Make School Tougher to Improve Behavior?

by L

The calculus track can keep kids on the straight and narrow! Who’d’ve thought?

For those outside the paywall, the abstract of the original paper.

Previous studies have shown that years of formal schooling attained affects health behaviors, but little is known about how the stringency of academic programs affects such behaviors, especially among youth. Using national survey data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS), we study the effects of mathematics and science high-school graduation requirements (HSGR) on high school students’ risky health behaviors–specifically on drinking, smoking, and marijuana use. We find that an increase in mathematics and science HSGR has significant negative impacts on alcohol consumption among high-school students, especially males and non-white students. The effects of math and science HSGR on smoking and marijuana use are also negative but generally less precisely estimated. Our results suggest that curriculum design may have potential as a policy tool to curb youth drinking.

Mémé’s comment:   The author of the NYT article completed the assignment, but  without saying in so many words conveys the impression that correlation is not causation in this case.   The study’s authors did account for the effects of increased standards on dropouts who are not counted, but they have made a less than half hearted attempt to explain anything else.

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175 thoughts on “Make School Tougher to Improve Behavior?

  1. It doesn’t clearly state what methodology they used. I assume they are comparing states that increased requirements with states that didn’t?

  2. Assuming the student has the ability to be allowed into, and ability and motivation be successful in more rigorous courses, then I agree that the time it takes to do be successful reduces the time they have to get into trouble.

    Antecdata: DD#2 goes to a public school and has been on the track for the IB program, which starts junior year. On the track at her school means that if offered, you must take the pre-AP or AP level of that class in your Freshman and Sophomore years. The biggest exception is math, which you can take on level. The other exception many on her track use is, if you double up in something, such as taking Chemistry and Physics in the same year, you can take one on-level.

    Compared to some of her friends who are not on this track, she has significant less free time. I am not saying free time is bad or that every student will engage in inappropriate or risky behaviors in their free time.

  3. When a neuropsychologist assessed my son, one of his suggestions was to enroll him in a more academically rigorous setting, with more peers at his intellectual level (part of the assessment included an IQ test). We took his recommendation and switched schools. It has worked out great. He is definitely being challenged, is not as bored and has had fewer behavioral issues this year.

  4. I have also seen some families enroll their kids in sports – local, travel, etc. – to also keep their kid on the straight and narrow. Less time to get in trouble, is the thinking.

  5. Rhett – you may also be able to look at diploma levels within the same state. When the article says something like 2-4 math credits, it may refer to diploma levels. We currently have 3 levels in Texas. The lowest requires 22 credits, the other two require 26 credits to graduate. The 22 credit plan has less math, science, and history, and no foreign language, but they get the most “free” electives. You could compare between the two.

  6. You could compare between the two.

    You could if the kids were randomly assigned to each group. If not then you have some pretty significant selection bias going on.

  7. Rhett – Yes, I think there is a huge selection bias overall. As the article notes, the unintended consequence of raising the academic bar is that some kids will drop out.

    Again, my antecdata from my DD#2’s school where a high percentage of the kids come from UMC and UC households (judged by low % of free/reduced lunch and property values in the area where the kids come from). Kids who are not anticipating going to college tend to take the 22 credit plan, as you can get 24 credits in 3 years. Because 4 years of English are required to graduate, they either are only taking English their Senior Year or they took advantage of one of a number of programs to get ahead in English by taking summer school or a condensed program.

  8. Similar to Kerri’s experience, this approach worked with DS2 in middle school. We didn’t switch schools, but we moved him up a track mid year. He was borderline when initially assessed and upon recommendation we kept him on the standard track. Academically, he was doing well in his current class but there were behavioral issues. We were advised not to move him, it would be hard to catch up, etc. He did fine and the behavioral issues declined. He is the type of kid who needs to be challenged or he will create his own excitement.

  9. “When a neuropsychologist assessed my son, one of his suggestions was to enroll him in a more academically rigorous setting, with more peers at his intellectual level (part of the assessment included an IQ test). We took his recommendation and switched schools. It has worked out great. He is definitely being challenged, is not as bored and has had fewer behavioral issues this year.”

    Oh I definitely think this is true. I was bored out of my mind all the way through elementary school & that boredom led me to cause minor trouble for sure. (e.g., disrupting class by talking, picking on other kids, getting in arguments with the teacher, etc)

    There is also something to having less free time to get in trouble I suppose, although that assumes a diligence in working to succeed that isn’t universal, even among those who don’t drop out.

  10. “He is the type of kid who needs to be challenged or he will create his own excitement.”
    That is my daughter all the way. She also is very susceptible to peer influence in a way that my boys never were, so better peer group is also a concern.

  11. As I recall, being too lazy to do actual research, drug and alcohol use has been decreasing over time.

    But vaping has increased significantly.

  12. Everyone is all in an uproar about vaping here. It makes me laugh, because in my junior high, you couldn’t walk into the restrooms without being aphyxiated by smoke. Remember that scene in Rock n’ Roll High School where the smoke billows out of the restroom everytime the door is opened? That was my school.

  13. It makes me laugh, because in my junior high, you couldn’t walk into the restrooms without being aphyxiated by smoke.

    And don’t forget chewing tobacco which was also very popular.

  14. Vaping is an issue here as well. I honestly do not remember anyone smoking in my high school.

  15. It seems like stories about vaping abound at my kids middle school. It sounds like there is vaping in every hidden corner. I don’t know if this is true or fabricated.

  16. And don’t forget chewing tobacco which was also very popular.

    Is that the same as dip? Now that was HUGE in my high school. All the boys had the imprint of the can on the back pocket of their jeans.

  17. not necessarily the same. chewing tobacco came in a pouch, and I think was bigger shreds. dip (snuff?) is the small stuff in the little cylindrical cans.

    When I was a tyke, we would sometimes buy “Big League Chew,” which was just bubble gum, but it was in shreds and sold in the pouch to resemble chewing tobacco. Of course, I had no context to realize that, but I remember my dad explaining that chewing tobacco and spitting the juice was popular for baseball players, and that’s what the shredded gum was mimicking.

    Some people in college, and a sizable number of people on the boat, would dip. There’s a way to snap the can in your fingers, in a whipping motion, so that it packs the tobacco down. I would even try to do this part out of boredom, but I could never get it down. And then you put a wad between your cheek and gum, and spit the rendered saliva and tobacco juice into an empty soda bottle.

  18. I don’t have much to add, other than I think making schools harder is going to benefit the kids that already are smart and have family support. The kids that just don’t have a strong IQ or a family that cares about academics will just fail faster.

