Sausage-making and the SAT

by Honolulu Mother

For those with high schoolers, here’s a deep dive into the sausage-making leading up to the new SAT this past spring. It sheds some light on where it’s coming from and is also entertaining in an industry gossip sense:

College Board faces rocky path after CEO pushes new vision for SAT

For everyone else, sorry about this topic! Perhaps you’d like to discuss actual sausage making? Have you ever tried it? We have and it’s a production, but having a freezer stocked with the end product is nice. Do you have a favorite sausage maker, either a national brand or local product?

Advertisements

179 thoughts on “Sausage-making and the SAT

  1. I found this article fascinating on its face and as a commentary on the difficulty of implementing a vision on a timeline, and the tendency of visionaries to ignore technical experts.

    The new CEO seemed unaware of the challenges of the organization and unwilling to listen. That is a particularly common problem in technology companies. Visionaries need to learn to value people who correctly predict how their ideas will fail. The money quote is this: “It is no good to have vision if you don’t deliver.” That’s been my professional life for the past ~15 years.

    From a testing/educational viewpoint, I disagree with the decision to make a high math score conditional on good verbal skill by adding “real world” applications. There are people with strong math and comparatively low verbal skills and a good test will let them recognize that and choose an appropriate career. I strongly agree with the concerns about people with dyslexia/people whose first language is not English.

    Because of the current importance of the SAT for admissions, test security is a huge and complex issue. It’s like the difference in data security needed for banking transactions vs. the on-line archives of an obscure magazine.

    I don’t know whether the decision to make the SAT more of an achievement test than an aptitude test is a good one or not. Without understanding the security issues, I really like the idea of a test that adjusts questions to the level of the examiner, similar to what is done on the GMAT and maybe the GRE. This could extend the range of aptitudes that the SAT can meaningfully test.

    Predicting the performance of students by university and major based on SAT scores would be an interesting data exercise. One of the issues I have with arguments that SAT scores don’t predict college GPA well (a common reason that standardized testing is opposed) is that the researchers are usually not controlling for the difficulty of the major/incoming academic aptitude of the students.

    BTW, we outsource our elk sausage making.

  2. I scanned quickly through the article trying to find out how much Coleman is being paid for his non-delivery of vision.

    With the last DS safely launched in college, we are thankfully beyond the SAT. But I do not understand the point of turning the SAT into an achievement test based on the Common Core. Isn’t that what high school grades are for? Turning the SAT into an achievement test doesn’t help the proverbial poor bright kid at a mediocre high school with indifferent teachers and few intellectual peers establish that yes, indeed, he has the potential to succeed at college-level work.

  3. I confess I am just now beginning to pay attention to SAT discussions here. I’m sure I’ve missed out on a lot of good information, but previously it was so far off I didn’t have good context on it.

    What seemed to be missing from that (very interesting) article was the perspective of the colleges, other than the aside that many are making the SAT optional. For those that place value on the SAT, or at least the concept of a college admissions exam, what would they like to see tested?

  4. Thank you HM, for the invitation to discuss sausage. I have to make sausage if we are going to eat it because DH is on a limited sodium diet. I don’t make cased sausage, just loose sausage. The main use is as the meat in Italian red spaghetti sauce, but it can be used in stuffing or other meat dishes. I have lamb sausage and a chicken apple breakfast sausage on my 2017 make something new agenda, both of which will have different herbs and spices.

    I use the meat grinder attachment to the Kitchenaid mixer and the basic Emeril Lagasse italian sausage recipe that comes up in the top five on an internet search. (red wine, parsley, paprika, cayenne, garlic, anise and cumin, IIRC). I usually add additional fat to the meat (I freeze my trimmings from beef and lamb), even if I use pork Boston butt for the sausage. Any other meat product needs a lot of additional fat. The Boston butt comes in large sizes (I get it on sale at the supermarket, not gourmet market), so I freeze half and later make pulled pork or something similar.

  5. I also don’t see the point of making the SAT an achievement test — isn’t that what the ACT is?

    I haven’t made sausage in quite some time, but like Meme, use the meat grinder on my KitchenAid when I do.

  6. I don’t understand why it is hard to make the SAT computerized – certainly the software and the facilities exist. Exams with equally high stakes (MCAT, LSAT) have been administered on computers for more than a decade.

  7. Scarlett,

    I scanned quickly through the article trying to find out how much Coleman is being paid for his non-delivery of vision.

    He will succeed Gaston Caperton, who last year announced his plans to step down. Mr. Caperton came under some criticism for his salary of $1.3 million; Mr. Coleman will earn a base of $550,000, with total compensation of nearly $750,000.

  8. Where would the schools get the money to pay for the computers or iPads that have to be used at one time to take the test? NY state has not been able to implement standardized ELA and math tests on a computer because the schools can’t afford it. Imagine telling every test center around the world that they’re required to have working computers and fail proof wifi.

  9. predicts how well students will do in college (the test’s traditional role) and assesses their mastery of the Common Core.

    Why is mastery of the Common Core a component? I could have missed something but does it have to do with their need to compete with the ACT?

  10. The common test prep strategy in the home country is to practice by taking past tests. So, if the SAT repeated the same or had similar questions, students in Asian countries would know those.
    All high school exit exams in the home country were achievement based tests. These were used by colleges to determine readiness.
    Certain majors required proficiency in Math and Science, so along with a high enough total score, your Math and Science test scores counted.
    To measure high raw potential would basically be some sort of IQ test.

  11. Lauren – I think it should be up to College Board to find / fund the IT necessary for computer based testing, since the test takers are paying a fee to them. I believe part of the reason they have not moved faster toward this is because they work it out with the high schools around the country to provide testing space and exam proctors for a few Saturdays a year for a very low cost to the College Board. Then all the tests are sent in for scanning/scoring. Going the all-IT route would be very expensive for them, although it would enable SAT test taking anytime the testing center were open vs just ~6 days a year now. And they would want to pass the increased IT costs onto the students, meaning many more would need fee waivers.

  12. “And they would want to pass the increased IT costs onto the students, meaning many more would need fee waivers.”

    Plus it’s been found that students who took tests on computer score lower than those who used paper and pencil, so it’s led to discussions about fairness issues.

  13. I also don’t see the point of making the SAT an achievement test — isn’t that what the ACT is?

    Right, I’m not seeing the difference. Either way you have to know the material that is on the test.

  14. “I disagree with the decision to make a high math score conditional on good verbal skill by adding “real world” applications. ”

    “Some” have charged that decision was a thinly veiled attempt to help shrink the math score gap between males and females.

  15. My take is that the standardized testing aspect of Common Core needs to be revisited, not the curriculum itself. It seems to be more rigorous than whatever it was, that it replaced.
    Mooshi, I think would have a better description than I do.

