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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

  • HRS1861HRS1861 Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    TL;DR there is basically no solution.

    The poor and minorities have, on average, lower standardized test scores, hence the objection towards it. That being said, it is one of the few objective measures out there, and unfortunately if a student can have a better quality of education, they will inevitably score higher on a single standard applied to everyone. I feel like this is the same anywhere across the board - the wealthier you are the higher chance you have to succeed.

    If there are tests of intrinsic ability - say something like admissions test for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge instead, it could potentially better control for class/race differences. Even then, if a student is wealthy, goes to a top private school and is nurtured in critical thinking and testtaking, they'll still do better.

    I also want to note that poor childhood nutrition and education could affect IQ scores, which could in turn affect standardized test performance.

    Of course, we can get rid of standardized tests. Then of course, we have as the article states, grade inflation. How can an admissions officer tell an A from one school to another? Some schools are deflated, others inflated.

    There is really no good solution that works for everyone. You can either have a single standard that inevitably benefits the rich because of better opportunities+schooling or remove any semblance of objectivity from college admissions.
  • AlumonAlumon Registered User Posts: 64 Junior Member
    "There is really no good solution that works for everyone."

    Just because you or I cannot see a solution now doesn't mean that there isn't a solution.

  • HRS1861HRS1861 Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    We can spend hours talking about hypotheticals, and sure, there might be a solution down the line. What I stated, and what I'm trying to state is that as things currently stand, standardized tests are the only objective measure available to colleges, but many complain about the test being unfair to the poor and minorities. As things CURRENTLY stand, unless we can fill two mutually exclusive demands (with basically all standardized tests hurting the poor and minorities), we will never have a solution for all stakeholders in this issue.
  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 1,064 Senior Member
    edited August 2017
    There is data showing that colleges take lower score ranges for certain racial / ethnic groups than other groups.
    The test is fair and objective. Anyone who wants to do better can use a variety of free resources, which are just as good as those you pay for (ie, Khan Academy or self-studying from SAT book vs. attending a prep class).
  • HRS1861HRS1861 Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    edited August 2017
    Therein lies the problem - poor kids and minorities are held to a lower standard for testing, hence removing the entire point of these tests - standardization.

    On any measure of academic ability, on average, the poor and minorities (with the exception of Asians and Jews) score poorer. What this suggests is that on average, they are less academically competent. Believe it or not, Khan Academy, books and expensive prep classes can only help so much - if a kid goes to an inner city school or a dilapidated schoolhouse in Appalachia, they are bound to have a lower quality of education. That will translate into testing, because prep materials cannot alone teach the various skills tested. It can be difficult, unless done consistently in class, to improve skills like reading comprehension and certain mathematical techniques.

    In sum, sure the testing is objective, I'm not disputing that. However, as long as there is a large group of people who want racially equal results, and another group that wants standardization, you'll never reach a consensus.
  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 1,064 Senior Member
    But then, if the academic measures are lower for certain ethnic/income groups, then they are less prepared for college level education, which is what the SAT purports to measure. Who do you want building the bridge or designing airplanes...the 700 math SAT or the 500?
  • HRS1861HRS1861 Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    I think we are in agreement. I never contested what you are saying.
  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 1,064 Senior Member
    Agree to Agree! :)
  • msdynamite85msdynamite85 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    I think that the government should hire a strong social media programmer like mark zuckerberg to create a round the clock online learning community that would aim to provide the poor and minority students a structured study plan and encouragement and motivation that wealthier children benefit from.

    For example set a group of poor 4th grade African American boys a goal of reading one story book a week but create an online book club where once a week they just log on and then talk about what they read with other kids their age plus an older leader who is trained to challenge their comprehension and critical thinking skills.
  • NoPlayNoPlay Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    edited January 26
    This is obvious.

    High school in Texas is hell, rank is king, and it's a dog eat dog world in high school. Kids are having to take 3 APs in freshman year, and up to 5 or 6 in sophomore year just because AP classes are on weighted 6.0 scales and ranks are on a weighted scale.

    Everyone in the top 10% cheats in some way or form, hell our entire district has a reputation of cheating.

