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OT: SLU Drops SAT/ACT Requirement

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1 hour ago, brianstl said:

This will make it easier for colleges to push legacy admissions in.

-be careful with legacy admissions, unless they have their brother's car for the weekend

Stephen Furst, Flounder in 'Animal House,' dies at 63

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6 minutes ago, cgeldmacher said:

First, schools get thousands of submissions and often have less than ten people sifting through the applications.  So, yes, it is difficult.  I have spoken with people that have been in the college admissions process.  There simply isn't enough time in the day to formulate an accurate idea of which kids' 4.0 GPAs are legit and which kids' 3.6 are better than the 4.0s.

As far as the easy classes vs. harder classes in high school, no school is going to outright say we're making classes easier, just like no high schools set out on a mission to have half their class have 4.0.  It just gradually happens that way given the landscape.

I presently have a high school junior who is going to a very competitive jesuit high school.  He took AP Physics this year.  This might be the hardest course offered in St. Louis.  He busted his ass to get a B the first semester.  He is probably going to get a C+ this semester.  I was concerned before he signed up for the class that this might happen.  He's a smart kid, but the class is famously difficult.  If he had taken an easier class, he probably would have maintained his 4.0.  Now, he'll end up showing colleges a 3.8.  If I had known that all schools were going to toss out the ACT, I would have insisted that he take an easier class and maintain his 4.0.  He's a very smart kid who now is going to look less impressive to colleges than some kid at another school who put much less work in and is not nearly as intelligent as him, but got a 4.0 because their at a school that hands them out like locker assignments.

So, that is exactly how it happens.  Kids and their parents will make that decision all over the country.  And, thus, the dumbing down continues.

I’m not sure dumbing down is the right term. There are plenty of brilliant people who never took AP classes. I’d say there may be less motivation to really challenge yourself in high school. Maybe this isn’t a perfect solution. But mandatory standardized tests certainly wasn’t a perfect solution either. And it sounds like kids can still submit test scores as part of their transcript, it just isn’t a requirement.

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4 minutes ago, cgeldmacher said:

For those that are giving examples of people who are bad test takers proving the system wrong, I agree with what you are saying also.  There should be consideration given to a kid who is an outstanding candidate, but tests poorly.  However, if you take away the ACT as a consideration, you are taking away the consideration for kids who show their intelligence on these tests.

My point is that ACT has never been the only variable considered by colleges.  There have always been kids getting in despite poor ACT scores.  If you eliminate the ACT completely from consideration, though, you take away a big tool that can be used.

Here's an example of what I mean.  Suppose that you have a very smart, very great kid who just happens to not be very athletic.  He also is not the most socially engaging kid.  He doesn't do well in interviews, but is very smart and would do exceedingly well in college.  In the past, that kid's high ACT score would be an indication to colleges that even though he wasn't on any sports teams and even though he didn't write the best essay or do well in the interview, he was still a great candidate.

Now, this kids doesn't have that metric to show school.  Instead, another kid that wouldn't be nearly as good of a college student shows colleges his 4.0 (not really earned) and that he lettered in 3 sports.  Also, he's a good bullshitter, so he did well in an interview that the school requires.  Now, this kid is looked at more highly since all colleges have to look at now are GPAs and extra-curriculars.

The ACT is valuable as a, just one, consideration for colleges.  The fact that it is now not being considered is just not a good thing.

Why do you keep saying this?  You can still take it.  It just isn't required.

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34 minutes ago, 3star_recruit said:

Again, the testing requirement has been dropped.  Kids from good high schools with 3.3 GPAs will still take it to prove they are outliers.  

I agree with that, but they may not be able to take it this year.  The tests are being canceled.

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6 minutes ago, cgeldmacher said:

For those that are giving examples of people who are bad test takers proving the system wrong, I agree with what you are saying also.  There should be consideration given to a kid who is an outstanding candidate, but tests poorly.  However, if you take away the ACT as a consideration, you are taking away the consideration for kids who show their intelligence on these tests.

My point is that ACT has never been the only variable considered by colleges.  There have always been kids getting in despite poor ACT scores.  If you eliminate the ACT completely from consideration, though, you take away a big tool that can be used.

Here's an example of what I mean.  Suppose that you have a very smart, very great kid who just happens to not be very athletic.  He also is not the most socially engaging kid.  He doesn't do well in interviews, but is very smart and would do exceedingly well in college.  In the past, that kid's high ACT score would be an indication to colleges that even though he wasn't on any sports teams and even though he didn't write the best essay or do well in the interview, he was still a great candidate.