  16. We are in the midst of the college application process. One has taken the SAT (both old and new). The other has taken the PSAT this year as an 8th grader. The only thinking I do about this test is to sign my kids up for a prep class. I am so tired of this process.

    Regarding real sausage, I find that the Kroger brand spicy sausage is awesome. If I buy other brands, my kids complain. We eat sausage fairly often, though we use it mainly to flavor soups, quiches, etc.

  17. The fairness issue aside, they could easily go to a computerized test. There are already plenty of testing centers for the online tests, I’m sure they’d be happy to open a few more to accommodate the SAT. it would also have the advantage that there wouldn’t need to be set test dates, so they probably wouldn’t need to add too much capacity since they could spread the load out over time.

  18. “I disagree with the decision to make a high math score conditional on good verbal skill by adding “real world” applications. ”

    If a Math problem goes on and on and gets too wordy one of my kids will drown even though the kid can solve the same problem quite well if there were fewer words.

  19. In regards to sausage, DD and DS got into a big discussion the other day over the difference between “sausage” and “sausages”.

  20. There are already plenty of testing centers for the online tests, I’m sure they’d be happy to open a few more to accommodate the SAT.

    Then you have the issue of transportation. There are 4 MCAT sites in Montana but 12 SAT locations, you’d need to ensure the testing centers were as numerous and as accessible.

  21. Looks like the LSAT sites are the same as the MCAT so I assume there are only 4 testing centers in Montana vs. 12 for the SAT.

  22. The article mentions that schools are going test optional. I think they see it as a way to bolster enrollments. We are doing it for next year. The STEM departments are all furious, because it is really hard to assess students chances of success in STEM majors without those scores. I have access to all the records for our majors, and have realized over time that the SAT scores, math and verbal, are far more predictive that the GPAs, which all seem to cluster in a really tight range between 3.3 and 3.6. And I can never tell much about the quality of the coursework – we aren’t drawing students from the elite Westchester or Long Island districts – and a lot of these high schools, both public and Catholic, seem to offer really dodgy courses. It is very frustrating.

  23. These days, we don’t say “sausage”, we say “charcuterie”. I about fell over the other day when I noticed that phrase prominently displayed above the local supermarket deli counter.

  24. I’ve got to learn how to use the Kitchenaid attachments. I also have a very old-school crank meat grinder, but I’ve kind of forgotten how to put it together. Mom had one and use to grind up leftover roast beef.

  25. RMS – if you use the meat grinder attachment on the Kitchenaid, I found you have to hold a paper towel or regular towel in front of it. Otherwise it spits meat juice all over the kitchen. :)

  26. What DD said – there is a commercial service out there that already does this (Prometrics, and others). They could certainly open more centers if there were an additional million electronic test takers every year.

  27. I took the GRE, NCLEX, and ANCC-FNP tests at the same testing center (at different times, of course). I think it’s a Pearson center.

    I realized I misread LfB’s post that I quoted. The point I wanted to make is that I don’t see how an aptitude test is different from an achievement test. You still have to know the material. It doesn’t matter how much aptitude you have if you’ve never learned the algebra and geometry concepts or the vocabulary that were on the old SAT.

  28. We use the Kitchenaid meat grinder attachment. I also use it for doing ground lamb. We have done it with casings, but apparently we were doing it wrong — you’re supposed to scooch all the softened casings up onto the feeder funnel/tube accordian style and then feed it out as you fill it, whereas we were just putting the end of the casing on the tube and then having to massage the filling down the length of the casing, a process as disconcerting as it was laborious. So next time we’ll get that right.

    Last time we made a ton of potato sausage (pork and grated potato), plus a bit of pork apple sausage. We’ve been meaning to make a ton of potato sausage again b/c it was a big hit, plus try some merguez (spicy lamb).

    On the SAT, I can see the effort to be more Common Core-ish in the choices of reading passages, but to me it doesn’t look like what it’s testing for is really that different. They don’t seem to use passages that everyone would/should know, or expect prior knowledge. And it’s still going to heavily favor those who have read a lot, even if what they’ve been reading is mostly translated wuxia / xianxia. The reader advantage used to show up in the vocab section because there was no real substitute for exposure to words in context, and now it shows up in the section where they suggest edits to sentences because there’s no real substitute for exposure to grammar and stylistic choices in context. And despite the supposed alignment with common core standards, the new math clearly is still not really measuring achievement in high school level math. I know an example of someone scoring well on the new test with just over a semester of algebra under her belt and no real exposure to geometry, later algebra, trig. This person has above-average ability and her score reflected that, but to me it showed that what the test is measuring is not primarily “have you mastered most of a standard high school math curriculum.”

    I think the biggest loss of the SAT and PSAT moving to a computerized adaptive testing format would be the end of the PSAT memes that have been turning up on social media every October for the last few years.

  29. Speaking of sausages, two of my favorites are:

    1. The sausages at the Red and White in Dortches, NC (just N of Rocky Mount on I-95)

    2. Prasek’s on Rt. 59 in TX, between Houston and Victoria.

    3. The generic Tuscan-style sausages at the Simply in Subbiano, IT (which is basically the Italian equivalent of #1).

    The nice thing about sausage is that it doesn’t need to be precious to be delicious; in fact, I’d say there’s an inverse correlation between the two.

  30. DD, one of the reasons the old SAT was used for out of level testing for 7th graders is that their ability to reason through math problems they had never seen was predictive of future educational and professional achievement.

    Vocabulary is similarly predictive- a large, varied vocabulary (for people who grew up speaking English) is predictive of future educational and professional achievement. That’s why it was originally included in the SAT, because an original purpose of the SAT was to seek out talented kids from mediocre schools for further education, and why the SAT was originally considered an “aptitude” test.

  31. Anyone have any experience/thoughts on how kids with IB diploma curriculum do on the SAT and ACT? I realize that this may change with the new SAT but I am just starting to think about this as my 9th grader is in an IB diploma school.

  32. “The reader advantage used to show up in the vocab section because there was no real substitute for exposure to words in context”

    IDK — I distinctly recall being able to reason my way through unfamiliar words based on their Latin roots, thanks to my 4th grade Latin in Language Arts class. Of course, this was back before “whole language” was a thing, when they assumed you needed to know the meaning of words to grasp the meaning of the passage, so they spent more time on vocab and how to interpolate unfamiliar meanings from clues within the word itself, and almost no time on inferring from context.

  33. Georgia,

    Not sure about your area, but in both northern Virginia and our current midwest town, the IB programs are intentional ones, in that you usually have to seek them out and attend a high school other than your base school, unlike the much more common AP courses offered just about everywhere. Fairfax County deliberately put these programs in the lower-ranked high schools in order to attract totebaggy families and improve the demographics/test scores at the struggling schools. That means that the IB kids aren’t randomly selected, and the same attributes that led them to move out of their home school may also affect their test scores.

