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MIT is going back to requiring scores for 2022-23


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7 minutes ago, gstharr said:

Well, we just completed an on campus admission tour at MIT (last Thursday).  THE admission rep said that technically MIT is (now, was) test optional, the reality is that admitted students had test scores. If there were some spaces left open after taking the test scores, they went through the no test pile. The very few students w/o scores did some extraordinary things. The example given was a student who founded a non-profit and raised big $$$$ to help his community. MIT just removed the veil with the announcement.

 

Yeah, I really don't know how much it matters. I don't know of any selective colleges that actually set firm cutoffs for test scores (as opposed to less selective public schools), so they've always been free to accept those kids who don't test well but have otherwise extraordinary applications. Going test optional means they can do it without bringing down the SAT/ACT averages they report, since those students are likely to apply without test scores. In Jeffrey Selingo's book that came out last year, every school he looked at except Vanderbilt, if I remember right, reported a much lower acceptance rate for students who applied test optional. I'm just not sure schools are really, for the most part, accepting different students because they're going test optional. It IS encouraging kids to apply to way more colleges than before, it seems, which changes the admissions landscape in a lot of ways. There are plenty of selective colleges with a long traditions of being test optional, and it seems to work well for them without affecting student preparedness, graduation rates, etc...I imagine it takes time for an admissions office to find its footing with test optional admissions, though, and all the newly test optional schools kind of got tossed in the deep end. 

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39 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

Maybe requiring test scores will help selective universities separate the wheat from the chaff in that regard.

I think that the ceiling for both tests is way too low to be used for this purpose.  

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Incidentally, this is from 2013, it looks like, but MIT had the second lowest median parent income among 12 "Ivy League and selected elite" schools and the lowest percentage of students from the top 1%: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/college-mobility/university-of-chicago Median income was $137,400 at MIT vs. $195,900 at (test optional for 50 years) Bowdoin. 

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43 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

I just think it's too soon to return to the status quo.

The other thing is that if you're just using grades as a measure of preparedness, pandemic grading was a disaster--all As all the time, at least it was around here, both because standards were lowered substantially and because students were cheating.  In my mind, this is a reason to require test scores now.  

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I guess what I'm getting at is that a school like Bowdoin that's test optional, need blind, and meets demonstrated need with no loans still doesn't have any problem filling its classes mostly with wealthy, full pay kids. Clearly there are plenty of ways to make sure you get all the full pay kids you want while still calling yourself need blind. Likewise, a school like MIT (also need blind, also meets need, not test optional other than during covid) manages to admit many more lower and middle income kids than Bowdoin without any drop in prestige. I just don't see test optional vs. not as even close to the biggest issue when it comes to equity.  ETA: my hunch is that the reason it's so hard to tell whether going test optional helps or hurts when it comes to less wealthy kids is that admissions offices can use it to make things go either way, depending on their priorities.

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12 minutes ago, kokotg said:

Incidentally, this is from 2013, it looks like, but MIT had the second lowest median parent income among 12 "Ivy League and selected elite" schools and the lowest percentage of students from the top 1%: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/college-mobility/university-of-chicago Median income was $137,400 at MIT vs. $195,900 at (test optional for 50 years) Bowdoin. 

This is compelling to me. My alma is in the top 10-25 on these metrics too. Thank you.

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13 minutes ago, EKS said:

The other thing is that if you're just using grades as a measure of preparedness, pandemic grading was a disaster--all As all the time, at least it was around here, both because standards were lowered substantially and because students were cheating.  In my mind, this is a reason to require test scores now.  

All As wasn’t my experience AT ALL. If the goal is punishing districts that maintain high standards, goal accomplished.

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17 minutes ago, kokotg said:

Incidentally, this is from 2013, it looks like, but MIT had the second lowest median parent income among 12 "Ivy League and selected elite" schools and the lowest percentage of students from the top 1%: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/college-mobility/university-of-chicago Median income was $137,400 at MIT vs. $195,900 at (test optional for 50 years) Bowdoin. 

This may be related to the fact that MIT does not favor legacy applicants, unlike the other Ivy+'s.  I've wondered if this is the reason MIT's campus looks fairly crappy.  

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2 minutes ago, daijobu said:

This may be related to the fact that MIT does not favor legacy applicants, unlike the other Ivy+'s.  I've wondered if this is the reason MIT's campus looks fairly crappy.  