Now, this kids doesn't have that metric to show school.  Instead, another kid that wouldn't be nearly as good of a college student shows colleges his 4.0 (not really earned) and that he lettered in 3 sports.  Also, he's a good bullshitter, so he did well in an interview that the school requires.  Now, this kid is looked at more highly since all colleges have to look at now are GPAs and extra-curriculars.

The ACT is valuable as a, just one, consideration for colleges.  The fact that it is now not being considered is just not a good thing.

I’m sorry but this exact scenario is how the professional world works. Having a piece of paper with a university’s name at the top will only ever get you so far. Interviews, having contacts and being able to bull**** is as much a part of finding most jobs as an education. Is it fair? No. It’s not. But it’s the real world. We don’t live in a Utopian paradise. People are always gonna fall through the cracks for 1 reason or another. I sympathize with kids effected by this. I really do. But is what it is.

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6 minutes ago, Reinert310 said:

I’m not sure dumbing down is the right term. There are plenty of brilliant people who never took AP classes. I’d say there may be less motivation to really challenge yourself in high school. Maybe this isn’t a perfect solution. But mandatory standardized tests certainly wasn’t a perfect solution either. And it sounds like kids can still submit test scores as part of their transcript, it just isn’t a requirement.

What you call "less motivation to challenge yourself" I call "dumbing down."  We could split hairs about whether they are the same thing, but the result will be the same.  If smarter kids are given incentive to be less motivated to challenge themselves, then the result will be things getting dumbed down.

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1 minute ago, cgeldmacher said:

What you call "less motivation to challenge yourself" I call "dumbing down."  We could split hairs about whether they are the same thing, but the result will be the same.  If smarter kids are given incentive to be less motivated to challenge themselves, then the result will be things getting dumbed down.

I’m curious how many lessons you remember from your time in high school and how often you use those skills in your current career. The kids who really want to be great, are still going to find ways to be great. Taking easier high school classes as a means to an end isn’t going to change that.

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4 minutes ago, cgeldmacher said:

What you call "less motivation to challenge yourself" I call "dumbing down."  We could split hairs about whether they are the same thing, but the result will be the same.  If smarter kids are given incentive to be less motivated to challenge themselves, then the result will be things getting dumbed down.

If the only reason "smart kids" take a test that makes them look even smarter than their peers is because colleges required it, how smart are they?  If someone else has to motivate them to press their advantage, they're going to underperform in the real world.

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Just now, Reinert310 said:

I’m sorry but this exact scenario is how the professional world works. Having a piece of paper with a university’s name at the top will only ever get you so far. Interviews, having contacts and being able to bull**** is as much a part of finding most jobs as an education. Is it fair? No. It’s not. But it’s the real world. We don’t live in a Utopian paradise. People are always gonna fall through the cracks for 1 reason or another. I sympathize with kids effected by this. I really do. But is what it is.

So, why eliminate one way to differentiate.  Still give spots to kids with lower scores who impress in other ways, but don't eliminate testing as a consideration.  Schools that do interviews don't eliminate them, because some kids are better BSers than others.  Schools still consider extracurriculars even though some kids aren't built for them (or have to work after school to help the family make ends meet).  Schools still consider, heavily, GPA even though that is just as flawed, if not more so, than testing.

Just require kids to turn in their GPAs, turn in their test scores, do their interviews, report on their extracurriculars, and then develop a system that fairly decides who the best kids are.  Choosing one imperfect measuring tool to single out makes no sense.

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2 minutes ago, Reinert310 said:

I’m curious how many lessons you remember from your time in high school and how often you use those skills in your current career. The kids who really want to be great, are still going to find ways to be great. Taking easier high school classes as a means to an end isn’t going to change that.

We're not talking about being great.  We're talking about getting into a particular college.  I agree that some people are destined for greatness.  Bill Gates doesn't have a college diploma if I recall.  However, if getting into the college you want now has much more to do with having a 4.0 than other factors, then kids are going to do what they need to do to make that happen.

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1 minute ago, cgeldmacher said:

So, why eliminate one way to differentiate.  Still give spots to kids with lower scores who impress in other ways, but don't eliminate testing as a consideration.  Schools that do interviews don't eliminate them, because some kids are better BSers than others.  Schools still consider extracurriculars even though some kids aren't built for them (or have to work after school to help the family make ends meet).  Schools still consider, heavily, GPA even though that is just as flawed, if not more so, than testing.