    I saw very few IB diploma candidates among the “bottom of the barrel” applicants whose files I read in the admissions office, FWIW. Even the less obviously doomed files we were allowed to read as the season progressed were almost always AP, not IB programs.

  34. DD,

    . It doesn’t matter how much aptitude you have if you’ve never learned the algebra and geometry concepts or the vocabulary that were on the old SAT.

    As HM and WCE mentioned you should be able to ace the math section with minimal exposure to the material and a high IQ. For vocabulary, you should be exposed to that through your own reading. That is different from other types of tests that just test your exposure to specific material.

    However, I will note how much push back I got when I suggested that people should be doing a lot of their learning on their own vs. having it spoon fed to them in a classroom setting. I see the Common Core stress on the SAT as a way to push away from self learning and reasoning skills and toward a recitation of previously spoon fed information.

  35. Georgia – IB at my high school was basically AP/IB joint class and you could sit for both tests at the end of the course. We had the option to not do the full IB diploma, but I don’t know if that is still an option. The program was rigorous and given that people had to apply to get in and maintain a certain GPA to stay in (lest they go back to their homeschool), the IB kids were slightly a tier above your average AP student IMO. They did well in courses and presumably SAT, as they attended a lot of highly selective schools or attended state schools with a ton of credit and generous scholarship packages.

  36. DD, one of the reasons the old SAT was used for out of level testing for 7th graders is that their ability to reason through math problems they had never seen was predictive of future educational and professional achievement.

    I’m not sure how someone is supposed to be able to reason through advanced problems when they haven’t been exposed to the basics. And if they have been exposed to the advanced concepts, they have a huge advantage over someone who is trying to reason through math problems they have never seen.

    Vocabulary is similarly predictive- a large, varied vocabulary (for people who grew up speaking English) is predictive of future educational and professional achievement. That’s why it was originally included in the SAT, because an original purpose of the SAT was to seek out talented kids from mediocre schools for further education, and why the SAT was originally considered an “aptitude” test.

    A large, varied vocabulary is predictive of future educational and professional achievement because of a third variable. The causation is growing up in an environment that fosters education and reading and such. Someone not having a large, varied vocabulary does not necessarily mean they don’t have an aptitude for academic success. It might, but it could also mean they have the aptitude, but they haven’t been given the tools to develop it.

    For vocabulary, you should be exposed to that through your own reading.

    And again, if you grow up in an environment that does not encourage reading, how does one get exposed to the vocabulary?

  37. “I have access to all the records for our majors, and have realized over time that the SAT scores, math and verbal, are far more predictive that the GPAs, which all seem to cluster in a really tight range between 3.3 and 3.6.”

    This is very interesting and maybe more related to success in a STEM course of study. We heard a lot of push back from teachers locally about using test results as a measure of teacher success and placing any emphasis on the average SAT score for the high school since “GPA was a better measure of success in college.” I had my doubts.

  38. Mooshi, here’s a study done at U of Oregon on psychometric thresholds in math and physics.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1011.0663

    In majors where interpersonal skills and work ethic are important, I would expect SAT scores to be less predictive than in majors where raw academic aptitude is predictive.

  39. Rhett/DD – I took the SAT in 7th grade and got a higher than average score (70 points above the HS student average) and I hadn’t had any exposure to algebra at that point.

  40. This is an interesting, cynical but likely accurate argument that schools adopt test-optional policies to improve their rankings, not to admit more diverse classes:

    “In practice, however, colleges have used these policies to become even more exclusive than they previously were. Here’s how schools do it: by freeing prospective students from having to provide SAT and ACT scores, they tend to attract more applicants, many of whom may have scored poorly on the tests. (The University of Georgia study found that these schools “receive approximately 220 more applications, on average, after adopting a test-optional policy.”) For the colleges, more applicants mean more students they can reject, which lowers their acceptance rate and raises the institution’s perceived selectivity.
    In addition, by going test-optional, schools can artificially inflate the average SAT and ACT scores that they report to magazines that rank colleges, such as U.S. News & World Report. That’s because under these policies, the only students who tend to send in their scores are those who have done well on the tests. Many schools then use only these scores to calculate their average scores.”

    http://hechingerreport.org/the-real-reason-that-colleges-go-test-optional/

  41. Scarlett said “This is an interesting, cynical but likely accurate argument that schools adopt test-optional policies to improve their rankings, not to admit more diverse classes:”

    Ya think????

    My cynicism with respect to university/college admissions policies is boundless….

  42. Georgia: At our high school, IB is very competitive. 30-40% of the IB kids are NMSF this year. It is that crazy. DS1 fit right in, but we are avoiding IB for DS2, as we think the work load is too much. DS1 took both AP and IB tests.

  43. I will report back in a few years on the success or not of a kid who has been exposed to a ton of books but does not read outside of given coursework. A strange duck probably to Totebaggers and their innate love for reading.

  44. “This is an interesting, cynical but likely accurate argument that schools adopt test-optional policies to improve their rankings, not to admit more diverse classes:”

    I think the reason varies, depending on the schools.

    A number of HSS have dropped the requirement for SAT subject tests, but continue to recommend them (e.g, IIRC, Columbia). What I’ve heard that really means is URM don’t need subject test scores, but kids that aren’t URM disadvantage themselves by not submitting those scores. IOW, for those schools, it’s a way to attract more URM applications.

    I’ve also theorized that one motivation for making tests optional is to make it easier to allow in legacies and other similarly hooked kids (e.g., athletes, celebrities, kids of rich parents like Jared Kushner) without hurting their average scores and thus their USN&WR rankings.

  45. I completely agree that with the ACT already having the achievement base covered, by leaving the aptitude base wide open, the SAT lets a lot of kids who have good aptitude but not good coursework lose out. I recall reasoning my way through the verbal and math questions on achievement test, based on knowledge from school and elsewhere.

  46. “caramelized onions to go with the pierogi”

    I’m not going to make it to lunch without eating something…

  47. Is there anyone here who makes their own sausage from meat they have acquired themselves? It seems to be one or the other. My sister and BiL found a single-purpose grinder to be better than the food processor attachment for the venison BiL shot, but after a couple years they started hiring the process out. I don’t think they have to do much prep work at all–far different from when they strung the carcass up in the barn for butchering. Back then, my nephew couldn’t tell a buck from a doe (mid-butchering), but now he is a better hunter than his dad (and his brother and mom don’t go out at all).

  48. “30-40% of the IB kids are NMSF this year.”

    And in TX, the NMSF cutoff is quite high.

  49. The top schools/competitive schools know that the SAT and ACT is no longer just an “aptitude” test if you’re applying from certain high schools or zip codes. I think I might have shared this before, but my alma mater expects these kids to score at least 200 points higher than some kid applying from a public school in an underfunded area such as Yonkers. The reason is they assume that these kids have prepared for the test, and they think the test isn’t a real test indicator of aptitude since so many of these kids prep for many months or years. They still consider scores, but if you’re coming out of certain schools or homes…you better have a higher test score, or be able to explain it.