Maybe (U of Chicago has lower median income and does consider legacy status). But MIT has a $27 billion endowment (quick googling tells me that's the 4th highest per student in the US), so I'm not sure they can use that as an excuse too much 😉

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I feel like I post the same thing every time this topic comes up-

I think ACT and SAT scores are a way to determine college readiness, as part of the application process.  It tells you about the resources the school has, and where the average kid is academically.  This is supposed to help your kid find the right fit!  If your kid is scoring low 20s, going to a school- test optional- where most kids are score 33+, your kid is probably not going to feel comfortable.  There are tests in colleges, and while accommodations are possible, you still need to move at the pace of the class and pass those tests.   At a school with an average of 25, the professor is teaching to a more average student.  Yes, you still have to pass the class tests.  You might also find more student support bc the school has lots of students at your approximate level.  If you are scoring below 20, you might want to start out at a CC, before spending 20+K on one year at a big college, only to find out that college isn't right for you, or you need more support.  My local CC tries to provide a lot more help to struggling students that my kids university does.  I think its wrong to encourage kids into debt, without being realistic about outcome.  Scoring low doesn't mean you can't,  but it might mean you need more time or a smaller class size or extra tutoring.  In short, test scores are supposed to help match a student with a school he will succeed in.  I do not believe every kid needs to go to a Big Name college to be successful.   I also do not believe getting into that school is always worth the $$, or that it insures success.  

If you think test scores on ACT or SAT don't get close to your kids aptitude,  then you need to figure out why- bc college is full of tests worth big portions of your grade.   If you need test accommodations- like extra time- high school is the time to do that.  

And since we are on the topic of test-optional, I feel like test scores are much more fair than the inflated grades schools are giving right now!  Everyone takes the test,  the scores reflect the knowledge they are able to recall in the same given time.  You can retake it several times.  Free test prep at Khan Academy or the library test prep books.  Free videos on YT.  There is soooooo much more help than when I was a teen.  A motivated kid could do a lot of test prep for free.   I feel like college success depends on taking initiative- and the test prep and scores are a way to show initiative and your willingness to go out and work hard studying.  Yes, some will be better at it,  but you can improve your score.  Everyone is graded exactly the same.  

I know that everyone doesn't start out equally,  and that many struggle bc their districts don't have good resources- mine doesn't!  Its a poor rural school that doesn't offer past Algebra 2, we have had no FL teacher for about 10 years- its Rosetta Stone or nothing.  Our kids thar go to the UofState usually struggle and bit- they are the top students, but they don't have a lot of preparedness.  I'm not sure how to fix that, but letting kids into top colleges who are not ready doesn't seem a good solution.  

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2 minutes ago, kokotg said:

Maybe (U of Chicago has lower median income and does consider legacy status). But MIT has a $27 billion endowment (quick googling tells me that's the 4th highest per student in the US), so I'm not sure they can use that as an excuse too much 😉

Jeepers, for a fraction of $27 billion, they could remodel their student union a bit.  That was a really cool NYT link you provided.  I'm having fun comparing hte colleges.  

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5 hours ago, Sneezyone said:

 

How many people do you know did the bolded? Solo? Without family/teacher support? One, five, ten? 100?

MIT is a private institution and can do as it pleases. I support their choices. The idea that this will increase diversity and opportunity based on two/three years of pandemic data tho is stupid.

NO ONE, and I do mean NO ONE ever encouraged me to pursue math. When I went from CA to AR in 10th grade, I lost a full month of class time because school in AR started earlier. Did anyone suggest extra study to make up the difference, provide extra support? No. Repeat that across the country. Pre-determined stereotypes and expectations limit student opportunities and assessment performance everyday, doubly so when classes aren't actually occurring. I'm not shocked by this view, just disgusted. There would be no Katherine Johnson's in your world.

I don’t think going to a top school is the only way to succeed. My grad school advisor, a mathematical genius, was the first in his family to attend college. He started at community college. His professors recognized his genius and helped him eventually successfully transfer to an UC. He went to a different one for grad school. The first time he flew in an airplane was when Cornell University flew him out for a job interview.

I had another grad school professor who was also the first in his family to attend college. He was “discovered” based on PSAT scores and was a NMS. Ditto for a high school classmate who was highly gifted, including in math, but from a profoundly poor and very, very dysfunctional family. Both got full rides to good, but not top schools, but went on to earn PhDs from top schools. Now granted, this was back in the day when most didn’t prep for these exams and took them cold, so I realize the playing field is more uneven now.

But I do actually think, based on my experiences, than using test scores can in some cases help students from disadvantaged backgrounds be discovered.

I’m guessing Katherine Johnson would actually have scored very high on any mathematical aptitude test. Am I missing something as to why you think she would not?