Just require kids to turn in their GPAs, turn in their test scores, do their interviews, report on their extracurriculars, and then develop a system that fairly decides who the best kids are.  Choosing one imperfect measuring tool to single out makes no sense.

Kids can still submit test scores, they just aren’t a requirement. If your scores enhance your transcript, submit it. If it doesn’t, don’t. The problem comes when schools have a floor for minimum tests scores that they will accept.

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1 minute ago, Reinert310 said:

Kids can still submit test scores, they just aren’t a requirement. If your scores enhance your transcript, submit it. If it doesn’t, don’t. The problem comes when schools have a floor for minimum tests scores that they will accept.

So, then schools should be okay with a kid having the option of turning in their GPA or not.  Or turning in their extracurriculars or not.  Or doing the interview or not.  Or turning in an essay or not.

Also, before this development, I don't think there were any schools that had a floor for test scores they would accept.  Most, if not all, accepted kids with lower scores if other factors showed that they would be a good applicant.

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Regardless of all the other factors, these test scores don't mean sh.!t and don't indicate anything about a student. 

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1 minute ago, cgeldmacher said:

We're not talking about being great.  We're talking about getting into a particular college.  I agree that some people are destined for greatness.  Bill Gates doesn't have a college diploma if I recall.  However, if getting into the college you want now has much more to do with having a 4.0 than other factors, then kids are going to do what they need to do to make that happen.

So am I. I don’t think taking any particular course in high school is essential for any particular career. So a kid doesn’t take any AP classes in high school, but keeps a 4.0, gets into a great school and busts his ass for 8 years and becomes a doctor. Is he any less capable of a doctor because used easier classes in high school as a means to an end of getting into an elite school and chasing his dream of being a doctor? No. Of course he’s not. He’s not any dumber because he didn’t take AP classes in high school. 

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I understand there are some middle and upper middle class parents who would prefer their kids not have to compete against the poor kid from a crappy school with a 26 ACT score.  But to use a basketball metaphor, that kid has more upside.  He's managed to become a serious student despite crappy coaching.

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Just now, 3star_recruit said:

I understand there are some middle and upper middle class parents who would prefer their kids not have to compete against the poor kid from a crappy school with a 28 ACT score.  But to use a basketball metaphor, that kid has more upside.  He's managed to become a serious student despite crappy coaching.

Dude, don't do that.  You're a poster that I respect a lot.  That's not what this debate was about.

I'm saying that the kid with the 28 ACT should be given consideration if his other attributes show that he's going to be a good college student.  That is happening.  It has been happening before discussion of eliminating the ACT requirement.  I'm just saying eliminating one measurement tool doesn't make sense.  Colleges and admissions folks are pretty good at identifying kids that will be successful despite lower testing scores.  I have spoken with them about that exact topic.  Putting those kids in college is the right choice.  However, making one measurement tool optional, like the ACT, makes as much sense as making other measurement tools like GPA, essays, extracurriculars, etc. optional.

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12 minutes ago, 3star_recruit said:

I understand there are some middle and upper middle class parents who would prefer their kids not have to compete against the poor kid from a crappy school with a 26 ACT score.

I am not involved in this topic at all since I truly don't care nor do I have an opinion on whether this is somehow good or bad, but don't think this is a great direction to take the discussion.

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I took the ACT twice did pretty good both times.

First time stoned 

Second time straight 

I did better the first time. I know this doesn’t add much to the debate but I’ve always found it interesting 🧐

 

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9 minutes ago, cgeldmacher said:

Dude, don't do that.  You're a poster that I respect a lot.  That's not what this debate was about.

I'm saying that the kid with the 28 ACT should be given consideration if his other attributes show that he's going to be a good college student.  That is happening.  It has been happening before discussion of eliminating the ACT requirement.  I'm just saying eliminating one measurement tool doesn't make sense.  Colleges and admissions folks are pretty good at identifying kids that will be successful despite lower testing scores.  I have spoken with them about that exact topic.  Putting those kids in college is the right choice.  However, making one measurement tool optional, like the ACT, makes as much sense as making other measurement tools like GPA, essays, extracurriculars, etc. optional.

I hope I’m not coming off as a jerk. I understand your perspective, even if I don’t agree with it. Even if we ignore the socio-economic issues with these tests, for me it’s a matter of sample size. Which is a better indicator of a students high school academic career? 4 years of going to class from 7-2 everyday for 9 months a year... or 3 hours spent in a silent auditorium filling in multiple choice bubbles and showing your work on math equations?

