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MIT is going back to requiring scores for 2022-23


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I am coming late to the conversation, but I have to say that if we talk about using college as a leveling tool to confer life changing benefits to underprivileged or otherwise disadvantaged students, I think we are doing a grave disservice.... at least in certain fields.  In some fields students can eke by, but it is ridiculous to think students can be thrown into Engineering, for instance, and be able to magically catch up.  The fault runs much deeper and it is not up to the college to fix problems that were rooted in the entire k-12 experience.  That's 13 years in the making. 

My husband and I both went to college top of the class from our high school.  I was an English major, and while it was obvious I came in with a poorer education, English is not a degree that needs a ton of prior knowledge. Just the ability to read, take good notes, and string decent sentences together.  My husband was the math "whiz" and almost failed out of Engineering in college.  He hated every minute of it, and it was obvious how unprepared he was.   What good does that do anyone?  

That being said, USNA did have a prep year program for candidates who were close to ready but not quite there academically.   Who would willingly pay college tuition to catch up, when a student has already spent 13 years to get to that point? It is so unfair. 

This is all a separate discussion from gifted funding.  I think it's a travesty to attempt to level gifted programs, but then I homeschooled for six years because I knew the school wasn't ever going to give enough.  

 

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5 hours ago, Sneezyone said:

Please don't take this the wrong way but are *you* mediocre? By societal measures, those of us who chose/choose to stay home to care for, raise, and educate our kids despite (or because of) our talents are deadbeats. I do not subscribe to that view but that's what this suggests. If there's no objective/external value placed on your knowledge or achievement then it doesn't exist. I reject that.

When I use the word mediocre, it has nothing to do with anyone's day job or lack thereof. Einstein was still a genius when he was a patent clerk. Mark Twain was just as brilliant when he was piloting a steamboat.

I am most certainly a mediocre swimmer, a mediocre artist, and my sense of direction doesn't even rise to the level of mediocre. But in the context of this discussion, we are talking about intellect and academic skill, and in those arenas I am not mediocre.

What I see/saw in myself that was lacking in the vast majority of my classmates was a thirst and curiosity for knowledge of all kinds, a drive to challenge myself, an ability to absorb information very quickly and make deep connections between ideas, and an incredibly strong work ethic and commitment to goals I set for myself at an abnormally young age. Plus, obviously, my ease with significantly accelerated classes, my test scores, and my 4.7 GPA (out of 5) at MIT.

All of that is why I say that my school offered no gifted education. They truly offered me nothing until 7th grade, but even then, all they could offer was there same, standard classes, just taken sooner. That is not gifted education, because gifted kids fundamentally think differently. Letting a 12 year old take the regular plug-and-chug algebra class that you typically offer to 14 year olds is not gifted education, and it is squandering some of society's brightest minds.

Edited by wendyroo
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2 hours ago, Sneezyone said:

Because the students they’re testing had at least two years of pandemic school. It’s premature.

Even two years of severely substandard schooling should not significantly impact a prospective MIT student's ability to do well on the SAT. It tests algebra and reading for information at a high school level - those should not be difficult for anyone even considering applying to MIT.

Accepted MIT students have an average SAT score of 1535, so that means on average they missed 3-4 questions total. When you are scoring in that range, it means you have an absolute, rock-solid understanding of the concepts inside and out, and that score variations are just a matter of luck.

MIT has said many times that test scores are not a huge factor in ranking applicants and that they do not have definitive cut off scores. So, if a student would have hypothetically scored 1540 in a world with no pandemic, but instead scores 1530 due to the pandemic, it is not going to tank their MIT application.

It's MIT - acceptance is a complete crap shoot, and obviously many, many highly qualified students will be rejected - it is a lottery school for everyone.

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@wendyroo When I try to categorize the types of students who are admitted to MIT (having very limited personal experience) I think of people like:

(1) High achievers in math/science: so like winners of USAMO, USACO, USAPhO, etc., maybe Science Bowl winners

(2) Makers: students who can build amazing things

(3)  Science Fair types and others do advanced research 

Is this accurate?  Is there another archetypal MIT student that I'm missing?  (I'm thinking a distant 4th would be the Car Talk guys.)  