    Lark – please keep it up with your handles. I’m loving it.

  19. Interesting from Wikipedia:

    A historian of the American South in the late 1860s reported on typical usage in the region where it was grown, paying close attention to class and gender:[4]

    “The chewing of tobacco was well-nigh universal. This habit had been widespread among the agricultural population of America both North and South before the war. Soldiers had found the quid a solace in the field and continued to revolve it in their mouths upon returning to their homes. Out of doors where his life was principally led the chewer spat upon his lands without offence to other men, and his homes and public buildings were supplied with spittoons. Brown and yellow parabolas were projected to right and left toward these receivers, but very often without the careful aim which made for cleanly living. Even the pews of fashionable churches were likely to contain these familiar conveniences. The large numbers of Southern men, and these were of the better class (officers in the Confederate army and planters, worth $20,000 or more, and barred from general amnesty) who presented themselves for the pardon of President Johnson, while they sat awaiting his pleasure in the ante-room at the White House, covered its floor with pools and rivulets of their spittle. An observant traveller in the South in 1865 said that in his belief seven-tenths of all persons above the age of twelve years, both male and female, used tobacco in some form. Women could be seen at the doors of their cabins in their bare feet, in their dirty one-piece cotton garments, their chairs tipped back, smoking pipes made of corn cobs into which were fitted reed stems or goose quills. Boys of eight or nine years of age and half-grown girls smoked. Women and girls “dipped” in their houses, on their porches, in the public parlours of hotels and in the streets.”

    Chewing tobacco is still used, predominantly by young males in some parts of the American Southeast, but also in other areas and age groups. In September 2006 both the Republican and Democratic candidates for Senator from Virginia admitted to chewing tobacco and agreed that it sets a bad example for children.[5]

  20. making schools harder

    And that often means more busy work rather than covering more information faster.

  21. I saw this article and concur with others that correlation is not causation. It’s good to be challenged but if you can’t/won’t perform in higher level classes for whatever reason (lack of motivation, lack of ability, family obligations, work obligations), outcomes won’t change. You could compare the high school kids who have 6 AM daily LDS seminary obligations with those who don’t in my town and see an effect at least as big. Another factor in academic achievement is that employers probably care more about relative than absolute academic performance- if all students increased their math performance by half a grade level on the NAEP, employers would still prefer employees with better math skills.

    I concur with Ivy, Ginger, Kerri and others that a bored child is problematic. It would be nice if schools offered peer groups to the extent they are capable, but that is too close to tracking, with all the social controversy that entails.

    I think good research would be very time consuming and would involve variables more granular than whether children graduate from high school or not. The conclusion of good research would be what most of us already think based on common sense.

  22. Yup, I agree with WCE and others that the cause and effect is sketchy. After all, if were as simple as the calculus track creating a better peer group we’d put all kids on that track.

    And as long as we’re playing that game, in high school I remember chewing tobacco AND students taking their guns to school. (Rifle team.) And fights in the bathroom and all that stuff.

  23. in high school I remember chewing tobacco AND students taking their guns to school. (Rifle team.) And fights in the bathroom and all that stuff.

    You have the workings of a viral FB meme and a country song right there.

  24. My children enjoy non academic things at school like art, music and PE. I think these break up the day and apart from academics gives kids at outlet to show what they are good at, even if they are not academically inclined.

  25. “And as long as we’re playing that game, in high school I remember chewing tobacco AND students taking their guns to school.”

    18 year olds were able to chew in school, but had to go outside to smoke, IIRC. Guns had to stay in the parking lot but were plentiful there during deer and pheasant season.

    Hunter safety was a unit taught in PE class, and we shot pellet rifles at targets on hay bales.

    “My children enjoy non academic things at school like art, music and PE. I think these break up the day and apart from academics gives kids at outlet to show what they are good at, even if they are not academically inclined.”

    I’ve said this before, but I have zero art talent, but I very much enjoyed taking art classes every year in HS. It was interesting & fun, and it was great to learn so much since I wasn’t naturally good at it at all. I still think very fondly of my art teachers – who I am friends with on Facebook. I am NOT friends with my math teachers. (and I was on the Calculus track)

  26. Remember that scene in Rock n’ Roll High School where the smoke billows out of the restroom everytime the door is opened?

    Rock ‘n Roll High School! I’d forgotten that movie, even though I loved it at the time and wore my hair in a side ponytail in imitation of one of the characters.

  27. Pingback: The Best of the Web 23/05/2018 – Hoovered Up

  28. Lark – I love your new names! Please continue!

    HM, I knew #1 was turning into a tweenager when she came downstairs for Easter (we were going to our friends’ house) with a dress and a side ponytail!

  29. Lark – I had to look up pingback. It appears that some other blog thinks our discussion on making schools harder is worthy of a mention, and linked this blog to his. Per the googles, Meme or July can change the settings to prevent such linking if they would like.

  30. A pingback just lets you know that a post was linked to by another blog, so you can check out what the other blog said if you’re interested. Other blogs or sites could still link to this one regardless — the address is right there in the address bar — the pingback is just a courtesy.

    And I don’t know why we would object to someone linking to this blog anyway! Especially given how typically our own posts are based off a link to some online article.

  31. Pingbacks are fine, except if they become so numerous that they interfere with our comment stream. We’ve always allowed them but they probably go mainly unnoticed because they’re not too frequent.

  32. On making school tougher…I have been out and about doing mom volunteer things. I overheard a couple of conversations. (1) One group of kids (now sophomores) are deciding about taking the SAT/ACT prep class (yes in school) next year as pass/fail because it isn’t a weighted class and if they take if for a grade, then it will lower their GPA. But, kids who take it pass/fail tend not to do the assigned work and their progress isn’t as significant. Another volunteer mom popped in to let them know that the school has adjusted this class to have weighted GPA so more kids will take the class and do better on the tests. (2) Seniors are all waiting for Valedictorian/Salutatorian to be announced. Most schools in our area do not rank “publicly”, they tell the kids if they are top X percent or whatever a school they apply to needs to know. These kids are talking about averages to the 3rd and 4th decimal place to discern difference.

    This sure seems like a lot of stress. I don’t recall this much stress in high school.

    If tougher really means difficulty and not just managing more busy work, I am not sure it needs to be at least at the most advanced end of the spectrum.

  33. Off topic… I did end up booking the university apartment in Quebec. It gives us 2 bedrooms, is in a nice area about 15 min walk from the tourist area (so no battling traffic in and out of town) and is much, much cheaper than the hotels.