    Another reason they expect higher scores from some of these same schools or districts is they know that some districts are very willing to grant a 504 designation. The colleges can’t see or know this when the applicant is applying, but the kids get extra time for all tests.

    My friend in Armonk used her son’s weak vision to get a 504. He just got in ED to Penn. I’m sure he is smart, but how nice to be able to spend as long as you need on the SAT, or APs because of the designation. I have no idea what the stats are in my district, but the parents in Armonk claim that at least 1/3 – 1/2 of each graduating HS student has a 504 by junior year.

  50. HM, would you tell us the percentile of that person’s math score? I’m curious if by “doing well” you mean what I think.

  51. It may surprise some here, but I’ve read about this subject before.

    My take is that Coleman wanted to use the SAT to further establish the Common Core. Given the importance of the SAT to college admission, especially to the more selective schools valued by UMC and above/totebaggy parents, tying the SAT to the CC would tend to have parents pushing schools to teach the CC so their kids would not be disadvantaged relative to other kids that are taught CC, and would also force private and charter schools to at least look at CC and incorporate elements of it into their curricula as well.

  52. “the vast resources of the not-for-profit College Board, which had about $77 million in annual profit and $834 million in net assets in 2015.”

    How does a not-for-profit organization make $77 million in annual profit?

  53. “I also don’t see the point of making the SAT an achievement test — isn’t that what the ACT is?”

    Not to mention the SAT subject tests, formerly known as SAT Achievement Tests.

  54. “Predicting the performance of students by university and major based on SAT scores would be an interesting data exercise. One of the issues I have with arguments that SAT scores don’t predict college GPA well (a common reason that standardized testing is opposed) is that the researchers are usually not controlling for the difficulty of the major/incoming academic aptitude of the students.”

    ITA.

    Also, kids with high SATs tend to go to very competitive schools at higher rates than kids with lower SATs. The kid busting his hump for a 3.0 at MIT might be working less hard for a 4.0 at some regional.

    This reminds me of an MD friend, who counsels HS kid MD wannabes to avoid very competitive colleges in favor of lower ranked colleges where it’s easier to get a high GPA.

  55. “We are in the midst of the college application process. One has taken the SAT (both old and new). The other has taken the PSAT this year as an 8th grader. ”

    I wish DD could’ve taken the PSAT as an 8th grader (and as a 9th grader). IMO, that’s some of the best SAT prep available.

  56. “You still have to know the material. It doesn’t matter how much aptitude you have if you’ve never learned the algebra and geometry concepts or the vocabulary that were on the old SAT.”

    DD, I concur with L and others. On the old SAT, it was not necessary to have taken HS math to do well.

    Similarly, I don’t think it was necessary to have known a lot of the words in the verbal section to do well.

    Despite all the advances in test prep, IMO the CB did a good job of crafting a test that measured aptitude/intelligence and was capable of identifying many diamonds in rough. I believe one of the reasons for the types of words used in the verbal section was an attempt to negate the advantage better educated kids had over others, by picking words to which very few kids would’ve had much exposure, forcing them to use reason and logic rather than memory to ascertain their meanings.

  57. My kid is on a 504 and does not get extra time for the PSAT or SAT (or any school tests either). He doesn’t really need it so we never requested it. His accomodations are strictly organizational

  58. Finn – what grade do you recommend PSAT ? I feel 8th would be too early for older kid. 9th would be better.

  59. IMO the CB did a good job of crafting a test that measured aptitude/intelligence and was capable of identifying many diamonds in rough.

    Have you heard why they want to move away from that?

  60. “what grade do you recommend PSAT ?”

    AFAIK, the PSAT isn’t something you can decide on your own for your own kid; it’s decided by the kids’ schools. So I suggest you have your kids take it at their first opportunities, and definitely no later than 10th grade if you have that choice.

    8th grade is definitely on the early side, but IMO not to early, at least not for a totebaggy kid. From what I’ve heard, it’s much more common for the first (and only) sitting to be in 11th grade.

  61. “Have you heard why they want to move away from that?”

    See my 2:43. I think Coleman wants to use the SAT to help entrench CC.

  62. Speaking of making sausage, the FBI arrested the Volkswagen executive in the U.S. most strongly associated with emissions compliance.

  63. Finn – not for profit doesn’t mean you can’t make a profit. Susan G Komen and Wounded Warrior both produced profits, for example.

  64. A strange duck probably to Totebaggers and their innate love for reading.

    I’ve been surprised by how few professional people read for pleasure and the number who read serious works is a tiny fraction of that.

  65. SM, I just meant “doing well” in the sense that it was a solid score by normal college admission standards. Nothing spectacular, of interest only because it’s an example of someone taking the test without having learned most of the math it’s supposed to be testing. But since you’re curious, I looked up the math section percentiles and she was mid-80s (set of all SAT takers). If the new SAT was really an achievement test you’d think someone scoring in the 80+ percentile already had a solid grasp of the high school math curriculum and would be well prepared to start college-level math in a year or so, so the fact that someone with not quite 3/4 year of algebra can score at that level suggests it’s still rewarding the kids with aptitude but not much exposure to the material.

  66. “I’ve been surprised by how few professional people read for pleasure and the number who read serious works is a tiny fraction of that.”

    I’m not. I’m more surprised at how many here have time to read as much as they do.

  67. I don’t think I have ever seen my husband read a book for pleasure. He thinks I am crazy because I read a couple a week. I imagine that people generally fall in to one of our camps.

  68. Speaking of making sausage, the FBI arrested the Volkswagen executive in the U.S. most strongly associated with emissions compliance.

    I’m always fascinated by corporate conspiracies. The managerial skill it takes to keep these things going is just epic.

  69. BTW, I think 504s are very important. I didn’t mean to imply that they are all exaggerated. I know several kids with them, and they are important because the school doesn’t always do the right thing unless the child has a 504.

    I just didn’t realize how may kids are getting them just for HS for minor issues.

  70. I’m always fascinated by corporate conspiracies. The managerial skill it takes to keep these things going is just epic.

    I know, right? There’s nothing like working with corporate and government offices to highlight the inherent implausibility of conspiracy theories that rely on a whole bunch of people being (1) intelligent/cunning, (2) organized/foresightful, and (3) discreet.

  71. “I don’t know whether the decision to make the SAT more of an achievement test than an aptitude test is a good one or not.”

    For the kids motivated to do well on the SAT (and the parents motivated for their kids to do well), one possible advantage is that the resources and bandwidth spent on bettering SAT scores would, presumably, improve their grasp of the CC, assuming that such a grasp is considered, as Martha Stewart would say, “a good thing.”

