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Might the pool be growing? - OutsiderFan - 05-17-2019

https://www.wsj.com/articles/sat-to-give-students-adversity-score-to-capture-social-and-economic-background-11557999000

This is long overdue, IMO.  We know for a fact socioeconomic factors including how educated your parents are, have a direct impact on academic performance and how kids score on standardized tests.  It's good to see The College Board recognize this and try to present context in the scores achieved by those who take them.

Anyway, by definition this will expand the pool of athletes from less privileged backgrounds capable of gaining Stanford admission by some amount. I don't know how much more, but it is something to watch for sure.


RE: Might the pool be growing? - Publius - 05-17-2019

Admissions departments already have this information and factor it in their decisions.  This seems like a PR move by the College Board in the wake of the admissions scandal.


RE: Might the pool be growing? - Phogge - 05-17-2019

The real winners in the game of life are those who at reaching old age realize that they have succeeded on merit and not privilege. Take a look at the Fourth Inning of Burns “Baseball” and listen to Bob Costas’ opening quote which says it all.


RE: Might the pool be growing? - FarmBoy - 05-17-2019

(05-17-2019, 09:09 AM)Phogge Wrote:  The real winners in the game of life are those who at reaching old age realize that they have succeeded on merit and not privilege. Take a look at the Fourth Inning of Burns “Baseball” and listen to Bob Costas’ opening quote which says it all.

The difficult thing to swallow is when you run into people who express a lot of satisfaction at having earned their spot but clearly had of immense proportions help along the way. The guys who founded the first start up I worked for are examples A and B. One the son of a prominent VC and the other a southern blue blood with a pure blood horse farm to fall back on, they thought because they were smart and graduated from a top tier university they'd earned the millions raised for their start up all through grit and determination.

I don't believe there's any such thing as succeeding on merit (or privilege) alone. Or at least that's it's incredibly rare. Most success is because of a combination of hard work and good old fashioned luck of being in the right place at the right time. I know I've worked really hard in life, but I also recognize ~5 key moments where a coin was tossed and I was lucky it came up heads. On the other hand, if it had come up heads a few more times, I'd be even more successful. The best you can do is work hard so when those lucky opportunities arise, you're able to take advantage of them. But you should also realize that for every story of success through hard work, someone else "merited" as much but just didn't get lucky in the breaks.


RE: Might the pool be growing? - 2006alum - 05-17-2019

(05-17-2019, 02:56 PM)FarmBoy Wrote:  I don't believe there's any such thing as succeeding on merit (or privilege) alone. Or at least that's it's incredibly rare. Most success is because of a combination of hard work and good old fashioned luck of being in the right place at the right time. I know I've worked really hard in life, but I also recognize ~5 key moments where a coin was tossed and I was lucky it came up heads. On the other hand, if it had come up heads a few more times, I'd be even more successful. The best you can do is work hard so when those lucky opportunities arise, you're able to take advantage of them. But you should also realize that for every story of success through hard work, someone else "merited" as much but just didn't get lucky in the breaks.
+1000. I'm reminded of a friend who was walking out of a shop in Calcutta in India and suddenly felt a tug on his pant leg. He turned around to see a man on the ground with no legs, one arm, and only a few teeth, asking for any spare change. There is absolutely no "merit" as to why I was born able-bodied in the United States to a middle class family and a strong social safety net and that man was born with none of those advantages. To say that the man on the ground just needed to "work hard" and "succeed on merit" is ludicrous and borderline morally offensive. "Merit" may be the moral basis for selecting individuals for specific positions, privileges, or awards, but no individual can attribute their success to merit alone. 

In my view, morally arbitrary chance has pre-determined 99% of your life outcomes; it's what you do with the other 1% that's up to you.


RE: Might the pool be growing? - Snorlax94 - 05-17-2019

(05-17-2019, 03:08 PM)2006alum Wrote:  
(05-17-2019, 02:56 PM)FarmBoy Wrote:  I don't believe there's any such thing as succeeding on merit (or privilege) alone. Or at least that's it's incredibly rare. Most success is because of a combination of hard work and good old fashioned luck of being in the right place at the right time. I know I've worked really hard in life, but I also recognize ~5 key moments where a coin was tossed and I was lucky it came up heads. On the other hand, if it had come up heads a few more times, I'd be even more successful. The best you can do is work hard so when those lucky opportunities arise, you're able to take advantage of them. But you should also realize that for every story of success through hard work, someone else "merited" as much but just didn't get lucky in the breaks.
+1000. I'm reminded of a friend who was walking out of a shop in Calcutta in India and suddenly felt a tug on his pant leg. He turned around to see a man on the ground with no legs, one arm, and only a few teeth, asking for any spare change. There is absolutely no "merit" as to why I was born able-bodied in the United States to a middle class family and a strong social safety net and that man was born with none of those advantages. To say that the man on the ground just needed to "work hard" and "succeed on merit" is ludicrous and borderline morally offensive. "Merit" may be the moral basis for selecting individuals for specific positions, privileges, or awards, but no individual can attribute their success to merit alone. 