    We have a Residence Inn booked for Montreal

  34. “deciding about taking the SAT/ACT prep class (yes in school) next year as pass/fail because it isn’t a weighted class and if they take if for a grade, then it will lower their GPA.”

    Isn’t this more of an issue in TX than most states, because of the connection between GPA, class rank, and college admission?

    Are there any other states with such a rigid connection?

  35. This sure seems like a lot of stress. I don’t recall this much stress in high school.

    Neither do I. The up side of my kids’ HS is this is not an issue. Of course the down side is having some pretty crappy teachers.

    Speaking of which, DS said his precalc teacher (again, this is the head of the department) told them today that since nobody in the class is taking calc next year that the final will just be on the pre-req material, not on any of the actual precalc material they were supposed to have learned this year. You can’t make this stuff up.

    Since I’m sure someone will ask, there are only four non-seniors in the class and they are all taking college algebra next year.

  36. Finn – I don’t know the answer, but would be interested to know. Of course, this is the same state where the kids in on-level classes spend oodles of hours being coached on how to pass the minimum standards test (flavor of the year) and many can’t. While those in advanced classes often aren’t even told what day they will be testing and walk in and take it cold and do very well.

  37. Austin, I’ve read many stories on CC about the lengths students in TX and their parents will go to maximize GPAs because of the ranking, and thus admission to state colleges and universities, is directly linked to GPA. The quality of TX universities is also a factor.

    What you describe is totally consistent with those lengths.

    I’m not aware of any other state with that direct of a link between GPA and college admission.

    I have read that in CA, the UC system admissions process (not sure about the state colleges and Cal Polys) recalculates GPA based on core classes, and thus does not discourage kids from taking electives that aren’t weighted.

  38. @Finn: you appear to be right about UC — I’ve been spending time on their websites doing things like figuring out visits and if they need interviews and such, and the websites I’ve seen are crystal clear that they will focus very specifically on the unweighted GPA in a specific list of classes (or the equivalents for out-of-state students) — they even tell you that if you are out-of-state, you need an unweighted 3.4 in those classes even to qualify.

    Of course, the flip side of that is that it hurts the kids who opt for the more difficult classes — my kid will be hurt from taking 2 credits of calc this year and getting a B instead of taking a less-rigorous road and getting straight As. And of course the fact that she challenged herself by opting in to a 5-class engineering curriculum for her “electives” doesn’t matter, because it’s not part of their core. So I am happy she isn’t fixated on the UC system, because we did not work the GPA/class registration system to target that kind of focus.

    There are people who work that even in our school, though not to that degree. One of the big issues is that several mandatory classes are ranked as only “standard” or “honors” at the HS (maxing out at 4 or 5 QP, respectively), but any class you take from the CC is automatically rated as GT/AP (6 QP). And the guidance counselor was very open about how some folks choose to take things like gym or pre-AP Spanish at the CC so they get 6 QP instead of 4-5 and thus improve their class standing.

    Luckily, my kid is neither in the running for Valedictorian nor reliant upon achieving a specific class rank percentile to be admitted to college, so we have not had to play that game.

  39. And the guidance counselor was very open about how some folks choose to take things like gym or pre-AP Spanish at the CC so they get 6 QP instead of 4-5 and thus improve their class standing.

    They seriously tell kids to take CC gym classes? That’s insane.

  40. “Luckily, my kid is neither in the running for Valedictorian nor reliant upon achieving a specific class rank percentile to be admitted to college”

    Same for my kids (and was the same for me). Their school (and my alma mater) doesn’t recognize valedictorians, doesn’t rank the kids, and doesn’t weight grades.

  41. “They seriously tell kids to take CC gym classes? That’s insane.”

    It wouldn’t be insane if you’re in TX and that could well mean the difference between getting into someplace like UT-Austin or not.

    I’ve read about kids in TX taking classes like PE at CC, but not because they’d get weighted there, but because PE in HS isn’t weighted and non-weighted classes bring down kids’ GPAs, and CC classes count as credits but don’t affect GPA.

    LfB, do your state schools have similar admissions policies based on GPA and/or class rank? Otherwise, I’m kinda with DD, and don’t see the point in gaming the system to that level.

  42. Finn, I saw it mentioned on some Quebec City lodging site. I have stayed in university housing in the past at both McGill and Universite de Montreal, so it seemed like a good option. The photos make it look like the apartment I stayed in when I did summer research in Germany, so we shall see….

  43. Good joke SM.

    I totally hate the insane competitiveness and structuring classes just to improve your class rank. I love the American HS and college system where there are so many opportunities to take classes you are interested in. This is so different from the home country where there were no such opportunities.

  44. It wouldn’t be insane if you’re in TX and that could well mean the difference between getting into someplace like UT-Austin or not.

    I’m saying it’s insane that the school allows it, not that students are taking advantage of it.

  45. It wouldn’t be insane if you’re in TX and that could well mean the difference between getting into someplace like UT-Austin or not.

    Are you sure you aren’t overselling the importance of these differences?

  46. “Are you sure you aren’t overselling the importance of these differences?”

    No, I’m not sure. But I’ve read many stories of this sort of thing happening in TX.

    And I have absolutely no doubt similar things would happen in CA if UC admission depended on GPA/ranking.

    Think about what’s at stake. COA for UT-Austin on the order of $25k to $30k, vs. $60k to $70k for a comparable private, and probably $50k and up for OOS public (UC-Berkeley is about $60k OOS).

  47. “Publix might be overwhelmed.”

    But I’m pretty sure Wegmans will be ok with it.

  48. Finn,

    I mean UT Austin vs. UT San Antonio. It looks like UT San Antonio requires a class rank in the top 25% vs UT Austin is 6%. I would assume UT Dallas and UT El Paso vary as well.

  49. If I’m reading it right UT El Paso requires a class rank in the top half.

  50. It would be great for schools to get rid of the valedictorian designation — it’s a largely meaningless honor anyhow, especially if there are multiple students with essentially identical GPAs. But it doesn’t really affect selective college admissions, which will still be based on university estimates of class rank. And for that reason, students will still be trying to game the system to increase their GPA and rank.

  51. “I mean UT Austin vs. UT San Antonio.”

    I’m pretty sure that’s a huge difference for the folks who are gaming their, or their kids’, GPAs, and from their perspective I’m not overselling the importance.

  52. “I mean UT Austin vs. UT San Antonio.”

    I’m pretty sure that’s a huge difference for the folks who are gaming their, or their kids’, GPAs, and from their perspective I’m not overselling the importance.

    I agree. In the overall scheme of life outcomes, there’s probably not a significant difference. In terms of “the college experience”, the difference is huge.

