is clear: They provide an invaluable measure of how students are likely to perform in college and beyond
    By Nathan Kuncel and Paul Sackett
    Wall Street Journal
    March 8, 2018

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    #243253 - 07/04/18 02:18 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4221
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    Quote:
    No test is perfect, but the ACT and SAT are powerful predictors of college performance. As psychology professors Nathan Kuncel and Paul Sackett wrote in The Wall Street Journal in March: “Longitudinal research demonstrates that standardized tests predict not just grades all the way through college but also the level of courses a student is likely to take.”

    Standardized tests are especially important in a time of severe grade inflation, especially in more affluent high schools.
    ...
    The University of Chicago also says eliminating testing requirements “levels the playing field” for “under-resourced and first-generation students,” who may not have access to test-preparation courses. But contrary to myth, most such courses produce only modest gains. And last year Khan Academy and the College Board unveiled a free course they say boosts SAT scores for students at all income levels. By contrast, low-income students are unlikely to have access to exotic summer internships or other activities that impress admissions offices.
    ...

    The Truth About the SAT and ACT
    Myths abound about standardized tests, but the research is clear: They provide an invaluable measure of how students are likely to perform in college and beyond
    ...
    Agreed. Some may say this was even more accurate for past versions of the tests, before recent changes.

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    #243284 - 07/09/18 04:42 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    Legacy Preferences Complicate Colleges’ Diversity Push
    By Melissa Korn
    Wall Street Journal
    July 9, 2018 5:30 a.m. ET
    Quote:
    Top colleges have pledged to become more socioeconomically diverse, but the admissions edge many give to children of alumni may make that goal harder to achieve.

    At the University of Notre Dame, the University of Virginia and Georgetown University, the admission rate for legacies is about double the rate for the overall applicant pool, according to data from the schools. At Princeton University, legacies are admitted at four times the general rate, or roughly 30% compared with about 7% overall over the past five years, the school says.

    Legacy applicants at Harvard University were five times as likely to be admitted as non-legacies, according to an analysis of admissions data from 2010 through 2015. The numbers—33.6% for legacies and 5.9% for those without parental ties—were submitted in a June court filing for a case claiming Asian students are being discriminated against in the name of greater diversity at the school.

    All of those schools have signed on to or plan to join the American Talent Initiative, a Bloomberg Philanthropies-backed effort to enroll 50,000 more low- and moderate-income students by 2025.

    Concerns over the legacy advantage reflect broader unease about competing priorities in admissions. Diversity initiatives have led to complaints by white students that minority students have a leg up. Meanwhile, highly qualified Asian students say they should get more slots based on academics. Both say long-standing traditions like legacy admissions soak up coveted spots.

    Advocates for considering legacy status argue that favoring the children—and, in some cases, grandchildren—of graduates helps maintain an engaged and generous alumni base and lets students serve as ambassadors to new campus arrivals.

    Cornell University President Martha E. Pollack has said legacy admissions help perpetuate “a Cornell family that goes on for generations.” In an interview with the student newspaper in May, she said the practice isn’t about giving preference or an advantage to legacies, but such a designation is one of many “balancing factors.”

    Colleges should be honest about what they are doing. I don't see how Cornell can use legacy status as a "balancing factor" without giving legacies some preference.

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    #243368 - 07/30/18 08:13 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Bostonian]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian

    Another NYT article on this case, based on court filings:

    ‘Lopping,’ ‘Tips’ and the ‘Z-List’: Bias Lawsuit Explores Harvard’s Admissions Secrets

    You are not supposed to receive anything of substantial value in return for a tax-deductible donation. Some Americans, rationally or not, value admissions for their children at some universities at more than $1 million. Non-profits must provide receipts for large donations. For Harvard and the "donor" to exchange a million dollar "donation" for an admissions spot, which can reduce Federal income taxes by about $400K (using a marginal income tax rate of 40%), is a big tax fraud. The honest thing to do would be to simply auction off a limited number of spots and do away with the pretense of charity.

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    #243371 - 07/30/18 04:28 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2277
    I actually agree with Bostonian’s comment. If there’s a subset of Ivy admissions that relies on infusions of endowments for enrolment, call a spade a spade. The reason such honesty doesn’t exist is because those wealthy families who so strongly identify with Ivy status that they’re willing to buy it lack the self awareness to openly accept their progeny’s lack of genuine ability at face value, and the implications that carries about themselves. The value they get is plausible deniability to themselves. A rich, deluded idiot will, apparently, part with a lot of money to avoid reality.
    _________________________
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

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