    OTOH, they may lose out on training themselves to better use reason and logic, which may be a bigger loss than what they gain in further studying what they should’ve already covered.

  72. “I’m always fascinated by corporate conspiracies. The managerial skill it takes to keep these things going is just epic.”

    How about government conspiracies?

    Perhaps our recently retired Police Chief (apparently he agreed to retire after a meeting with the Police Commission) wasn’t a very good manager.

  73. “We heard a lot of push back from teachers locally about using test results as a measure of teacher success and placing any emphasis on the average SAT score for the high school ”

    Locally, I think such a policy would exacerbate the difficulties certain schools have in hiring and, especially, retaining teachers. Those schools, typically in low SES areas, historically have had poor test scores, and if teachers are going to be measured by test scores, they’re going to tend to go to schools that historically score well.

    As we’ve discussed before, progress rather than just test scores against some arbitrary standards makes more sense as a measure of teaching effectiveness.

  74. There’s nothing like working with corporate and government offices to highlight the inherent implausibility of conspiracy theories that rely on a whole bunch of people being (1) intelligent/cunning, (2) organized/foresightful, and (3) discreet.

    I take issue with #3. If you look at far more heinous crimes like the Penn State or Catholic Church abuse scandals – the default assumption is for everyone to keep quite. The number of people who would stick their neck out even a millimeter seems to be frighteningly low.

    As another recent example – Theranos. At least dozens of people must have known what was going on but only one idealistic young kid came forward. I guess you can see why no one comes forward when you look at what they were able to do to that kid. Even worse, they are still doing it to him when everyone knows he was right and Theranos is a giant scam.

  75. Thanks, HM!

    At a 7th grade P-T conference, I suggested my son be moved to sit closer to the teacher/further from the bookshelf, in response to concern that he was sneaking things to read off the shelf during class. The teacher responded that all those seats were taken by kids with 504s/IEPs. Further clarification was that over a third of the class had plans in place. I may be requesting one soon, for a class where a teacher insists posters be drawn by hand, rather than by computer. Extra time will certainly not be one of our requests–too much down time in school is much more of an issue.

    I’m trying to decide whether DS should sit for the ACT this year (first year of high school) and if he should do a one-day/ 6 hr including lunch prep class. He did no prep for the SAT, my logic being we needed to see how he did, that prep would be warranted only if NMSQ was within reach with a little extra prep. What year did your kids first take the ACT?

  76. On CC – I don’t think I am opposed to having national benchmarks for subjects but the implementation in material and curriculum seems just awful. As does the drafting of the subject matter tests.

    Texas doesn’t follow Common Core but same companies are writing our state tests and result in situations like the one below:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/01/07/poet-i-cant-answer-questions-on-texas-standardized-tests-about-my-own-poems/?utm_term=.220fb3bfe40c

  77. S&M – do you think an early test score could hurt him? Since the ACT tests more on mastery of subject matter, don’t you think he won’t be exposed to sufficient material yet?

  78. Texas doesn’t follow Common Core but same companies are writing our state tests and result in situations like the one below:

    Reminds me of:

  79. “However, I will note how much push back I got when I suggested that people should be doing a lot of their learning on their own vs. having it spoon fed to them in a classroom setting. “

    I don’t think you characterize that accurately. Speaking for myself, the push back was about how teachers can add significant value to the learning process, not that people shouldn’t be doing a lot of learning by reading on their own.

    I agree with Finn and others that selection bias and related factors skew the supposed GPA/college success causation link.

    I never even considered making my own sausage, and I guess that’s more common than I realized. I have a hard time finding good Mexican chorizo around here. Spanish chorizo is much more popular. However, i doubt that any I would make on my own would be very good.

  80. I think using standardized tests for assessing students liklihood of succeeding in a major, like the SAT, is fine, and I think it is fine to use them to assess individual student learning too (as long as there aren’t too many). Assessing teacher perfomance using these is a much different thing because now you are looking at group performance and trying to figure out how much impact an individual teacjer might have had. This is much less well understood.

  81. SM, how did he do on the SAT?

    DS never took the ACT, and has no plans to. We knew he would take the PSAT, and if he were NMSF, he’d need to take the SAT to become NMF, so it made sense to focus on the SAT, and only take the ACT if he didn’t do well on the SAT.

    If Saac did well on the SAT, why not just focus on that? And if he can get a good (enough) score early in HS, that’ll be one fewer thing to deal with and to stress over.

  82. Finn – for what it’s worth, the ACT score got me one of my scholarships even though I was a NMSF (not NMF). I had a strong SAT score but not strong enough to get NMF but the ACT score was higher when rated on an equivalent basis. Can’t hurt to take it.

  83. coc – it is opposite here. Too much mexican chorizo. Although when I read the label of ingredients, I kind of don’t want to eat it. Once it has been cured and is hard sausage like the spanish style, you can no longer identify all of the bits….

  84. Yeah, I have a love-hate relationship with sausage. Although it can taste so good, I don’t really want to know too much about the ingredients.

    I like HM’s dual-topic post. We should have more of these!

  85. love, love, love them sausages. Any kind except blood sausage, which tastes too much like, well, blood.

  86. CoC, the chorizo sold at Fresh Market – Mexican or Spanish? It isn’t dried, and looks like a spicy bratwurst. I also see loose fresh chorizo sold at supermarkets sometimes. It probably isn’t up to real Mexican standards though.

  87. If you have Sprouts, I like their fresh chicken sausage – they usually offer chorizo. Makes it a bit healthier than the pork version.

  88. “Can’t hurt to take it.”

    What if you get an ACT score that concords to lower than your SAT score?

  89. MiaMama — I read the article, read all the example questions, and they don’t seem unreasonable. One issue she raised looked legit — questions about a stanza break that wasn’t actually shown in the poem as printed in the test. But for most of them, she’s just too hung up on her own knowledge of her creative process to be able to look objectively at her poems as finished works. Like, there’s a question about why she put a word in all caps (“TODAY!”) and she’s thinking, “But I only made that change at the last minute! So how can you put this significance on it?” But as a reader, you only see the finished poem and having the one word in all caps does stand out, so it’s reasonable to consider why that one word is in caps and the effect it gives. Perhaps it would be more accurate to phrase the questions as asking what the effect of various lines or word choices is, rather than what the poet intended by them, which is subjective to the poet. (Or else stick to dead poets who won’t rise from the grave to quibble.)

  90. MooshiMooshi — I love blood sausage! Sliced up and fried in olive oil and garlic along with diced potatoes and green peas, mmm.

  91. HM, I disagree. It just seems so presumptuous for the test makers to ask why the poet did something, without asking the poet. It seems even worse when the question is asked as if it’s based on fact, not conjecture on the part of either the test writer or the test taker.