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16 minutes ago, BusyMom5 said:

I feel like I post the same thing every time this topic comes up-

I think ACT and SAT scores are a way to determine college readiness, as part of the application process.  It tells you about the resources the school has, and where the average kid is academically.  This is supposed to help your kid find the right fit!  If your kid is scoring low 20s, going to a school- test optional- where most kids are score 33+, your kid is probably not going to feel comfortable.  There are tests in colleges, and while accommodations are possible, you still need to move at the pace of the class and pass those tests.   At a school with an average of 25, the professor is teaching to a more average student.  Yes, you still have to pass the class tests.  You might also find more student support bc the school has lots of students at your approximate level.  If you are scoring below 20, you might want to start out at a CC, before spending 20+K on one year at a big college, only to find out that college isn't right for you, or you need more support.  My local CC tries to provide a lot more help to struggling students that my kids university does.  I think its wrong to encourage kids into debt, without being realistic about outcome.  Scoring low doesn't mean you can't,  but it might mean you need more time or a smaller class size or extra tutoring.  In short, test scores are supposed to help match a student with a school he will succeed in.  I do not believe every kid needs to go to a Big Name college to be successful.   I also do not believe getting into that school is always worth the $$, or that it insures success.  

If you think test scores on ACT or SAT don't get close to your kids aptitude,  then you need to figure out why- bc college is full of tests worth big portions of your grade.   If you need test accommodations- like extra time- high school is the time to do that.  

And since we are on the topic of test-optional, I feel like test scores are much more fair than the inflated grades schools are giving right now!  Everyone takes the test,  the scores reflect the knowledge they are able to recall in the same given time.  You can retake it several times.  Free test prep at Khan Academy or the library test prep books.  Free videos on YT.  There is soooooo much more help than when I was a teen.  A motivated kid could do a lot of test prep for free.   I feel like college success depends on taking initiative- and the test prep and scores are a way to show initiative and your willingness to go out and work hard studying.  Yes, some will be better at it,  but you can improve your score.  Everyone is graded exactly the same.  

I know that everyone doesn't start out equally,  and that many struggle bc their districts don't have good resources- mine doesn't!  Its a poor rural school that doesn't offer past Algebra 2, we have had no FL teacher for about 10 years- its Rosetta Stone or nothing.  Our kids thar go to the UofState usually struggle and bit- they are the top students, but they don't have a lot of preparedness.  I'm not sure how to fix that, but letting kids into top colleges who are not ready doesn't seem a good solution.  

Getting accommodations for some of us is *HARD*. Teachers attribute to laziness and frivolity something that is time/anxiety driven b/c cheerleader. DDs math teachers consistently underestimate her abilities as a result despite her solid As. Dd will end up taking Calc BC next year by virtue of her grades this year (not recommendations) but could EASILY have completed DiffEQ w/o COVID. These issues are real, even in good districts.

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1 minute ago, Frances said:

I don’t think going to a top school is the only way to succeed. My grad school advisor, a mathematical genius, was the first in his family to attend college. He started at community college. His professors recognized his genius and helped him eventually successfully transfer to an UC. He went to a different one for grad school. The first time he flew in an airplane was when Cornell University flew him out for a job interview.

I had another grad school professor who was also the first in his family to attend college. He was “discovered” based on PSAT scores and was a NMS. Ditto for a high school classmate who was highly gifted, including in math, but from a profoundly poor and very, very dysfunctional family. Both got full rides to good, but not top schools, but went on to earn PhDs from top schools. Now granted, this was back in the day when most didn’t prep for these exams and took them cold, so I realize the playing field is more uneven now.

But I do actually think, based on my experiences, than using test scores can in some cases help students from disadvantaged backgrounds be discovered.

I’m guessing Katherine Johnson would actually have scored very high on any mathematical aptitude test. Am I missing something as to why you think she would not?

Because even being aware of the tests is STILL a challenge and our national curricular standards are less standardized than then were 50-75 years ago.

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29 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

All As wasn’t my experience AT ALL. If the goal is punishing districts that maintain high standards, goal accomplished.

How is being skeptical of pandemic grading punishing anyone?  Frankly, I think all grades, pandemic or otherwise, should be taken with a grain of salt.

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4 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

Because even being aware of the tests is STILL a challenge and our national curricular standards are less standardized than then were 50-75 years ago.