  53. “In the overall scheme of life outcomes, there’s probably not a significant difference.”

    I’m not sure.

    One of the schools that’s highly desired is reputed to have an extremely strong alumni network. By its reputation, and stories I’ve read about the value of that network, getting into that school vs. UTSA might be significant.

    Kinda like how Rhett has characterized the value of attending a school near him.

  54. Our equivalent of Texas A&M, which is not as well known is N.C. State. One of my colleagues is from Texas and is a very proud A&M grad.
    The college which is regarded as second to UNC Chapel Hill is Appalachian State. There have been efforts to rebrand and have UNC in the name but alumni don’t like that. Next up is UNC Greensboro which is trying hard to increase its profile. But everything pales in comparison to Chapel Hill. When you say your child got into UNC, it can only mean that one campus and a hushed silence follows that announcement.

  55. That guy was pretty endearing. I like DR and his callers so much more than MMMers.

  56. “I’m pretty sure that’s a huge difference for the folks who are gaming their, or their kids’, GPAs, and from their perspective I’m not overselling the importance.”

    In addition to what Rhett said, I’m wondering how likely it is that the kids who are worrying about taking PE at the community college are going to be on the cutoff where that actually matters. If the criterion is top 10%, are they really going to be fighting between 9.5% and 10.5% where the un-weighted A in PE really hurts them?

    They’d be much better off going to a slightly less affluent high school and not having to worry about this at all.

  57. Finn,

    What I’m seeing, in kids that have followed your preferred path, is that post college life isn’t living up to they hype. Some of them seem very disappointed in the return they are getting from all that effort and pressure.

  58. When he mentioned the $3k tool he wanted, I first thought he said “soft stop.” But I think he actually said Saw Stop. It’s a table saw with a safety system that runs a small electric current through the blade. If the blade touches human skin, the current changes and an aluminum brake is slammed into the blade to stop it almost instantly:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SawStop

  59. “Some of them seem very disappointed in the return they are getting from all that effort and pressure.”

    Who are you specifically thinking of?

  60. He should go ahead and buy his saw stop before he goes on the $8k cruise (wonder if he will do a Disney one?). It would be terrible if he sawed his hand off or something.

  61. “Some of them seem very disappointed in the return they are getting from all that effort and pressure.”

    I’d like to mention that a certain percentage of kids taking the path to HSS colleges do not feel they’ve put in excessive effort and felt abnormal pressure. I’m not sure what that percentage is, but I’m guessing at least half. These families are probably not as vocal in complaining about all the pressure, and these graduates are going about their lives reasonably happy with the “return” they’re getting.

  62. Who are you specifically thinking of?

    A co-worker. And in the past DW ran into the same thing when she worked for the startup.

  63. I wanted to mention that Texas A&M has a very good reputation. I know that some of our posters kids go there. It’s better known than UT – Austin (in a general way).

  64. @DD – the counselor wasn’t actually recommending it, just noting that one student did it and that it was one way to avoid the impact of lower-QP required classes. IIRC, that kid was in the running for valedictorian (btw awesome joke SM). I just don’t care enough, and minute GPA distinctions like that do not matter here.

    But Rhett, if that were the difference between my kid going to UT – Austin vs. San Antonio or El Paso, I’d be first in line at the local CC. UT and A&M degrees carry significant heft in the state, at least to the point that spending a few hours figuring out how to jigger the CC system would be worth it.

  65. July,

    It’s not just the pressure aspect it’s also the the eventually payoff. They say the key to happiness is low expectations. If you grab collegiate brass ring, it’s certainly possible that the eventual payoff will be underwhelming.

  66. UT and A&M degrees carry significant heft in the state

    Would you be surprised if the results were the same as those on a national level? At the national level kids who get into Harvard but, for whatever reason, go to UT Austin, Auburn, etc. do about the same in life. I’m willing to bet kids who get into UT Austin but go to UTEP also end up doing about the same.

  67. So is UNC considered the best school in NC by the locals? I would have said (1) Duke (2) Wake (3) UNC, with 2 and 3 being really close. It is funny how different things are valued/weighted in different areas.

  68. “They say the key to happiness is low expectations. If you grab collegiate brass ring, it’s certainly possible that the eventual payoff will be underwhelming.”

    True. And what I’m suggesting is that if you “easily” qualified for the collegiate brass ring, you’re less likely to be disappointed if you don’t end up at the tippy top of the heap after graduation. OTOH, if you busted your gut and suffered through your high school and college years to get that elite degree, you’re more likely to feel disappointed if the payoff is not tremendous.

    “ At the national level kids who get into Harvard but, for whatever reason, go to UT Austin, Auburn, etc. do about the same in life.”

    Recently I saw a suggestion that in those cases on your resume you should list colleges to which you were accepted but did not attend so that potential employers would know how great you are. :)

  69. Would you be surprised if the results were the same as those on a national level? At the national level kids who get into Harvard but, for whatever reason, go to UT Austin, Auburn, etc. do about the same in life. I’m willing to bet kids who get into UT Austin but go to UTEP also end up doing about the same.

    And I would bet that if you compare the kids in the totebag high schools who just make the UTA cutoff (say 5th-7th percentile) and those who just miss the cutoff (say 7.1th to 10th percentile), there’s also not much of a difference.

  70. Recently I saw a suggestion that in those cases on your resume you should list colleges to which you were accepted so that potential employers would know how great you are. :)

    Many companies ask for SAT scores, which pretty much tells you the same thing.

  71. “Many companies ask for SAT scores, which pretty much tells you the same thing.”

    Yeah, but you can’t preemptively put that on your resume.

  72. @DD – the counselor wasn’t actually recommending it, just noting that one student did it and that it was one way to avoid the impact of lower-QP required classes. IIRC, that kid was in the running for valedictorian (btw awesome joke SM). I just don’t care enough, and minute GPA distinctions like that do not matter here.

    I just can’t get my head around the idea that the school allows that at all. The reason to accept college classes is because they are courses the HS doesn’t offer, and weighting them makes sense because they are generally harder classes. But the HS offers gym, and I took PE classes when I was in college and they weren’t any harder than my HS gym class. So it makes zero sense to me that the school allows this.

  73. OTOH, if you busted your gut and suffered through your high school and college years to get that elite degree, you’re more likely to feel disappointed if the payoff is not tremendous.

    And that’s who we’re talking about here. Not the kids comfortably in the 2.5 percentile. We’re talking about kids (and their parents) who are gaming the system to get from 7.1 to 6.9 which ensures they will be the least qualified kids at UT and the ones who need to do the most work just to get by.

