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A's on the rise in U.S. report cards, but SATs flounder


Replies to: A's on the rise in U.S. report cards, but SATs flounder

  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 589 Member
    @bernie - good points. I agree. And the more rigorous HS where B's are common had stellar college placement last year. I do think selective colleges like these kids that are used to true rigor, have "grit" and can accept less-than-perfect-A grades.

    The only problem is - that it was at that *same HS* where the kids in standard classes often are higher in Class Rank, because they have 3.8-4.0 averages from taking easy, standard level classes (still "college prep"). They are benefiting from being at a high quality HS, and having good GPA. But I suppose the colleges can see that they took easy classes, and that in many cases their SAT/ACT will be lower.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 4,622 Senior Member
    I suppose what they should do is look at gaps. A high GPA and a low SAT/ACT should be a red flag especially if AP/IB do not paint a more favorable picture. But at the same time, a low GPA in the context of the school (especially at less competitive schools) should still be a red flag even with high SAT. '

    Also it really depends. If a college or university is known to be difficult because of the volume and level of the GRADED workload, then maybe grades and class rank are a better indicator. If it is a rigorous engineering school, you would want evidence of aptitude in math, problem solving skills, and work ethic, so math SAT (but maybe more so AP/IB calculus or CS) and high GPA may be more valuable (if a very elite engineering school or program, then you may even give a serious edge to those who competed in their discipline of choice and excelled because this means that talent in the field goes far beyond what HS level classroom learning can indicate). At a heavy workload LAC, perhaps GPA and AP/IB scores (and amount taken) may be better as well as evidence of the ability to write very well. At a more standard medium sized or large research university, where tests may be a bigger portion of the grading than other assignments and tests are often basic (because courses, especially at intro. and intermediate levels may use exams with lower level items and may have a lot of multiple choice), then testing ability may be most indicative.

    What should not happen is extreme splitting of hairs over students with elite test scores and great GPAs. I think selective schools are aware of this which is why the selection looks random. It is really hard to discriminate between elite applicants by simply looking at those stats. They have to look at the nature of academics at the institution, the students interests, the demographics they want (in terms of talent types, ethnicity, gender, etc) and see how many people fit the profile at the time. To choose the shiniest based on those two metrics may result in lots of fool's gold so they just choose based on other criteria with the fact in mind that a range of elite level students will be able to do well. They don't all need to have near perfect GPA and SAT.
  • oliveannesleyoliveannesley Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    To be fair, many of the students who post here are above average-- especially those willing to post their stats.
  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School Registered User Posts: 2,829 Senior Member
    I was happy the hear ehs where on the rise until I realized I was in Canada.
  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School Registered User Posts: 2,829 Senior Member
    I was happy the hear ehs where on the rise until I realized I was in Canada.
  • JerseyParentsJerseyParents Registered User Posts: 237 Junior Member
    if you just "realized" you were in Canada that may signal a larger problem - one that leads to double posting

    that aside D18s school stopped reporting class rank. Its not necessary. A kid with a 4.0 unweighted, eight AP 5s and a 1500 is going to be ranked near the top of his class. What number? Does it really matter?
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 1,042 Senior Member
    I am trying to help a student with the admissions process this year who has a very solid ACT score but the grades don't match. This is because he attends one of the better high schools in the state that does NOT have grade inflation. I am worried that it will hurt him though in the admissions process. So while his B+ or so average is a very solid average for this school, I'm worried that he will be competing with kids with better GPA's and similar scores that are coming from the schools that inflate grades (which seem to be the new norm, as this thread suggests).

    Like many, this school also does not rank, not even percentiles. I feel like this can hurt him too because his class standing is probably not that bad because of the grade deflation...but without a rank, the colleges may not pick up on this. And it seems like more and more schools are using GPA and rank more than scores in the decision process.