The people I mentioned in my post did not know about the tests. They took the PSAT completely cold. Our guidance counselor just rounded some of us up one day, took us to a room, and said we were taking an exam. My classmate was the first NMS from my small, rural school. Ditto for the college professor I mentioned. His testing experience was exactly the same. These people were truly gifted in math and scored high because of that. Just as my son, who is verbally gifted, aced the PSAT verbal section when he took it completely cold as a high school sophomore. 

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18 minutes ago, daijobu said:

Jeepers, for a fraction of $27 billion, they could remodel their student union a bit.  That was a really cool NYT link you provided.  I'm having fun comparing hte colleges.  

I do appreciate schools that prioritize stuff like faculty salaries and financial aid over fancy buildings and rock climbing walls. But seems like MIT could afford to do both!

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2 minutes ago, EKS said:

How is being skeptical of pandemic grading punishing anyone?  I think all grades, pandemic or otherwise, should be taken with a grain of salt, frankly.

It punishes kids in districts/states that maintained high standards vs. curving b/c pandemic, yes. I’m not sure how this differs from being skeptical of mommy grades tho so it probably balances out.

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3 minutes ago, Frances said:

The people I mentioned in my post did not know about the tests. They took the PSAT completely cold. Our guidance counselor just rounded some of us up one day, took us to a room, and said we were taking an exam. My classmate was the first NMS from my small, rural school. Ditto for the college professor I mentioned. His testing experience was exactly the same. These people were truly gifted in math and scored high because of that. Just as my son, who is verbally gifted, aced the PSAT verbal section when he took it completely cold as a high school sophomore. 

That’s wonderful, happy to see students be able to take tests and demonstrate merit that way. I’m a proponent of TEST OPTIONAL not no test. Students need multiple ways to demonstrate merit.

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10 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

That’s wonderful, happy to see students be able to take tests and demonstrate merit that way. I’m a proponent of TEST OPTIONAL not no test. Students need multiple ways to demonstrate merit.

Ok. I guess I can see that in general, although given MITs special focus, it seems far more likely they would discover a highly gifted math student from a disadvantaged background through high test scores than some other way. How do you think they could find them if not through test scores? I’m not sure my high school’s one math teacher recognized that my classmate was a mathematical genius. 
 

I’m still trying to understand why you think Katherine Jones would have not scored well on a math aptitude test? Didn’t she go to college young and complete two majors, including math? How would test optional have helped her? It seems like she would have been exactly the type of student who might have been discovered by something like the PSAT and could possibly have gone to a more prestigious school on a full ride, if desired, because of it.

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7 minutes ago, Frances said:

Ok. I guess I can see that in general, although given MITs special focus, it seems far more likely they would discover a highly gifted math student from a disadvantaged background through high test scores than some other way. How do you think they could find them if not through test scores? I’m not sure my high school’s one math teacher recognized that my classmate was a mathematical genius. 
 

I’m still trying to understand why you think Katherine Jones would have not scored well on a math aptitude test? Didn’t she go to college young and complete two majors, including math? How would test optional have helped her? It seems like she would have been exactly the type of student who might have been discovered by something like the PSAT and could possibly have gone to a more prestigious school on a full ride, if desired, because of it.

Katherine Jackson would have been better positioned to test because she had A) mentors, B) the nation’s more universal achievement standards and C) national data mining/recruitment initiatives. Optional wouldn’t have HURT because it allowed for test score submission PLUS robust teacher advocacy.

Increasingly, states are tailoring their content/learning/mastery standards to suit local, parochial political objectives that can’t be tested with a single, national test.

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24 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

That’s wonderful, happy to see students be able to take tests and demonstrate merit that way. I’m a proponent of TEST OPTIONAL not no test. Students need multiple ways to demonstrate merit.

I think that if test optional is a thing, then grades optional should also be a thing.

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2 minutes ago, EKS said:

I think that if test optional is a thing, then grades optional should also be a thing.

Mommy grades are, essentially, discretionary. There’s a reason why I had such a hard time getting appropriate placements for my kids when we moved here. The district had been burned. Goose-gander, I’m ok with that for initial placement but ALSO for on/off-ramps for kids who are placed as 1st graders and can’t keep up but never move down.

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7 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

Katherine Jackson would have been better positioned to test because she had A) mentors, B) the nation’s more universal achievement standards and C) national data mining/recruitment initiatives. Optional wouldn’t have HURT because it allowed for test score submission PLUS robust teacher advocacy.

Increasingly, states are tailoring their content/learning/mastery standards to suit local, parochial political objectives that can’t be tested with a single, national test.