  74. So is UNC considered the best school in NC by the locals? I would have said (1) Duke (2) Wake (3) UNC, with 2 and 3 being really close. It is funny how different things are valued/weighted in different areas.

    I’m guessing she’s just referring to the public schools.

  75. “Many companies ask for SAT scores, which pretty much tells you the same thing.”

    Helps explain why my ophthalmologist lists her NMF award on her bio.

  76. Yeah, but you can’t preemptively put that on your resume.

    When you submit your resume online it asks for that info so the resume reviewer (either a human or an algorithm) will have that info.

  77. “Helps explain why my ophthalmologist lists her NMF award on her bio.”

    Until I started working, I didn’t realize that people wrote their own bios.

  78. “When you submit your resume online it asks for that info so the resume reviewer (either a human or an algorithm) will have that info.”

    I wonder high widespread that is. I had a couple firms ask for LSAT score, which I thought was really weird, especially because it for a lateral position.

  79. Rhett, as you know, I grew up in a community and family that put a huge amount of pressure on the students to get into a good college. I remember graduating from college and saying to myself, “That’s it? It’s over? That was what all the build-up was about? NOW what?”. Once college was over it seemed like such an anti-climax.

  80. Rhett – I agree with all of your comments a la “end up doing about the same.”

    However, in the minds of many parents, please don’t confuse me with the facts is what I perceive as their attitude, because my/our Snowflake is special and going to, e.g. HYPS, will just keep them on their 99th %-tile trajectory for life.

    Never mind that the people doing the actual teaching at other (lower ranked and/or lesser known) schools might be better, so the kid actually learns more and is therefore better prepared for day 1 of work. So going to one of those places would actually be better for the kid.

    But many, I daresay even most, parents who are playing in this competitive college admissions sandbox just want the window sticker for their car and coffee go-cup to take into the office from the bigger name.

    IMHO.

  81. “which ensures they will be the least qualified kids at UT and the ones who need to do the most work just to get by.”

    Not if they’re coming from one of the most competitive high schools.

  82. Response to the op-ed in the NYTimes about college for poor kids. Headline:

    Yes, College Is ‘Worth It,’ One Researcher Says. It’s Just Worth More if You’re Rich.

    https://www.chronicle.com/article/Yes-College-Is-Worth/243450?cid=db&elqTrackId=0c767b0cc5ba4b58bbb3b71de84ef39b&elq=1f5e8bd9c1cb4f92bef16990615b0874&elqaid=19193&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=8711

    Q. What question prompted you to do this research?

    A. We were actually trying to look at what are the returns for a college scholarship. We live in Kalamazoo, Mich., and the Kalamazoo Promise pays for four-year college for everyone who graduates from the local school district. We had found that it had effects on college graduation, and we were trying to see how much more money people were going to make. What are the economic returns from having this scholarship? Does it pay for itself in terms of higher earnings for people later in life?

    The working paper came out a few months ago. We learned that these gaps seem to be driven by the people who grow up a little bit wealthier and go to college. Their ability to tap into the highest-paying jobs is considerably greater than it is for the low-income people, even if those lower-income people go to college.

    It’s not a story of “This is true for everybody.” It’s not the top 1 percent, but it’s about the top quarter. If you grow up high-income and you go to college, your chances of getting access to those really high-earning jobs is just very different from that of low-earning people, even those with a college degree.

  83. Rocky, I kind of felt the same way, 400 miles south of you. But I also finished in March so there was 0 hoopla when things were over since I lived off campus and I didn’t have any close friends who were also finishing then. I think I was more excited about leaving a week later for what turned out to be an 8 month train, hitchhike, youth hostel adventure across Europe vs actually graduating from college.

  84. Birdie, if you’re including the private schools, the North Carolina folks also value Davidson pretty highly. But UNC-Chapel Hill is generally thought of as the top public school.

  85. “I’m willing to bet kids who get into UT Austin but go to UTEP also end up doing about the same.”

    But by definition we are talking about kids who do not get into UT Austin, because they miss the cutoff. Now I assume you’d say the same thing about kids who are .001% above and below the cutoff, and that’s probably mostly right. But you are also ignoring your favorite point, which is the value of the network you get from school. And I can tell you that coming out of law school with “UT” on my resume, I could have walked into any firm in the state; there is a huge network of grads in just about any firm or office in any area, and they all think their alma mater is the greatest. It’s a huge boost in getting that first good job, which then sets you up for whatever you want to do next. I have to imagine that Engineering + A&M has the same impact.

  86. But many, I daresay even most, parents who are playing in this competitive college admissions sandbox just want the window sticker for their car and coffee go-cup to take into the office from the bigger name.

    +100000

  87. LfB, does that also hold for “lesser” majors? I’m also wondering if that is something fairly unique to Texas. Around here, being a University of Colorado grad doesn’t seem to give much of a boost. Although a lot of that is probably that there are so many transplants here that you probably are much less likely to encounter a hiring manager who went to CU than you are to run into a UT alum in Texas.

  88. @DD — that’s what I don’t know, and logically it seems like it would be less significant, right? I mean, if you are talking about something like an art history degree, or early childhood education, or business, then I would assume that unless the school is particularly known for that area, that the distinction would be much less significant and probably directly related to the number of graduates in your particular geographical area/job.

  89. What I perceive (my own opinion) from talking to people here is that a family would pay thousands more for Duke but the perceived payoff for a good student would be essentially the same. My colleague whose kid got into both Duke and UNC was hoping she would pick UNC. She is attending Columbia because she liked Columbia better than UNC and Duke.

  90. Gah. On phone with technical consultant. Already 45 minutes over time, still going strong. Getting this guy to get his head out of the weeds and look at the big picture is like trying to shove together the north ends of two magnets. Every 15 minutes, like clockwork, “so, Laura, to get back to your question, . . .” — followed by yet another technical tangent with infinitely more detail than required to make the point. I have now lost sight of what question of mine he is actually trying to answer.

  91. “We’re talking about kids (and their parents) who are gaming the system to get from 7.1 to 6.9 which ensures they will be the least qualified kids at UT and the ones who need to do the most work just to get by.”

    You’re assuming that GPA is a perfect measure of cognitive ability, which it is not, particularly in an era of grade inflation. Sometimes the kids who just squeaked in actually do better in college than those who sailed in, especially if they have developed a habit of perseverance. There just isn’t a meaningful difference between a 3.87 and a 3.97 GPA, but the line has to be drawn somewhere.

  92. You’re assuming that GPA is a perfect measure of cognitive ability

    Not at all. That’s the other half of the problem. The kid has a 3.97 because they were able to do the extra credit and got 3 chances to redo their paper.