    IMO, these are not questions that should be multiple choice. If you’re going to ask that sort of question, they should require some explanation. If not, don’t ask that sort of question.

    Maybe that’s why I didn’t major in English.

  92. I guess it does come back to a point I’ve made to my kids before. An important test taking skill is deciphering what the test maker designates as the correct answer, which is not always the actual correct answer.

  93. “What if you get an ACT score that concords to lower than your SAT score?”
    I see zero chance of that happening if you are scoring on the SAT in NMF range. It is a much easier test.

  94. It highlights the reasons why I hate the examination of symbolism in literature. Why does the red door have to have significance? What if the author lived near a red doored house that they fancied? I think there should be room for just reading and examining literature and poems for appreciation – your personal interpretation of a work of literature is subjective.

  95. “It is a much easier test.”

    DS told me that’s what most of his friends who have taken both say.

    But how does it make sense that those kids score higher, %ile-wise, in the ACT, unless some other high %ile kids are scoring worse on the ACT, or are only taking the SAT and not taking the ACT?

  96. From the SAT/ACT comparison, it seems that older kid might be better off taking the ACT.

  97. As Finn suggests, it’s hard to believe the claim that one test is much easier than the other, otherwise test takers would flock to the easier test. From what I’ve heard, it depends on the student. One test is (or used to be) “trickier”, but the other test had its own challenges.

    Mooshi — I’ve never tried the Fresh Market chorizo, so I’ll have to check it out. The best local Mexican chorizo I’ve had is from Viva Grande in NR. But the “best” chorizo is the one I grew up with, Peyton’s brand from Texas.

  98. Finn, my guess is that most of the top kids don’t take the ACT, so it’s easier to get in the higher percentiles.

    I agree with Finn on the poetry questions. You should never be asking about the author’s intent unless the author has specifically said what her intent was. And in general, you shouldn’t be asking interpretation questions on a test like this. There is way to much ambiguity. As was mentioned, a lot of times a red door is just a red door. Mayne it would have been yellow if the poet needed an extra syllable in the line.

  99. your personal interpretation of a work of literature is subjective

    The general standard, which they’re supposedly being taught in school now, is that your interpretation of a work of literature needs to be supported by textual evidence. The more textual evidence the better the support. So if your interpretation is that the red door on the family’s house reflects their violence and immorality, you’ve got a much better argument if the red door comes up often in the book — the author mentions it all the time, characters remark on it — and the family actually does violent / immoral things in the book or is shown to have done them in the past. Whereas if the door shows up only once (in chapter one “The family residence was a handsome townhouse built in the last century, with time-burnished brick facing and a richly red door with trees in deep blue pots on either side”) and there are no particular violent or immoral acts to point to, you may personally believe that the red door indicates that the family is actually violent and immoral behind closed doors but you’re not going to get a good grade on your essay arguing that, nor are you going to get the SAT question right asking, “This passage shows that (A) the family likes to garden, (B) the family is secretly violent and immoral, (C) the family has a well-maintained urban home, or (D) the family prefers new things.”

    Tl;dr: Literary interpretation is “subjective” when compared to math but not to the point where all interpretations are given equal weight — you can still be objective-ish within the context of the text.

  100. Quick little hijack – over winter break someone drove through our yard and damaged our old-growth heirloom-breed junipers (I hate those things). He also damaged a chain link fence that was going to be taken down this spring. Supposedly distracted driving, but I’m skeptical. The guy hit a light post, our metal fence, went across a 30 foot wide side street, hit a stop sign, the neighbor’s fence, went through a bush and high centered on a 3 foot retaining wall, without any signs of braking. I digress.

    Fortunately, no one was hurt. Neighbors had a rotten 3 foot picket fence that went down, and a 8 foot tall camellia that was uprooted. They took it to their homeowner’s who gave them $2700 and will seek reimbursement from the guy’s insurance. I don’t want to take it to my homeowner’s – I don’t want to give them a reason to raise my rates. I spoke to the guy’s car insurance (major national brand). At first they stated I would need to get two estimates, have the work done by the cheapest estimate and then send pictures to ask for reimbursement. When I protested, they said I could get one estimate and then they would pay me the amount if it seemed reasonable. They can’t send an adjustor for property damage.

    I sent them an email saying that I am not interested in sitting around and getting estimates and taking time off work and chasing paper. I suggested a figure and intimated that I might seek legal counsel if they couldn’t come up with a settlement. A real live person called me back in moments and explained that there were no alternatives and that maybe I should call around and find people who do estimates in the evening. She was very sympathetic to all my struggles. Oh so sympathetic.

    What to do? Just call my homeowner’s policy and delegate this to them? Call a landscaping company to come do an estimate and a fencing company? I feel bad wasting their time writing up estimates for work I don’t intend to do – we won’t replace the junipers, we won’t fix the chain link. Call a lawyer?

  101. How about government conspiracies?

    Mark Felt.

    To maintain a conspiracy at Goldman Sachs of VW requires only money. The deputy director of the FBI makes $170k*. He’s motivated by many things – money isn’t one of them.

    * The FBI, in corporate terms,is about the size of Avis Budget Group. A similar position at Avis pays $8.8 million.

  102. Oh yes! What HM said. There is no SAT question that says:

    Does the red door symbolize: a) cherry pie b) blood c) death d) tomato sauce

    unless there is a corresponding line in the text that says something along the lines of

    “Walking through that red door felt like coming home. When I crossed the threshold, it was like I was wrapped up in my grandmother’s marinara, and parmesan was sprinkled on top of me.”

    Getting a high number right on the SAT verbal section is a very good predictor of… being able to get a high number right on the SAT verbal section if you take the test again. It is not clear what else it predicts, but it is not a spurious finding. On the verbal section, there are answers that are right, and there is a skill in identifying those answers.

  103. The guy hit a light post, our metal fence, went across a 30 foot wide side street, hit a stop sign, the neighbor’s fence, went through a bush and high centered on a 3 foot retaining wall, without any signs of braking.

  104. I wouldn’t say that the smarter kids don’t take the ACT because I think I posted about that kid from my town that got a perfect score on the ACT, and he had no intention of ever taking the SAT. He didn’t realize that he would have to take he SAT if he qualified for the NMSF based on his PSAT scores.

    People believed that they could do better on one or the other until the SAT was changed last year. There were some people that believed one test was better suited to their type of learning, or test taking vs. the other test. I think it was regional too because it was unheard of to take the ACT in certain parts of the country, but now people consider both exams.

  105. It is not clear what else it predicts, but it is not a spurious finding.

    I disagree. It attempts to deduce your ability to extrapolate what you don’t know out of what you do know.

    In a super simple example: If A=B and B=C is A=C?

