Why making holistic admissions even more holistic is a very bad idea

If there’s one thing that everyone can agree on, it’s that college admissions is out of control. With schools posting new record-low acceptance rates each year, it’s hard not to wonder where things will end. Will Princeton soon have a 3% acceptance rate? Will Harvard dip below 2% Or, as Frank Bruni recently suggested in a satirical New York Times piece, will Stanford eventually boast that it did not accept a single student into its freshman class? As long as students can apply to as many schools as they...
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Reuters breaks major story on SAT cheating in Asia

As predicted, the College Board’s decision to bar tutors from the first administration of the new SAT had little effect on the security of the test; questions from the March 5th administration of the new SAT quickly made an appearance on various Chinese websites as well as College Confidential.  Reuters has now broken a major story detailing the SAT “cartels” that have sprung up in Asia, as well as the College Board’s inconsistent and lackluster response to what is clearly a serious and widespread problem. It’s a two-part series, and...
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Who edited the Common Core Standards? (if they were edited at all)

While writing my previous post, I happened to grab a random 11th grade Common Core ELA Standard in order to illustrate the fact that rSAT is not in fact perfectly aligned with Common Core. The standard is worded as follows: Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis. I initially just glanced over the standard (I had grabbed it at random...
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Why is rSAT aligned with high school rather than college?

As I’ve written about recently, the fact that the SAT has been altered from a predictive, college-aligned test to a test of skills associated with high school is among the most overlooked changes in the discussion surrounding the new exam. Along with the elimination of ETS from the test-writing process, it signals just how radically the exam has been overhauled. Although most discussions of the rSAT refer to the fact that the test is intended to be “more aligned with what students are doing in school,” the reality is that this...
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How colleges benefit from inflated SAT scores

When discussing the redesigned SAT, one common response to the College Board’s attempts to market the redesigned test to students and families by focusing on the ways in which it will mitigate stress and reduce the need for paid test-preparation, is to insist that that those factors are actually beside the point; that the College Board can market itself to students and families all it wants, but that the test is about colleges’ needs rather than students’ needs.  That’s certainly a valid point; however, I think that underlying these comments...
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An analysis of problems with PSAT scores, courtesy of Compass Education

Apparently I’m not the only one who has noticed something very odd about PSAT score reports. California-based Compass Education has produced a report analyzing some of the inconsistencies in this year’s scores. The report raises more questions than it answers, but the findings themselves are very interesting. For anyone who has the time and the inclination, it’s well worth reading. Some of the highlights include: Test-takers are compared to students who didn’t even take the test and may never take the test. In calculating percentiles, the College Board relied on an undisclosed sample method when...
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Race to the bottom

Following the first administration of the new SAT, the College Board released a highly unscientific survey comparing 8,089 March 2016 test-takers to 6494 March 2015 test-takers.  You can read the whole thing here, but in case you don’t care to, here are some highlights: 75% of students said the Reading Test was the same as or easier than they expected. 80% of students said the vocabulary on the test would be useful to them later in life, compared with 55% in March 2015. 59% of students said...
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Beware of ACT Essay scoring errors

I’ve seen reports of problematic ACT essay scoring posted in a few places, but given that this seems to be turning into an ongoing issue, I wanted to post a warning as well.  Since the introduction of the new ACT essay/essay scoring system in September 2015, a number of students have reported essay scores that are wildly out of synch with their composites. For example, students with scores in the high 20s/low 30s or higher are receiving essay scores in the high teens or low 20s. ...
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