  93. Scarlett- I read about that guy yesterday. Those poor parents. I bet they have stories to tell!

  94. Colleges Bend the Rules for More Students, Give Them Extra Help
    With an influx of students classified as disabled, schools move to accommodate their needs

    I was particularly interested in this point:

    At the University of Minnesota, a test center for students entitled to low-distraction environments or extended time on exams administered 9,681 tests last year, nearly double the number in 2013. The growth has forced staff to give up their offices during finals to make room for students. This past year, the school rented out an additional 10,000 square feet of space in a nearby hotel.

    At the University of Kentucky, a dozen students at time took finals inside cubicles in a room in the testing facility with carpeted floors and dim lights. Blue painter’s tape covered door latches so they open and close silently. Students being tested on computers each sat in a private room so the clickety-clack of the keyboards wouldn’t disturb classmates. The facility administered 7,827 tests in 2016-17, up from 853 in 2007-08.

    “We’re seeing a lot more requests for private rooms,” said David Beach, director of the school’s disability resource center.

    And then they’re all going to get jobs in huge rooms with tiny cubicles. Maybe these kids will be the ones to put a stop to the newer office designs where you’re wedged in like sardines and stuck listening to everyone else’s music, phone calls, etc.

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1RErQnhdRrOuC17x3d7yW5byo-xvo6TFw

  95. I bet they have stories to tell!

    I bet they aren’t entirely blameless either. A friend’s brother and sister in law have a kid who could end up like this and everyone (family, school, etc) is telling them he needs a lot of help and they just don’t want to hear it. There is nothing wrong with their kid.

  96. Oh! And I read that the real reason the parents want their loser son out is that they want to be able to see their grandchild and son is prohibited from seeing him unless it is in a supervised place with an assigned therapist. So grandchild cannot come to their house if he is there.

  97. “I bet they aren’t entirely blameless either.”

    I don’t know. Sometimes you just get a dud.

  98. Sometimes you just get a dud.

    “Every parent’s greatest hope—hearing their child say “I’d like to thank the Nobel Committee… Every parent’s biggest fear—hearing their child say “Would you like fries with that?”

    Robin Williams

  99. I bet these parents would be thrilled if he could say that about the fries. Based on other reports, he seems really unstable and like they have reason to be very worried.

  100. Personal hijack – Rhode, if you are reading today, any suggestions for what to do with two teenagers (18 & 14) for a few hours near URI on Saturday? Younger child has a tournament, and older child has been asked to attend as “I had to go to all his events and he never had to go to any of mine.” Sibling love/need for approval/rivalry is alive and well in our house. Older sib is really not interested in watching younger sib play, but the 4 hour break between games could be fun if we figure out something cool to do.

  101. This little piece claims that “Schools reward conformity and obedience. Academic grades only loosely correlate with intelligence…. Intellectuals who enjoy learning tend to struggle in high school… They find school structure stifling.” Comfort for parents of rebels. But the first part notes that the valedictorian types do get good professional jobs. http://time.com/money/4779223/valedictorian-success-research-barking-up-wrong/?xid=frommoney_soc_socialflow_twitter_money

  102. I agreed with one of the comments under the CNN interview that chastised the media (Fox interviewed him too) for taking advantage of a mentally ill person on TV for entertainment purposes.

  103. for taking advantage of a mentally ill person on TV for entertainment purposes.

    the amazing performance by the 30 year old loser

    Interesting difference of opinion there.

    The hardest part is dealing with someone who refuses to help themselves especially when dealing with mental health issue or addiction.

  104. But the first part notes that the valedictorian types do get good professional jobs.

    Not surprising at all. The skills that result in very good grades are generally the same skills that are needed to succeed in the working world.

  105. SM, the valedictorian article seems unsurprising.

    Since many large schools don’t identify valedictorians, it seems likely that many/most valedictorians will be from schools with double-digit class sizes and will perform like top 5% students in the population at large. A better question than “What percentage of valedictorians were highly successful?” is “What percentage of highly successful people were valedictorians/had equivalent achievement?” and the answer to that is “most”.

    Questions about success in life also relate to questions about what success is- are my valedictorian friends who are SAHM’s successful? Probably not by any metric the researchers are using.

  106. Hi Anon – I’m here.

    URI this Saturday… first thought – Narragansett Town Beach. Water’s cold, but the weather should be nice. It’s pretty to walk around, and there are some great restaurants in that area (FAVORITE is Crazy Burger – it’s always packed, so you may need a couple hours, worth the wait though; Markos is a second favorite).

    The South County Bike Trail is near the Kingston Train Station. You park there and can walk south towards Wakefield/South Kingstown. It’s very pretty. https://www.visitrhodeisland.com/listing/william-c-oneill-south-county-bike-path/1101/
    Also this one: https://www.visitrhodeisland.com/listing/davisville-bike-path-at-quonset-point/3056/

    Also, the Umbrella Factory is cool: http://fantasticumbrellafactory.com/
    Trustom Pond (a short drive from Factory) is a great nature walk. You could try to get reservations at Matunuck Oyster Bar while you’re down there too.

    Warwick is about a 1/2 hour from URI and it’s the Gaspee Days Art Festival (http://www.gaspee.com/events/arts). You could do the Roger Williams Zoo (Providence) in those 4 hours (though it may be busy), or just hang around Roger Williams Park. There’s a small natural history museum, a planetarium, and the botanical gardens.

    Poke around this site… lots of fun things. On the left is all the categories of stuff.
    https://www.visitrhodeisland.com/things-to-do/attractions/science-nature/

    Let me know if there’s a topic of interest with your kids… I may be able to get more specific.

  107. Must have got stuck in Spam (tons of links)… so here we go again. Let me know if there’s a topic of interest with your kids… I may be able to get more specific.

    Hi Anon – I’m here.

    URI this Saturday… first thought – Narragansett Town Beach. Water’s cold, but the weather should be nice. It’s pretty to walk around, and there are some great restaurants in that area (FAVORITE is Crazy Burger – it’s always packed, so you may need a couple hours, worth the wait though; Markos is a second favorite).

    The South County Bike Trail is near the Kingston Train Station. You park there and can walk south towards Wakefield/South Kingstown. It’s very pretty. https://www.visitrhodeisland.com/listing/william-c-oneill-south-county-bike-path/1101/
    Also this one: https://www.visitrhodeisland.com/listing/davisville-bike-path-at-quonset-point/3056/

  108. Also, the Umbrella Factory is cool: http://fantasticumbrellafactory.com/
    Trustom Pond (a short drive from Factory) is a great nature walk. You could try to get reservations at Matunuck Oyster Bar while you’re down there too.