    In career term, I’ve see people get fired because they went to training and they were taught that A=B and B=C but the job required
    them to make the logical leap and deduce that A is also equal to C. They just couldn’t do it. The ACT tests that you were taught A=B and when the question is what is A equal to you can spit back B. The SAT, at least previously, attempted to gauge your ability to make the A = C leap.

  106. is there a police report for this car accident? I don’t understand how he could do that much damage unless he was drunk, or on his phone, or driving on ice??

    Anyway, I am not sure that rates always go up when you make a claim. Also, I had to get estimates for stuff when our house was damaged. A lot of these companies know that you might not choose them, and part of their cost of business is estimates.

  107. So you all thought the SAT was harder? Strange. The ACT was harder for me, because there were lots of things that you just had to remember whereas, as noted above, the SAT was designed so that you could reason your way to the answers. I did much better on it than on the ACT, have always thought the reason was that I spent a year in school where I was gradually learning the language (knowing none when I arrived). In other words, I had the ability/aptitude, but without having had the classes, I could not have the achievement.
    Rhett, did you take both? I would think you did better on the SAT than the ACT too.

    Mia, sounds like you’re a supporter of Reader Response theory, associated with Stanley Fish and other critics in the 70s. https://philpapers.org/rec/FISNCL

  108. Anyway, I am not sure that rates always go up when you make a claim.

    For one, no. But, if the damage is $2700 and they have $1000 deductible they are getting $1700. If they have another claim within 10 years then their rates will rise wiping out the $1700 they got for the claim. I’d do the leg work and get the estimates from his auto insurer.

  109. without any signs of braking.

    In his defense, is that what the police said? I wouldn’t expect a modern antilock brake equipped car to leave any braking evidence.

  110. Who wants to have a contest for best/worst burn review? I just received this message

    As a valued customer, your experience is important to us. Please answer the question below regarding your customer service experience. Your feedback will help us better serve your future needs.

    I clicked the link, gave zero stars on the two questions, and added this comment

    I received an email from Audible saying that there was a problem with the thing I ordered. The explanation it gave would have been fine, except neither I nor anyone who should have access to my account ordered the thing. Was I hacked? How would hacking even work, if they gave my email? Are they using my card somehow? I have no clue, called customer service to find out. If I was at zero clue, the rep I spoke with was deep in the negative numbers. I don’t think she ever understood why having something i didn’t order appear in a message from a company that has my card number is a problem, so of course she could not resolve the issue in the slightest.

  111. From what I’ve read and heard, the new SAT has lower %iles for a similar score (on a 1600 scale) than the old SAT (on a 2400 scale), and thus less granularity on the high end, more like the ACT. BTW, this is on top of an adjustment made previously to increase scores, so if you got a 1600 (or even somewhat lower) BITD, you would be literally off the charts today.

    My guess is this is part of the CB plan to make the SAT more popular, by making the test takers feel better about themselves. It makes it less useful for HSS to identify the exceptionally bright, but probably will make it easier for them to admit URM with less repercussion.

    I’m also guessing that identifying the diamonds in the rough is not one of Coleman’s priorities.

  112. Finn, I don’t understand the math of your last comment! How can they simply decide a score is a certain percentile? Is there no connection to the numbers and percentages of test-takers who scored at each level?

  113. I think variation in the ability of people who take SAT vs. ACT is mostly regional. The SAT may have had some advantage at the high end because NMSF are required to take it to achieve finalist status. The SAT has been perceived as more prestigious, I think, because coastal colleges required it, so Grinnell, St Olaf’s and Carleton did as well. The fact that the ACT includes a science reasoning section used to make it different from the SAT.

    Roughly 6 people out of ~600 graduates at my high school took the SAT my junior/senior year and 4 of those were NMSF. That’s probably going to affect the distribution of the top scores. All 6 also took the ACT, because admissions officers in the Midwest were used to judging ACT scores.

  114. Could it have been a spear phishing attempt? You can find out by logging into your account in a browser (without clicking on any links in the suspicious email) and check and see if there’s something ordered.

    If it was a phishing attempt, that would explain why the vendor would had no idea about it. Just don’t click any links in the email!

    https://us.norton.com/spear-phishing-scam-not-sport/article

  115. I assumed at first that it was a phishing attempt, but the number in the email was the correct phone number, and the return email was @audible.com I have received quite a few phishing attempts recently that are very well done–clicking on the link goes to a page that really looks like whatever they’re pretending to be. But not this. It went to the right website.

  116. “How can they simply decide a score is a certain percentile? Is there no connection to the numbers and percentages of test-takers who scored at each level?”

    The new SAT is apparently easier than the old SAT, thus the lower percentiles for a similar score. E.g. a 700 math on the new SAT is equivalent to something lower than 700 on the old SAT. This website suggests it’s about 670:

    http://blog.prepscholar.com/new-old-sat-conversion-more-accurate-formula

  117. This is like when they recentered the SATs after I took them and suddenly I was dumber than I used to be.

  118. “As we’ve discussed before, progress rather than just test scores against some arbitrary standards makes more sense as a measure of teaching effectiveness.”

    My favorite thing DS’ school does is what they call MAP testing (I think) — they give the kids computer-based tests at the beginning and end of every year, and the test is designed to ask progressively harder questions until the kid starts messing up and then drop back before starting up again. The idea is to really peg the kid’s level of knowledge so the teacher knows where to start at the beginning of the year, and then demonstrate what the kid learned over the course of the year.

    Pretty sure they don’t use that for teacher evaluations, but that seems much more likely to be useful data for that process than generic national tests.

  119. “This is like when they recentered the SATs after I took them and suddenly I was dumber than I used to be.”

    It’s on top of that. My guess is that a low 700s score from back then is off the charts now.

  120. “they give the kids computer-based tests at the beginning and end of every year”

    It’d be interesting to mine that data to see how much they regress over the summer.

  121. It’s on top of that. My guess is that a low 700s score from back then is off the charts now.

    I like this theory very much.

  122. That’s crazy. A perfect score used to be a really big deal. And 1400 was solid. 1500s was good enough for the top schools.

  123. “I like this theory very much.”

    I think it’s more than a theory.

    You now have a card you can pull on some uppity youngsters bragging about their 1500s.

  124. My guess is that a low 700s score from back then is off the charts now.

    There may be some truth to that for verbal — it looks like a 710 verbal on the old old test would just barely make an 800 now (based on http://www.greenes.com/html/convert.htm for pre-1995 to the newer (2400 point) “old” test, and https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/educators/higher-ed/scoring-changes/concordance to convert to the newest test). But a 710 math on the old old test, converted the same way, is equivalent to a 730 on the newest one. So we can’t boast too hard to our kids about our old-timey SAT scores!

    [Rocks chair, mutters about how they don’t make SATs like they used to . . .]

  125. “An important test taking skill is deciphering what the test maker designates as the correct answer, which is not always the actual correct answer.”