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6 minutes ago, daijobu said:

@wendyroo When I try to categorize the types of students who are admitted to MIT (having very limited personal experience) I think of people like:

(1) High achievers in math/science: so like winners of USAMO, USACO, USAPhO, etc., maybe Science Bowl winners

(2) Makers: students who can build amazing things

(3)  Science Fair types and others do advanced research 

Is this accurate?  Is there another archetypal MIT student that I'm missing?  (I'm thinking a distant 4th would be the Car Talk guys.)  

My experience is that there is a lot of overlap between those groups...but also that when I was at MIT (class of 2003) there were plenty of students that didn't hold any of those sky-high distinctions.

None of the people I knew there had built a jet engine in their garage or won the USAMO...at least as far as I know - we didn't spend much time talking about high school.

I think MIT's goal wasn't just to pick out the students who had had the resources to already achieve huge goals, but to also look for the students who had the potential to do so given the resources.

So, mostly we were just a group of really, really, smart students who got stuff done. Academically and recreationally we were curious and driven and willing to take risks and try out solutions. Those traits took many different forms, both during school and after graduation, and students rarely neatly fit one box because we were all cramming so much into every day that our interests were broad and often followed rabbit trails.

It truly was both an amazing and a hellacious place to go to school.

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47 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

My experience is that there is a lot of overlap between those groups...but also that when I was at MIT (class of 2003) there were plenty of students that didn't hold any of those sky-high distinctions.

None of the people I knew there had built a jet engine in their garage or won the USAMO...at least as far as I know - we didn't spend much time talking about high school.

So my era was significantly earlier, but all of the people I've known who went to Ivy League and Ivy League caliber schools (and there have been a lot of them) never did the over the top things in high school that kids seem to be doing today.  They were simply smart, interested, and interesting.  It's too bad things have changed.

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1 hour ago, daijobu said:

@wendyroo When I try to categorize the types of students who are admitted to MIT (having very limited personal experience) I think of people like:

(1) High achievers in math/science: so like winners of USAMO, USACO, USAPhO, etc., maybe Science Bowl winners

(2) Makers: students who can build amazing things

(3)  Science Fair types and others do advanced research 

Is this accurate?  Is there another archetypal MIT student that I'm missing?  (I'm thinking a distant 4th would be the Car Talk guys.)  

The student I know who went to MIT recently and was featured as an incoming freshman in MIT publications did not have any of those things. They were definitely advanced in math and science and a strong, driven student, but their high achievement ECs were not at all math or science related (and not music either). They did very well at MIT, as expected.

As long as you have the science and math chops, I still think they are putting together a diverse class, just like everywhere else.

Edited by Frances
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On 4/1/2022 at 12:28 PM, ScoutTN said:

Your argument seems to be that MIT is only truly an option for children of the elite.

Wanted to comment on this. My ds's significant other is a first in her family to university. She grew up in a 3 bedroom apartment with 10 people living in it. Mom, Dad, 2 kids in one room; Aunt, uncle and 2 kids in 1 room, and grandparents in the third. She figured out how to make things happen for herself because her parents and her high school could not. MIT accepts and supports kids like her. Her goal? To build fairness into the AI systems for healthcare.

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3 minutes ago, lewelma said:

Wanted to comment on this. My ds's significant other is a first in her family to university. She grew up in a 3 bedroom apartment with 10 people living in it. Mom, Dad, 2 kids in one room; Aunt, uncle and 2 kids in 1 room, and grandparents in the third. She figured out how to make things happen for herself because her parents and her high school could not. MIT accepts and supports kids like her. Her goal? To build fairness into the AI systems for healthcare.

This was definitely true when I went to MIT. I would say most of my classmates were from a slightly higher socioeconomic level than I was at the time, but not the tippy top elite. Many came from public schools, though certainly the nation's very best public schools were over-represented. Most, but not all, had parents who had gone to college. Most, but not all, had opportunities like Model UN, Science Olympiad, music lessons, etc.

But I was there too, with none of those opportunities, never having gone on a vacation beyond local campgrounds. My parents barely made it through high school due to poverty in their families, and had managed to achieve stability for their children, we never had to worry about food, shelter, or basic clothing, but few of the trappings of middle class life.

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27 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

I have always assumed MIT was for geniuses. We would never even dream looking that way. 

I certainly would not want to be in the classes my ds has taken. 

However, MIT is also committed to the student that it takes from underprivileged homes. A decent percentage of students do come to MIT having NOT taken calculus (maybe 10%?). This is why they have a 'stretch' calculus class. That covers the content in 1 semester plus the 1 month January term.  This gives students time to go about 25% slower through the content. I think this is a pretty unusual option for university, especially a tech school.