    Any advice??
  • 4MyKidz4MyKidz Registered User Posts: 326 Member
    @collegemomjam You raise a very important issue that I am sure many students who attend highly competitive high schools can relate to. I know this is definitely an issue here in TX where class rank is king. Maybe you should create a seperate thread so that others can see it. I am very interested in the replies.
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 1,042 Senior Member
    Great idea. I think I will. Thanks @4MyKidz!!!
  • BoilermomBoilermom Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    @ekdad212 I definetly don't think looking at class rank works universally. At my D's high school the difference in GPA between the person ranked at #19 and the person ranked at #60 is .001. The school usually has only 1 valedictorian by choice not by students GPA. They actually have to ignore GPA when picking one and the deciding factor is what classes they took. (IE: who took more AP's follwed by which AP's were harder, etc)

    I believe a lot of colleges know this and look at what school the student is coming from not just test scores and GPA's. This is why you'll here some people on these boards say "I don't get it my kid/ I have a 34 ACT and a 3.9 GPA and I didn't get in X school but know someone with a 3.3 GPA and lower ACT that did"

    Many of the more challenging universities have an admissions person for each region and that person knows how rigorous the schools in their region are or aren't.
  • quietdesperationquietdesperation Registered User Posts: 590 Member
    we were talking about this today, my D has two friends with 4.0 averages, good rigor and ecs but lowish standardized test scores (31) our hs is ranked in the top 1% in the country. they were rejected from schools like northeastern, bates, middlebury. While middlebury is a reach for everyone, we were surprised at the outright no from the other schools.

    they're both attending very good schools but in the end, I think it came down colleges discounting gpa and using standardized test scores as a common yardstick.
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 1,042 Senior Member
    @quietdesperation you raise a good point. While I think there seems to be a trend for some schools to be shifting away from standardized test scores (for social equality reasons, and I don't have a problem with that), I think in some ways it's still the determining factor for certain candidates because so many schools have grade inflation and they have to use some sort of objective data to distinguish all of the kids with straight A's. What it comes down to is that, in my opinion, if you are an un-hooked applicant, that ACT or SAT score still means A LOT. It might be what puts you over the finish line. Just my two cents.
  • imaginexximaginexx Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    I'm not surprised because students are wanting good grades instead of wanting to learn.
  • AlumonAlumon Registered User Posts: 51 Junior Member
    I personally think that SAT Subject Tests (previously known as the SAT II) and AP Exams should be weighted more heavily in a college application because using the SAT Reasoning Test as the equalizer is extremely ambiguous. How do you test for reasoning at all, especially in a test format?

    However, the SAT II and the AP Examinations actually test on legitimate subject material and provides a standard in which students can be compared against. It could also show if a student's grades were inflated or were a realistic measurement of their abilities. For example, David gets an A in his APUSH class. With this grade, he is confident about taking the AP Exam and the SAT Subject Test. However, he gets a nasty surprise in July when the Collegeboard tells him that he got a 2 and a 580 on the respective tests. In another school, Arthur gets a B in his APUSH class, but on his exams, he receives a 5 and a 770. Although many people have an aversion to standardized testing, I feel that it makes sense to test on specific subject matter in order to see a true comparison. Sadly, colleges now value that A more than the scores, which means that Arthur is going to a community college while David goes to the Ivy League.

    Any thoughts?
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 1,042 Senior Member
    @Alumon I agree that the AP exams and Subject Tests are the true tests of specific subject knowledge, but I think even more so than the regular standardized tests, those students that live in higher socioeconomic communities have an unfair advantage with those tests because they could be held back by having a really bad teacher, and typically, the stronger teachers are in the stronger schools.

    You are completely right though....the schools with grade inflation are giving A's out in AP classes where students can barely get 3's on tests. And get 500's or lower on the subject tests.

    But I do think a lot of the top schools agree with you and either require or, as of more recently like Penn "recomomend" them. But let's face it, if you have no hook and you apply to Penn without subject tests, you are really shooting yourself in the foot.

    Georgetown, where my daughter happens to be starting at next week as a freshman, still requires (or maybe now "strongly recommends") three subject tests. My daughter really had to teach herself the material from the test prep books she bought on her own because our schools really didn't prepare her well. I used to think Georgetown should lighten up on the subject test requirement, but after going through the application process with my daughter I actually respect them for maintaining the requirement. Their rationale is that they don't want to be flooded with applications by students that are just applying to as many top schools as possible....they want to keep their applications down to those that are truly interested in the school. At a time when many schools are making it easier to apply in an attempt to make their stats look better, Georgetown is resisting this temptation and keeping their standards high.

    And, for what it's worth, I think if two otherwise equal candidates are applying to the same elite schools, the one that submits higher subject tests and AP scores (especially the subject tests because not everyone sends their AP scores), the person with the higher subject tests has the advantage, for sure.
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