I still feel like the tests can discover kids from disadvantaged backgrounds and unless a teen is highly gifted, I’m not sure how a poor test taker from a disadvantaged educational background is going to compete and thrive at a place like MIT. Also, personally, I see things somewhat differently for those interested in STEM degrees. I believe I ended up at any Ivy pursuing a PhD in Stats precisely because I didn’t attend a top undergrad like your alma mater or MIT. I was very good at math, but certainly not highly gifted or a mathematical genius. I’m also certain I would have been miserable at and woefully unprepared to be a STEM major a top 25 university at 18 coming from my small, rural high school with no AP or even honors courses and no math beyond pre-Calc. My top 100 LAC provided a wonderful, nurturing environment with tons of kids like me from small high schools. Due to my experience and that of many like me, I personally think we place too much emphasis on admission to tippy top schools.

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2 minutes ago, Frances said:

I still feel like the tests can discover kids from disadvantaged backgrounds and unless a teen is highly gifted, I’m not sure how a poor test taker from a disadvantaged educational background is going to compete and thrive at a place like MIT. Also, personally, I see things somewhat differently for those interested in STEM degrees. I believe I ended up at any Ivy pursuing a PhD in Stats precisely because I didn’t attend a top undergrad like your alma mater or MIT. I was very good at math, but certainly not highly gifted or a mathematical genius. I’m also certain I would have been miserable at and woefully unprepared to be a STEM major a top 25 university at 18 coming from my small, rural high school with no AP or even honors courses and no math beyond pre-Calc. My top 100 LAC provided a wonderful, nurturing environment with tons of kids like me from small high schools. Due to my experience and that of many like me, I personally think we place too much emphasis on admission to tippy top schools.

I actually agree with you: I just *also* think the tippy top schools would benefit from working harder to ID top, underdeveloped talent.

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On 3/29/2022 at 4:58 PM, Sneezyone said:

I actually agree with you: I just *also* think the tippy top schools would benefit from working harder to ID top, underdeveloped talent.

But the problem is, for STEM majors, there can just be too much ground to makeup when competing against the best, brightest, and most prepared. A coworker of mine started at U of Washington in engineering out of a small, rural high school which only offered math through pre-Calc. There simply was no way for her to catch up while taking all of the courses required of engineering majors. She had no family support or help, either. She ended up dropping out and many years later putting herself through undergrad and grad economic degrees. I think her story might have been very different had she gone to a place like Whitman in Washington state or even one of the lesser known LACs in the PNW. In my view, one of the biggest issues for students like this both then and now is the truly atrocious guidance counseling at most public high schools.

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58 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

That’s wonderful, happy to see students be able to take tests and demonstrate merit that way. I’m a proponent of TEST OPTIONAL not no test. Students need multiple ways to demonstrate merit.

Does that mean you think admissions should also be essay optional, transcript optional, letter of recommendation optional, etc.?

If the argument for test optional is that some kids don't test well...then what about the kids that test phenomenally but don't put in the effort to make good grades? Or the kids kids fantastic test and STEM AP scores who can't write an essay to save their lives.

Those kids still have to provide all the other parts of their application, even if they aren't flattering, explain extenuating circumstances, and hope that admissions is holistic and takes all the factors into account. I don't see why testing should be different - obviously, I don't think it should be used a rigid determiner, but I think it is perfectly fine to use it as one factor in admissions decisions.

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I also post the same thing every time this comes up, so, broken record.  For tippy top schools, test optional is not a real thing (for example, go look at the data set of how many of the *accepted* kids submitted a test score, even for a school that has supposedly been test optional for many years (like Bowdoin). Last I checked for one of them, it added to above 100% (so, some kids are submitting both ACT and SAT). So not only are they looking at test scores, but this “we are TO, apply apply apply” Is really a disservice to kids who would not have a chance. So MIT being honest about what they are doing is to be commended. They could have continued the song and dance and just collected the applications. Which impossibly, are up again this year at the tippy tops. 

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24 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

Does that mean you think admissions should also be essay optional, transcript optional, letter of recommendation optional, etc.?

If the argument for test optional is that some kids don't test well...then what about the kids that test phenomenally but don't put in the effort to make good grades? Or the kids kids fantastic test and STEM AP scores who can't write an essay to save their lives.

Those kids still have to provide all the other parts of their application, even if they aren't flattering, explain extenuating circumstances, and hope that admissions is holistic and takes all the factors into account. I don't see why testing should be different - obviously, I don't think it should be used a rigid determiner, but I think it is perfectly fine to use it as one factor in admissions decisions.

You’re talking about my kid, the one with awesome grades who doesn’t test well. No, I’m for ALL factors receiving equal consideration, but that would cost time/money and we can’t have that. More transparency is better than less tho.