    Warwick is about a 1/2 hour from URI and it’s the Gaspee Days Art Festival (http://www.gaspee.com/events/arts). You could do the Roger Williams Zoo (Providence) in those 4 hours (though it may be busy), or just hang around Roger Williams Park. There’s a small natural history museum, a planetarium, and the botanical gardens.

  109. “What percentage of highly successful people were valedictorians/had equivalent achievement?” and the answer to that is “most”.

    I doubt that’s the case and that article agrees. To be highly successful you need to be hyper focused and the sort of agreeable generalists who become valedictorians aren’t those people.

  110. Rhode – thank you so much! I will check those out. This is Swim on a different device, btw.

    We’re big fans of Narragansett Town Beach in the summer b/c of the great bodysurfing and riding the river at the far end of the beach out into the ocean (it’s similar to a lazy river, really neat), anyone in the area in the summer should really check it out. DH and I have started taking an annual date day there in September after the kids are in school.

  111. “I wonder high widespread that is”

    SAT Scores on an application? I have never seen it. Not once. Never once have I been asked about it in an interview either. Where have people actually seen this? Big Consulting? Are they asking for it even for experienced employees?

    If I got a resume that said that the person was accepted into one school but chose to attend another, I would literally laugh and it would be a ding against them in my mind. I’m obviously not hiring for Big Consulting or I-banks. But still.

  112. Where have people actually seen this?

    The tech industry. Google, Goldman Sachs & Bain all ask for it if you’re only a few years out of school.

  113. Swim – Narrow River Kayaks will be open. That’s the river you “ride” down to the beach. Do that!!!

  114. Swim – if you’re ever around this way again, let me know. I’d love to meet up. (We are away this weekend). We are now entering my 1st favorite season in RI (2nd is Fall).

  115. “Questions about success in life also relate to questions about what success is- are my valedictorian friends who are SAHM’s successful? Probably not by any metric the researchers are using.”

    Right, exactly. Doesn’t even have to be that extreme (being out of the workforce). The valedictorian of my class is a nurse in my hometown. That’s what she always wanted to be & she has a pretty comfortable life living where she wanted to live & raising a family. Not everyone dreams of being CEO or BigLaw Partner or even an MD vs. a nurse.

  116. I was wondering about the mental health aspect, but then the media “takes advantage” of countless vulnerable people in the quest for higher ratings. We see it after every school shooting, bridge collapse, deadly fire, whatever — the reporters think nothing of hounding traumatized survivors and victims’ family members and parading them before the cameras.

  117. Rhett, I think you’re thinking about valedictorians of three digit high school classes, not two digit high school classes at typical public schools. There are thousands of valedictorians every year. There are only a few people who are “highly successful” in the sense the article describes it. Valedictorians outnumber highly successful people by a factor of at least 100. The valedictorians I know are not highly agreeable generalists. If you look at the resumes of executives, Supreme Court justices, physicians, etc., many, especially those from small high schools, were valedictorians.

  118. With some 46,000 public and private high schools in the country, there are actually tens of thousands of valedictorians every year. The highly selective schools take pride in turning away most of them.

  119. “If I got a resume that said that the person was accepted into one school but chose to attend another…”

    It also raises the issue of verification. Can the applicant call Harvard’s registrar for proof that she was accepted in 1996, but declined the offer of admission?

    For that matter, does anyone verify the SAT scores?

  120. With some 46,000 public and private high schools in the country, there are actually tens of thousands of valedictorians every year.

    There are about 20 million Americans between 45 and 49. Of those 20 million about 1% (230k) were valedictorians. I’m going to define “highly successful” as being in the top 1% using whatever metric you desire, $, prestige, tenure, $ per unit of effort, doing what you want with you life, etc. If we draw a Venn diagram of those in the top 1% of achievement at 45-49 and those who were valedictorian how much of those circles will overlap?

  121. “It also raises the issue of verification. Can the applicant call Harvard’s registrar for proof that she was accepted in 1996, but declined the offer of admission?”

    YES. This just seems silly on all levels really.

  122. “Recently I saw a suggestion that in those cases on your resume you should list colleges to which you were accepted but did not attend so that potential employers would know how great you are. :)”

    In our last gubernatorial campaign, our current gov made a big deal that he was accepted at MIT but chose to attend local flagship instead so his parents could afford to send his brothers to local flaghip too.

    That was an interesting contrast to the previous campaign, in which one candidate made a big deal of his Harvard degree as compared to his opponent’s local flagship degree, which turned out to be a major blunder.

  123. “I’m willing to bet kids who get into UT Austin but go to UTEP also end up doing about the same.”

    I’m willing to bet there are very few kids who get into UT Austin but go to UTEP instead.

  124. “We’re talking about kids (and their parents) who are gaming the system to get from 7.1 to 6.9 which ensures they will be the least qualified kids at UT and the ones who need to do the most work just to get by.”

    No, the ones right at the cusp but from good schools won’t, for the most part, struggle to get by. The ones who must work the most are, for the most part, the ones from the schools in less affluent districts.

  125. “Never mind that the people doing the actual teaching at other (lower ranked and/or lesser known) schools might be better, so the kid actually learns more and is therefore better prepared for day 1 of work. So going to one of those places would actually be better for the kid.”

    Anecdata counter: My nephew transferred to a top-25 school after his freshman year, and had to retake a class. He said at the top-25 school the pace was a lot faster and a lot more material was covered.

  126. “I have to imagine that Engineering + A&M has the same impact.”

    My perception is that it has an even larger impact.

  127. I should clarify that the suggestion to add to your resume the colleges to which you were accepted but did not attend was not serious but a bit tongue in cheek, and part of an article making the point that where you were accepted is a good indication of your future success.

  128. “I’m going to define “highly successful” as being in the top 1% using whatever metric you desire, $, prestige, tenure, $ per unit of effort, doing what you want with you life, etc.”

    I’m good with that, but now you’re talking about just under 5% of the population.

  129. I wonder if the College Board even still has any record of my SAT scores. Or my GRE scores, for that matter.

  130. Also, it is one of the dirty little secrets of HYPS level college admissions that many who attend there did not have miserable pressured high school experiences, and most do not have academic difficulties afterwords. There may be some further genius differentiation, and certainly there are adjustment issues for those who have geek-type interpersonal challenges or steep economic cultural first gen learning curves. The extreme test prep and resume building and parent monitored differentiation of the middle class and UMC that might make a difference in admisfsions outcomes between various degrees of SLACs or particular good quality state college programs (campuses or specific majors) rarely if ever tip the scales at that level, and the back ups for realistic top tier candidates are also high quality, and for those who are price sensitive affordable. And back window sticker bragging rights come at all college admission levels, especially if the college has a widely known sports program or strong regional presence or rivalry component.