In addition, MIT has a school within the school call the Experimental Study Group, which is a first year program of small group learning experiences for all the core science requirements. So student who want more one on one instruction can choose ESG. 

https://esg.mit.edu/

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13 hours ago, lewelma said:

I think this is a pretty unusual option for university, especially a tech school.

WPI has a Calculus 1 course that incorporates review of key precalculus concepts.  It takes twice the time of their normal Calculus 1 course, but since they do 7 week semesters (you read that right!), it comes out to taking the same amount of time as it would at a university with normal 15 week semesters.   My son took this course, and it was a good choice for him.

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18 hours ago, wendyroo said:

It truly was both an amazing and a hellacious place to go to school

This is how I feel about UC Berkeley.  The absolute best and worst college I could have chosen.  Trial by fire for an undiagnosed Autistic kid, but the peers I desperately needed at a price we could afford.  That’s life sometimes.  

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42 minutes ago, Lawyer&Mom said:

This is how I feel about UC Berkeley.  The absolute best and worst college I could have chosen.  Trial by fire for an undiagnosed Autistic kid, but the peers I desperately needed at a price we could afford.  That’s life sometimes.  

My kid has been diagnosed, and I feel like even if he were to get accepted to Berkeley (which I don't see happening due to his extra curriculars being so mundane)  I just wouldn't want him in that kind of pressure cooker environment.  Right now I see him doing well in an honors program in a less competitive atmosphere. So finding peers but with not insane levels of stress.  

 

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On 4/1/2022 at 10:24 PM, lewelma said:

I think this is a pretty unusual option for university, especially a tech school.

 

I work at and my dd attends a tech school and they too have a similar option and has for at least the lat 20 years.

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On 3/29/2022 at 10:51 AM, calbear said:

Was chatting with my friend last night and she wrote this:

I have a friend who has family deeply rooted in Ivy admission, she just shared with me that is a common consensus thatn many of the campuses the last two freshman classes are most unprepared ever admitted. She inferred they believe the no SAT/AC has failed.

Coming late to the discussion since I was traveling, apologies if tis has already been mentioned.

I am a college professor and academic advisor, and yes, our observation is that the current class is significantly less prepared than the years before. And you know why? Many of them didn't have a decent last 3 semesters of highschool because there was a freaking PANDEMIC.

IMO, it has absolutely nothing to do with test or no test - but with the fact that perfunctory online education (compounded by not tech-savvy teachers) does not produce the results that in-person school does. Who would have thought.
In addition, these students suffered from lack of opportunities to develop self-reliance and maturity: they did not get their driver licenses at 16, did not have the opportunities for jobs and extracurriculars - all aspects that add personal development. They are less mature and less resourceful - thanks to Covid. No amount of testing would change that.

 

Edited by regentrude
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3 hours ago, regentrude said:

Coming late to the discussion since I was traveling, apologies if tis has already been mentioned.

I am a college professor and academic advisor, and yes, our observation is that the current class is significantly less prepared than the years before. And you know why? Many of them didn't have a decent last 3 semesters of highschool because there was a freaking PANDEMIC.

IMO, it has absolutely nothing to do with test or no test - but with the fact that perfunctory online education (compounded by not tech-savvy teachers) does not produce the results that in-person school does. Who would have thought.
In addition, these students suffered from lack of opportunities to develop self-reliance and maturity: they did not get their driver licenses at 16, did not have the opportunities for jobs and extracurriculars - all aspects that add personal development. They are less mature and less resourceful - thanks to Covid. No amount of testing would change that.

 

I agree with you, but the issue I keep seeing is that public schools are actively allowing it to happen.   NCLB, pandemic stress,  and no one willing to hold high schoolers accountable.   Examples of this- due dates are suggestions, papers can be handed in the entire semester.  Lowering expectations in classes where students struggle- particularly science and math.  Retakes on tests until you like your grade.  Cheating- like copy and paste instead of writing out answers.  I know it varies by school, but these things seem to be pretty common- public school teachers are annoyed,  but administration (and parents) want kids to pass.  

(Whispers) The current graduating class switched to Common Core math in 3rd grade- I know bc my girls changed in 2nd and 4th.  Has it created the math sense predicted???

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