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1 hour ago, Sneezyone said:

It punishes kids in districts/states that maintained high standards vs. curving b/c pandemic, yes. I’m not sure how this differs from being skeptical of mommy grades tho so it probably balances out.

57 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

Mommy grades are, essentially, discretionary.

I'm not talking about mommy grades here.  One should be skeptical of grades given by real teachers in real schools.  

 

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38 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

Does that mean you think admissions should also be essay optional, transcript optional, letter of recommendation optional, etc.?

If the argument for test optional is that some kids don't test well...then what about the kids that test phenomenally but don't put in the effort to make good grades? Or the kids kids fantastic test and STEM AP scores who can't write an essay to save their lives.

Those kids still have to provide all the other parts of their application, even if they aren't flattering, explain extenuating circumstances, and hope that admissions is holistic and takes all the factors into account. I don't see why testing should be different - obviously, I don't think it should be used a rigid determiner, but I think it is perfectly fine to use it as one factor in admissions decisions.

It's optional. Those kids are still being admitted at higher rates. And there are no schools that won't look at your AP scores at all. There's no penalty for not doing well on tests at test optional schools and no penalty for having amazing AP scores at test blind schools, because they still look at those tests. This whole boo hoo no one cares about my kid's perfect SAT score just doesn't hold water outside of the UC's. A lot of schools care a lot about that perfect SAT. And all the schools, even the UC's, care about those AP scores. And it's still a bigger edge at the vast majority of schools than any other metric.

 

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One of the things that I think - again, whether you're for the tests or against them - that everyone has to remember throughout - is that colleges don't owe your kid anything and that college acceptance is not linear. I was talking with someone today about two kids - lets call them Ann and Beth. Ann got into A and B, but not C and D. Beth got into C and D, but not A and B. Because it's not a straight up contest where every kid in America is assigned a rank. Schools are trying to build a class and get the types of students they want (and the money they want). And that's it. And there are lots of advocacy pieces in this - for or against tests, for or against different types of tests, not to mention around legacy and who's full pay and who isn't, and what's equitable and what isn't. But in the end, schools are going to decide and that's that. And they're not interested in making it a linear contest and they probably won't be any time soon.

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26 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

Places, locations, districts.

I'd argue that the skepticism should extend to all teachers in all schools.  There is so much you can never know about how grades come to be.  And I'm not just talking about being skeptical of As--I'm talking about being skeptical of all grades.  I am basing this on my own journey through learning to grade as well as experiences with a large number of real teachers in real schools.  Honestly, if you have a kid who is a fabulous student, you probably don't see it.

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1 hour ago, madteaparty said:

For tippy top schools, test optional is not a real thing (for example, go look at the data set of how many of the *accepted* kids submitted a test score, even for a school that has supposedly been test optional for many years (like Bowdoin). Last I checked for one of them, it added to above 100% (so, some kids are submitting both ACT and SAT). So not only are they looking at test scores, but this “we are TO, apply apply apply” Is really a disservice to kids who would not have a chance.

This is fascinating!! One of the things the UC’s pointed out after they got rid of the SAT is that the next year they saw a big increase in applications from certain racial groups—they argued that these kids had been pulling themselves out of the running, not even giving it a try.

But, if the tippy top schools are not even really looking at these kids, that is a sham.

I assume one can find a line on the common data set that breaks down the number that submitted test score just among those that were accepted? I’m going to dig through the data for the schools my kiddo has been thinking about.

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31 minutes ago, EKS said:

I'd argue that the skepticism should extend to all teachers in all schools.  There is so much you can never know about how grades come to be.  And I'm not just talking about being skeptical of As--I'm talking about being skeptical of all grades.  I am basing this on my own journey through learning to grade as well as experiences with a large number of real teachers in real schools.  Honestly, if you have a kid who is a fabulous student, you probably don't see it.

And there’s a lot you can learn through decades of historical data on how the graduates of different schools perform based on their GPAs/Grades. These schools have that.

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4 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

And there’s a lot you can learn through decades of historical data on how the graduates of different schools perform based on their GPAs/Grades. These schools have that.

Sure.  They also have data regarding test scores.  But for whatever reason we are jettisoning one and keeping the other.

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5 minutes ago, EKS said:

Sure.  They also have data regarding test scores.  But for whatever reason we are jettisoning one and keeping the other.

Not for no reason. Evaluating all of those extra applications requires time and money. That is money that MIT is obviously not interested in spending. I, however, think it’s worth it to spend that money for an institution with a significant endowment. The risk of highly-talented students self-selecting out before they even apply is a lot higher, to me, than the risk of underprepared students getting in.