  131. sorry about typos. I don’t always proofread my fat fingers or auto corrects. afterwords is a funny one.

  132. Rhett, I think you’re thinking about valedictorians of three digit high school classes, not two digit high school classes at typical public schools.

    I know this is picking nits, but this is the kind of number thing that interests me. You think high schools with classes 100? I find that very hard to believe. I think high schools with three-digit class sizes are much more typical.

  133. “Also, it is one of the dirty little secrets of HYPS level college admissions that many who attend there did not have miserable pressured high school experiences, and most do not have academic difficulties afterwords.”

    This relates to the point I tried to make upthread. It does seem to me that many HSS students did not have miserable high-pressured high school experiences. For example, I doubt many of them did intensive, or any, SAT test prep. My impression is based on anecdotes.

  134. “You think high schools with classes 100? I find that very hard to believe. I think high schools with three-digit class sizes are much more typical.”

    Around here, most public HS graduating class sizes are in the hundreds, and less than 200 is considered small. There are a small number of remote HS with smaller graduating classes, but that is not typical.

  135. “It’s not a story of “This is true for everybody.” It’s not the top 1 percent, but it’s about the top quarter. If you grow up high-income and you go to college, your chances of getting access to those really high-earning jobs is just very different from that of low-earning people, even those with a college degree.”

    This raises questions of causality.

  136. DD, there are 3.6 million seniors graduating from high school each year and, per Scarlett, 46,000 high schools. Given how many have senior classes of 200+, there must be many with senior classes less than 100.

  137. “”LfB, does that also hold for “lesser” majors? I’m also wondering if that is something fairly unique to Texas. Around here, being a University of Colorado grad doesn’t seem to give much of a boost.””

    It’s not unique to TX. Local flaghip and its network is pretty valuable here, and being a local flagship grad provides more of a boost than being, say, a University of CO grad.

  138. “what to do with two teenagers (18 & 14) for a few hours near URI on Saturday?”

    How about visiting the URI campus?

  139. “This little piece claims that “Schools reward conformity and obedience.
    Academic grades only loosely correlate with intelligence.. Intellectuals who enjoy learning tend to struggle in high school. They find school structure stifling.” Comfort for parents of rebels. But the first part notes that the valedictorian types do get good professional jobs. “”

    Valedictorians are often those who have high intelligence but also are able to ascertain what it takes to get good grades and have the willingness to do what it takes. That combination will also help them get good professional jobs.

  140. I found this which gives an average public high school enrollment of 854 for the 2009-10 school year. I can’t imagine it’s much different now. There are significant differences by state and your former state is near the bottom, which is why you’re thinking average high schools are much smaller than they are overall.

    https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2011/pesschools09/tables/table_05.asp

  141. “If we draw a Venn diagram of those in the top 1% of achievement at 45-49 and those who were valedictorian how much of those circles will overlap?”

    Without having any data to support this response, not nearly as much as you think.

    Consider all of the Totebaggy public high schools, magnet/exam schools, demanding private schools. You could go pretty far down into those classes and still find high-achieving, driven kids who will be high-achieving, driven adults. The top kids at tiny schools, and below-average schools of all sizes, are drawn from a much smaller talent pool, and are far less likely to be able to compete with the kids from TJ or New Trier or Georgetown Prep even to get into a top college, much less to be tops in their field by middle age. And then there are so many people who are high achieving at 45 who were late bloomers or otherwise failed to finish at the top of their classes. I love reading the obituaries of successful people because, more often than not, they didn’t follow the standard Totebaggy path.

  142. DD, I wasn’t talking about the typical high school. I was talking about the typical valedictorian. Since the mean high school class size is less than 100 (3.6 million grads divided by 46,000 high schools), the median high school class size is likely less than 50, which means that half of valedictorians come from class sizes of less than 50. (Assuming 1 valedictorian/class, which isn’t really true.)

    I think we just think about the numbers differently but recognize that being the valedictorian of a class of a few hundred means something different than of a class of 20.

  143. “Assuming 1 valedictorian/class, which isn’t really true.”

    At a couple nephews’ graduations, there were twenty-something valedictorians.

    I remember reading that one local HS had about a third of their class as valedictorians.

  144. No more salutatorians, eh? DH was salutatorian at his high school.

  145. Unless I am understanding this all wrong – I thought there can be only one valedictorian (first place finisher) and salutatorian (second place finisher). How can there be multiple first place finishers ?

  146. My HS didn’t do “valedictorians” but gave a specific award to the kids in the class who got the highest grades. We had about 300 kids and I was 1 of the 3 who got the award. Blame me for weighted classes – I was mad that all my APs didn’t count for over 4.0 (more than the girl who took the ‘regular’ classes).

  147. Louise, many schools now do multiple valedictorians (I saw a school here had 12) because the difference between the top kids’ GPAs is so insignificant, going down to the thousandths or even smaller.

  148. WCE, you said “Rhett, I think you’re thinking about valedictorians of three digit high school classes, not two digit high school classes at typical public schools.” That seemed pretty clear you were referring to typical schools, not typical valedictorians.

    I disagree with your numbers on the mean HS class size. Per the data I linked to from the national center for education statistics, the average (I’m assuming it’s the mean) public HS enrollment was about 854 eight years ago, so allowing for some attrition, the average graduating class was probably close to 200. I don’t see any reasonable way that would give a median less than 100.

    I do agree that all valedictorians are not created equal.

  149. Some of the public HS here recognize all graduating seniors with weighted GPAs of 4 and above as valedictorians.

  150. I looked up some govt statistics. There were approx 26500 public and 10500 private high schools in the US (in this century, not sure of the exact year. There could be more by now). In 2017 3.3M kids were projected to graduate from public school avg 124 and 300K from private school avg 26.

  151. Mémé’s numbers seem right. For every graduating class of 400, there would have to be 4 classes with an average of ~55 to have a mean class size of 124, which would mean the MEDIAN class size is well under 100.

  152. Without having any data to support this response, not nearly as much as you think.

    I agree! My position is that they don’t overlap very much at all.

  153. Rhode – I’d be happy to meet up!

    Finn – Fred is correct, DS has decided on a school, so visiting another won’t be on his list of fun things to do, but since the tourney is being held at URI, we’ll certainly walk around and get an idea of what it looks like.

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