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People get their panties in a bunch over the weirdest things. It's simple:

  • If your kid sucks at AP physics (or one of the other really difficult HS courses in STL, LOL!) and needs validation, take the ACT/SAT.
  • If you can afford and you value test scores, take the ACT/SAT.
  • If you dicked around in HS and want to show your abilities in a way other than GPA, take the SAT/ACT and write a good essay.

This is really not "the dumbing down of America."

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1 minute ago, disgruntledbilliken said:

People get their panties in a bunch over the weirdest things. It's simple:

  • If your kid sucks at AP physics (or one of the other really difficult HS courses in STL, LOL!) and needs validation, take the ACT/SAT.
  • If you can afford and you value test scores, take the ACT/SAT.
  • If you dicked around in HS and want to show your abilities in a way other than GPA, take the SAT/ACT and write a good essay.

This is really not "the dumbing down of America."

Well put.

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4 minutes ago, Reinert310 said:

I hope I’m not coming off as a jerk. I understand your perspective, even if I don’t agree with it. Even if we ignore the socio-economic issues with these tests, for me it’s a matter of sample size. Which is a better indicator of a students high school academic career? 4 years of going to class from 7-2 everyday for 9 months a year... or 3 hours spent in a silent auditorium filling in multiple choice bubbles and showing your work on math equations?

I also hope I'm not coming off as a jerk.  I don't think we should ignore socio-economic issues with the test.  Those exist.  It's no different than the kid who can't afford to do extra-curricular, because he has to have an after school job.  It's also no different than the kid who's not as good of a writer as someone from a more privileged school and, therefore, doesn't do as well on an essay.  It's no different than a kid who hasn't been afforded the social skills to do well in an interview.  Colleges should, and do, take those things into consideration and put kids in that haven't had the advantages of others.  I also believe that this is the correct thing to do.  I just don't think making one of the many measurements fixes those problems.

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3 minutes ago, TheChosenOne said:

I am not involved in this topic at all since I truly don't care nor do I have an opinion on whether this is somehow good or bad, but don't think this is a great direction to take the discussion.

Just pointing out that everyone is going to defend the arrangement they perceive benefits them.  It's part of being a competitive species. No offense meant.

Washington University made a commitment last year to provide a free education to any student from Missouri or southern Illinois whose family income is under $75,000.  So they're already waiving the test score requirement. 

These other schools are just taking the next step and are publicly announcing what they've already been practicing.  The goal is to encourage smart kids who never would have applied, to apply.

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Also, what if there is a kid from a lower income area who gets a 35 on the ACT, because he's really, really smart.  His GPA is lower than others, because he had to miss time from school for reasons that were not his fault and related to his home environment.  He's not athletic enough to make sports teams and can't participate in extra-curriculars.  The best thing he has to offer is his ACT score.

Now, he has to compete against a kids from some affluent school district who hands out 4.0s left and right and whose parents get to look at their kids ACT scores and decide whether turning them in gives their son or daughter the best competitive advantage.  The grade inflation problems is most prevalent at affluent schools.  You can't just assume that this only benefits more affluent kids.  The parents of the more affluent kids will always find the way to turn things to their advantage.  The fewer means of differentiating kids the more it will work in the favor of those who know how to work the system.

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1 minute ago, cgeldmacher said:

I also hope I'm not coming off as a jerk.  I don't think we should ignore socio-economic issues with the test.  Those exist.  It's no different than the kid who can't afford to do extra-curricular, because he has to have an after school job.  It's also no different than the kid who's not as good of a writer as someone from a more privileged school and, therefore, doesn't do as well on an essay.  It's no different than a kid who hasn't been afforded the social skills to do well in an interview.  Colleges should, and do, take those things into consideration and put kids in that haven't had the advantages of others.  I also believe that this is the correct thing to do.  I just don't think making one of the many measurements fixes those problems.

I get it. I just don’t think eliminating a single test score and eliminating a kids 4-year high school GPA is the same thing. Like I said, these tests take place in a matter of hours and is based almost solely on memorization and regurgitation (which, admittedly, is a large chunk of school in general, but these tests take it to the extreme). I’ll always value 4 years of data over a few hours of data, no matter of much data is crammed into that few hours. I don’t think eliminating the requirement for these tests scores means that the scores will no longer hold weight, should they be submitted, but it takes a lot of pressure off of teenagers who aren’t freaking out about taking 1 test to determine the rest of their lives.

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