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This is off topic, but I thought it would be interesting to readers of this thread.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/03/14/what-happens-when-an-elite-public-school-becomes-open-to-all

Lowell High School is a public San Francisco high school, where you are admitted on merit, I believe it's a test score.  During the pandemic they admitted students based on lottery.  This follows that freshman class of students who won the Lowell lottery.  

"One freshman who she’d thought was slacking off turned out to have a third-grade reading level: he wasn’t truculent, just petrified."

“I have three times as many students as usual failing—instead of one or two, I have three to six,” Wenning, the biology teacher, told me. “I have some students who have done no work the whole first grading period.”

“I’m at the end of my rope in what I can offer,” he told me. “I don’t think some of these students would be doing well at any high school, which makes me wonder why they wanted to come to Lowell.”

“The students who are struggling the most in this first grading period are our ninth-grade students,” he said. About ten per cent had a D or lower in at least one subject; the average freshman G.P.A.s that autumn fell ten per cent from what they had been before the pandemic.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, daijobu said:

This is off topic, but I thought it would be interesting to readers of this thread.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/03/14/what-happens-when-an-elite-public-school-becomes-open-to-all

Lowell High School is a public San Francisco high school, where you are admitted on merit, I believe it's a test score.  During the pandemic they admitted students based on lottery.  This follows that freshman class of students who won the Lowell lottery.  

"One freshman who she’d thought was slacking off turned out to have a third-grade reading level: he wasn’t truculent, just petrified."

“I have three times as many students as usual failing—instead of one or two, I have three to six,” Wenning, the biology teacher, told me. “I have some students who have done no work the whole first grading period.”

“I’m at the end of my rope in what I can offer,” he told me. “I don’t think some of these students would be doing well at any high school, which makes me wonder why they wanted to come to Lowell.”

“The students who are struggling the most in this first grading period are our ninth-grade students,” he said. About ten per cent had a D or lower in at least one subject; the average freshman G.P.A.s that autumn fell ten per cent from what they had been before the pandemic.

 

 

They wanted to come to freaking learn!! You’re a teacher!! Talk to them!! Meet them where they are and teach!! I am beyond frustrated by the idea that great schools should just take the cream, style it, and declare themselves chefs. You want to achieve more equity, that’s a chance. You have motivated kids who need help. Help them.

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1 hour ago, rzberrymom said:

This is fascinating!! One of the things the UC’s pointed out after they got rid of the SAT is that the next year they saw a big increase in applications from certain racial groups—they argued that these kids had been pulling themselves out of the running, not even giving it a try.

But, if the tippy top schools are not even really looking at these kids, that is a sham.

I assume one can find a line on the common data set that breaks down the number that submitted test score just among those that were accepted? I’m going to dig through the data for the schools my kiddo has been thinking about.

I’m looking now at the 2020 data set for Bowdoin since it was mentioned in this thread. I correct my post above in that it describes *enrolled* Fall 2020 class profile not just*admitted*. 67% submitted SAT scores and 40% ACT. But my math won’t get me into MIT 😉 

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8 hours ago, Sneezyone said:

They wanted to come to freaking learn!! You’re a teacher!! Talk to them!! Meet them where they are and teach!! I am beyond frustrated by the idea that great schools should just take the cream, style it, and declare themselves chefs. You want to achieve more equity, that’s a chance. You have motivated kids who need help. Help them.

But shouldn't the cream of the crop be allowed a place of their own where they are the focus?

Realistically, there are only finite amounts of funding, resources and teacher time. If a high school is remediating students who are reading at a third grade level, that is taking a huge chunk of those resources away from teaching the on-level students the on-level skills they need...and that is not even addressing the gifted and advanced students who also need and deserve differentiated instruction.

I commend those students for wanting to learn...though clearly the ones who "have done no work the whole first grading period” are not demonstrating much commitment. OTOH, if I decide I want to learn the violin, that does not mean that Juilliard should be forced to let me in with no qualifications just because I "want to learn". 

I firmly believe that our public schools should offer remediation to high schoolers that can't read - that is clearly the ethical thing to do that is in the best interest of our society. But I don't thing every public school in a district has to have that as its mission, and I think it is also ethical and in our society's best interest to groom our most prepared students to tackle our most intractable problems.