    The amount of pressure put on kids is absolutely insane. And this is just to get into UT Austin.

    Grades are so inflated due to the broken school system and college admission officers won't recognize the difference.

    I'm a sophomore in high school in TX, and I don't rlly want to take 4 APs, but to just be in the middle of the pack, I have to. I am no means a great student.
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 1,599 Senior Member
    @NoPlay that is so interesting and unfortunate. You are absolutely right for feeling that there is too much pressure on you and I totally understand why you feel like you have to keep up. Ugh. I feel so bad for you guys.

    I'm not sure what the answer is. There seems to be more of a shift towards GPA counting more now than SAT/ACT and maybe we have opened a new can of worms.

    I am in NJ and I do college advising and we have similar issues but they are not as bad as what you are describing in Texas. We have some schools, the better schools in the state, that have not given in to the pressure of grade inflation. If the schools ranked, this wouldn't be a big deal. But many of them do NOT rank so the problem is that these kids in the better schools are competing with kids from similar socioeconomic backgrounds that have better grades because their schools have grade inflation. Make sense? So I have some students that will do worse in the college admissions process because their school is tough on grading.

    I wonder if this new mess will start to make standardized testing more important. Backing out the problem of access to tutors and better educational systems based on wealth (which is a huge thing to back out, of course!), in the end it might be a more fair way to evaluate students.

    How does UT Austin use test scores? Is that a factor at all in who gets in from the state? What if you are top 20% but you have a 34 or 35 on your ACT and most of the top 10% doesn't? Does that help at all.

    Any idea how the rules are different for out of staters?
  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 1,064 Senior Member
    @collegemomjam I'm in your state - and thank you for addressing this! Yes, our HS is one of those that deflates grades more than inflates. I've tried to explain to our college counselors that our kids look worse in college admissions (and for merit scholarships that are based primarily on GPA and test scores), due to this grade deflation.

    Plus, there are many kids taking lower level classes and getting higher grades, and ending up with higher class rank. Then some scholarships, you must be Top 10% of the class by rank. That makes no sense. Don't the colleges understand this?
  • NoPlayNoPlay Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    edited January 26

    Texas I think has one of the worst, if not THE worst cases of pressure on students. The whole auto admit if in top 10% is hilariously stupid. I'm in one of the most competitive high schools in the state and 50% of the high school are Asians and Indians(I am one as well). The cut off for top 10 percent this year is 5.42. That's how hard it is. You'd have to take 10-15 AP classes at the end of first semester of senior year.

    I could go to some trash town and high and get ranked top 6% easy and get into UT Austin. That's how unfair the system is.The people in less competitive districts are getting the big end of the stick

    UT Austin is the only public school that is able to lower the top 10% rule. This year they've lowered it to 6% thankfully, so more people who aren't ranked can get in. However, schools like Texas A&M, Baylor, still have top 10%...

    The way UT Austin works is this. Screw your ECS, screw your SAT/ACT score, if you're ranked 6% you're in.

    The fact that admission officers don't take account of competitiveness is just another aspect of a broken system. I told my younger brother he has to take the CBE and get into Algebra 2 or Calc AB by freshman yr(he's a 6th grader now) because the GPA inflation would be so high by then.

    Thanks for expressing concern. I think the Texas legislature should revoke the 10% auto admit as fast as possible because it's turning high school into a hell-hole at the start of freshman year
  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 1,064 Senior Member
    Yeah...it's a no-brainer that it's easier to be Top 10% at a lower-rated HS than at a higher-rated HS.
    I also think a 6.0 scale is ridiculous and just inflates grades. It must be confusing to colleges when some HS are on 6.0 scale, some 5.0, some 4.3, some 4.0; some weight, some don't, etc.
  • FoxWarriorFoxWarrior Registered User Posts: 80 Junior Member
    edited January 26
    I will never understand a school that has more than one val. The SAT, AP and GPA should be close to represent an average. This is just my opinion. As far as taking easy classes for the A, I think that is why I support weighted grades. Not all classes are equal.
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