    This was especially true for DS in his government class. The correct answer was always how govt was *supposed* to work and not how it *actually* worked. He got dinged a bit on his first quiz and quickly caught on.

  126. “WCE, variation in ability is regional?”
    In the Midwest, only a few mostly talented students used to take the SAT. My point was not that variation in ability is regional, but only bright students tend to take the uncommon test for their region, on a statistical basis.

  127. We use MAP testing in our schools. I find it effective. I also likes that you compare to average score for kids in your district and state taking it in the same period.

  128. One downside of having a citywide school district is snow days. Some areas got a ton of ice/snow, some very little. With the low temps, melting was not rapid. So another snow day today although the snow actually stopped on Saturday mid day.

  129. In my high school class, this guy: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scott-wilder-091291
    got a perfect score on the SAT. I had zero recollection that he went to U.T. Arlington. Who goes to U.T. Arlington? He must have got a bunch of money. But it’s still weird because if money was an issue, Berkeley and UCLA were cheap. Huh.

  130. UT Austin, yes. And I’m not dissing UT Arlington. But if you had perfect SAT scores and an almost perfect GPA (he got one B and had massive fits at the teacher about it, but it was for naught) and you were from the San Francisco Bay Area, how would you end up at UT Arlington?

  131. Hm…maybe that’s the wrong Scott. I really thought that was the same guy. Must snoop around more.

  132. Nevermind. Found the real one. BS in “Agricultural & Managerial Economics from
    the University of California at Davis in 1982, and a Master of Science degree in Agricultural
    Economics from U.C. Davis in 1986.” Spent his entire career at PG&E and SoCalGas.

    I recall AgEc was a popular major at Davis. Seems to have opened quite a few doors.

  133. @COC – I have the opposite problem. Tons of Mexican chorizo available, but I sometimes have trouble finding the Spanish style. I usually buy Mexican from either the Mexican market, one of the local brands, or Whole Foods (which is pretty good).

    Here’s a recipe from Rick Bayless that doesn’t involve grinding your own meat. I’ve done this before & it is good. (but not worth the work for me when I can buy good loose chorizo all over the place)
    http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/potato-chorizo-sopes/
    http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/new-red-chile-adobo/

    I did very well on the ACT, but not the PSAT. I have always hated analogies – I assumed that was why my Verbal score was lower on the PSAT than on the ACT English and Reading sections.

    @WCE – None of the three schools you mentions require SAT scores. They all accept either/or. It was the same when we were in HS. I applied to 2 of the 3 and did not take the SAT because I didn’t see the point (see above). At the time, I didn’t know of anyone who took the SAT. I don’t know if my HS had any NMF. The only reason I even knew that that was a “thing” when I was in HS is because my Mom won a NMF scholarship back in the dark ages. It was never mentioned at school. Obviously, my school was not very Totebaggy, even for the 90’s.

  134. Following up on SIL’s stepson’s college applications. SIL said she saw the acceptance packet from Alabama came. And she snooped through his room to check up on things (long story short – he refuses to talk to her, and his dad is uninvolved in things). She found an acceptance letter from Seton Hall which states they are giving him a $64k academic scholarship. Again, he has a 2.6 GPA. What are we all missing????

  135. Ivy, I agree that schools accepted either in our day but people at my high school weren’t sure scores were viewed with similar value for scholarships.I think lots of people who got NMF back in the day, like your Mom, didn’t think much about it. I was talking with my now-retired friend at work and learned she had gone to college on a National Merit Scholarship after knowing her for 17+ years. Test prep wasn’t a thing back then and so scores were less of a big deal, I think.

  136. DD — is your SIL’s SS a talented basketball player? What are his test scores? But really, it sounds like an unusual situation. Maybe he has a hook that we’re missing.

  137. CoC, he has no “special talents”, doesn’t play a sport or an instrument or anything. We don’t know his SAT scores, all SIL knows is her husband says he saw them and they were “pretty good”.

  138. Weren’t there nasty storms in the Bay Area over the weekend? Must be in the ether for you two! :)

    @WCE – Yeah, I don’t know anyone who prepped for the PSAT at all. And ACT prep was doing practice tests out of a workbook or maybe a CD program on the computer. It’s not like I was with all the slackers in HS either. It just wasn’t really a thing, and I didn’t give it much thought. I don’t know if it was pushed more at the Totebaggy HS’s when we were that age or not. I don’t know which ones those even would have been – City High? Dowling? Seems like most Iowa schools were too economically diverse to be truly Totebaggy & there aren’t many private schools.

  139. She found an acceptance letter from Seton Hall which states they are giving him a $64k academic scholarship. Again, he has a 2.6 GPA. What are we all missing????

    Unsurprising…they give a lot of money. One of my kids got $15k/yr from them with good not great grades + test scores. The string was keeping a 3.0gpa.

  140. Fred, I thought you were referring to that drive-thru tree that came down in the storm yesterday!

  141. Fred, I’m guessing your kid had better than a 2.6. But if this is how the admissions are outside of the HSS, then why is anyone* stressing about their kids getting into college?

    * I know totebaggers aren’t “anyone” and expect their kids to go to an HSS.

  142. GPA – yes but not that much better
    Stress – yes, exactly. Lots of regionally accredited colleges everywhere. Outside of the top 200 or so, an applicant really has to mess up to be denied admission. If someone really wants to get a college degree (bachelors) there is a path forward.

  143. “Stress – yes, exactly. Lots of regionally accredited colleges everywhere. Outside of the top 200 or so, an applicant really has to mess up to be denied admission. If someone really wants to get a college degree (bachelors) there is a path forward.”

    Agreed. I’m pretty sure you can get into most of the directional state schools here with a 2.6 and average to slightly above average test scores.

  144. Rhett, see above. We don’t exactly what they are but according to his dad they were “pretty good”, whatever he means by that.

  145. Seton Hall has a 79.2% acceptance rate. That said, I suspect the average hiring manager is more impressed with Seton Hall being in the Big East Conference than UT Arlington being an R1.

  146. Interesting Rhett. SIL said she did some research and found last year Seton Hall waitlisted kids with a 3.2 and were in the 50th percentile of their class. They live in a fairly totebaggy area so we’re pretty sure a 2.6 is not at the 50th percentile.

  147. He has to have some kind of hook because it just doesn’t make sense to offer him that much money to persuade him to accept with those grades.

    He might have selected the wrong box when he was entering his diversity info.

  148. DD – agree. No one on here should be worrying about their kids not getting into college. There are a lot of ways to make a living and learn interesting things and literally hundreds of degree-granting institutions. My officemate has two daughters that she raised as a single mom. She made them both get degrees but attend community college first to prove their serious intent about studies.

  149. Rhett – I would probably be more likely to interview a Seton Hall grad over a UT Arlington grad and I am in Dallas.

Comments are closed.