Think of the tragedy if a student who could have gone on to cure cancer instead misses out on some of their biology instruction because their teacher is dealing with a bunch of students who can't read, can't do math, aren't doing any work, etc. A teacher dealing with that is not one who will have the energy to offer a deep, conceptual, thought-provoking biology course - they are much more likely to resort to simplistic multiple-choice just to try to make it through the day and allow more of the kids to scrape together a passing grade. By trying to meet everyone's needs, we can fail to meet anyone's needs.

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30 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

But shouldn't the cream of the crop be allowed a place of their own where they are the focus?

Realistically, there are only finite amounts of funding, resources and teacher time. If a high school is remediating students who are reading at a third grade level, that is taking a huge chunk of those resources away from teaching the on-level students the on-level skills they need...and that is not even addressing the gifted and advanced students who also need and deserve differentiated instruction.

I commend those students for wanting to learn...though clearly the ones who "have done no work the whole first grading period” are not demonstrating much commitment. OTOH, if I decide I want to learn the violin, that does not mean that Juilliard should be forced to let me in with no qualifications just because I "want to learn". 

I firmly believe that our public schools should offer remediation to high schoolers that can't read - that is clearly the ethical thing to do that is in the best interest of our society. But I don't thing every public school in a district has to have that as its mission, and I think it is also ethical and in our society's best interest to groom our most prepared students to tackle our most intractable problems.

Think of the tragedy if a student who could have gone on to cure cancer instead misses out on some of their biology instruction because their teacher is dealing with a bunch of students who can't read, can't do math, aren't doing any work, etc. A teacher dealing with that is not one who will have the energy to offer a deep, conceptual, thought-provoking biology course - they are much more likely to resort to simplistic multiple-choice just to try to make it through the day and allow more of the kids to scrape together a passing grade. By trying to meet everyone's needs, we can fail to meet anyone's needs.

If you read the article, that’s not, in fact, what happened. The students received support services and met expectations. No one was harmed by their presence. The next cancer cure-r might even be among them.

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11 hours ago, Sneezyone said:

Not for no reason. Evaluating all of those extra applications requires time and money. That is money that MIT is obviously not interested in spending. I, however, think it’s worth it to spend that money for an institution with a significant endowment. The risk of highly-talented students self-selecting out before they even apply is a lot higher, to me, than the risk of underprepared students getting in.

I think you're assuming that the only people doing self selecting are those with high GPAs/lower test scores, when it also goes the other way with lower GPAs/higher test scores.  You can say that test optional and test blind are different, and they are, but frankly, a school that is test optional is signaling that they think that grades tell them everything that they need to know about a student and that they won't really pay attention to test scores.    

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11 hours ago, rzberrymom said:

This is fascinating!! One of the things the UC’s pointed out after they got rid of the SAT is that the next year they saw a big increase in applications from certain racial groups—they argued that these kids had been pulling themselves out of the running, not even giving it a try.

But, if the tippy top schools are not even really looking at these kids, that is a sham.

I assume one can find a line on the common data set that breaks down the number that submitted test score just among those that were accepted? I’m going to dig through the data for the schools my kiddo has been thinking about.

It's not a sham. There are definitely kids getting into tippy top schools without test scores. Is it all it's cracked up to be? Are the kids they say they want to benefit actually the ones being benefitted? Or is it actually increasing diversity? Is it better for equity? I mean, those are questions that are definitely left to be answered. And it's definitely the case that at all the Ivy+ schools that we have good data for, there's a strong benefit in supplying a good score - they're admitting more students who do than don't - sometimes even when the numbers look relatively close. But it's not "fake." There are many students who are applying and being accepted without test scores. That's just all there is to it. And claims otherwise are just factually untrue.

ETA: Not only are the claims that it's a "sham" factually untrue, but the same people making those sorts of claims are the same people who are also claiming that MIT and other colleges have admitted an underprepared class because those kids didn't have test scores. So it's also a logical fail. Again, that's not a statement on whether they should go back to using the tests or not - some schools are going to (or already have) and others won't. 

Edited by Farrar
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Juliard never required an SAT for a reason. Nobody would argue they should get rid of the audition, but on a second thought, maybe some here would.

Caltech is test blind. Sure. I bet most kids they admit have qualified for AIME and wrapped up calculus in middle school. Of course SAT is irrelevant.

It is puzzling to me that people would oppose and argue over an algebra test (which is what essentially SAT’s math section is) for an institution that requires every single one of its students to survive their hell version of calculus. And yes, MIT calculus (go watch lectures online) is not like your normal CC calculus. And equally puzzling to me that any kid who wants to study STEM shouldn’t be expected to show math proficiency through a standardized test. but I realize ideologues are powerful. 

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