In my view, morally arbitrary chance has pre-determined 99% of your life outcomes; it's what you do with the other 1% that's up to you.
2006Alum and Farmboy, I agree with both of you. In fact, I found Farmboy's example from Calcutta striking and moving. And I'm not the only one who agrees -- I've heard many of the most successful people in the world voice similar views. Warren Buffett, for example, has framed much of his success in similar terms (he worked very hard and did many things very right, but views himself as a winner of a type of lottery because his particular talent happens to be rewarded exceptionally well). As for Farmboy's example from India, I took a class on income distribution taught by Kenneth Arrow, and one of his repeated points was that income distribution between countries (where you are lucky enough to be born) is a greater determinant of your income than where you happen to be in your country's distribution.

But I do think this particular angle on the topic runs the risk of becoming political.Some people I meet in life believe that good fortune (their family, the era and opportunities, the country they happen to be born in) plays a significant role in the success in their life. Other people I meet are absolutely convinced this is untrue and that any success they achieved was entirely based entirely on their merit. And I've never seen anyone in the latter category change their mind (even if it's been empirically disproven by economic research). So another reason to avoid politics is that I haven't seen anyone's mind get changed.

But as for the merits of this particular policy (an adjusted SAT based on parental income and neighborhood), overall, I think it's a good idea and I support the concept. Although many private schools already do this (so I don't see this changing anything at places like Stanford), I could see this second, adjusted number being helpful for state universities that may not have the resources to calculate an adjusted SAT.

I do have some concerns about this direction, though. First, this system will be gamed. Already, people are switching schools their senior year to become more highly ranked against easier competition. Will it benefit anyone if more people switch to lesser high schools, or live in worse neighborhoods, to bump up their adjusted score? Second, I worry these quick fixes are salves that distract from the underlying problem -- unequal opportunities for primary and secondary school students. There are many marginal students at UCs and Cal States who are struggling and who arrive needing to take remedial high school classes, many of whom drop out, and end up even worse off (from more student debt, lost time, and discouragement). Admitting even more such students may not be a helpful thing at Cal States and UCs.


RE: Might the pool be growing? - winflop - 05-17-2019

(05-17-2019, 06:16 AM)Publius Wrote:  Admissions departments already have this information and factor it in their decisions.  This seems like a PR move by the College Board in the wake of the admissions scandal.

I'm skeptical of this entire thing because it seems poorly thought-through and has a high risk of being another means to exploit the college admissions system. Where are the safeguards to verify that any information submitted by the student or his/her school, etc. is accurate?

I support admissions departments considering these factors as part of their decisions, but I think this is going to end up backfiring horribly.


RE: Might the pool be growing? - BostonCard - 05-17-2019

(05-17-2019, 04:07 PM)Snorlax94 Wrote:  But as for the merits of this particular policy (an adjusted SAT based on parental income and neighborhood), overall, I think it's a good idea and I support the concept. Although many private schools already do this (so I don't see this changing anything at places like Stanford), I could see this second, adjusted number being helpful for state universities that may not have the resources to calculate an adjusted SAT.

I do have some concerns about this direction, though. First, this system will be gamed. Already, people are switching schools their senior year to become more highly ranked against easier competition. Will it benefit anyone if more people switch to lesser high schools, or live in worse neighborhoods, to bump up their adjusted score? Second, I worry these quick fixes are salves that distract from the underlying problem -- unequal opportunities for primary and secondary school students. There are many marginal students at UCs and Cal States who are struggling and who arrive needing to take remedial high school classes, many of whom drop out, and end up even worse off (from more student debt, lost time, and discouragement). Admitting even more such students may not be a helpful thing at Cal States and UCs.

Just to be clear, I don't think the SAT is going to adjust scores.  I think it will continue to give scores for the test itself (math, verbal, essay) the way it has.  However, in addition, it will give an adversity score on top of the other two, which might provide some context to the other scores.

To some extent, I share your concerns about people gaming the system, just as people tried to game the athletic "side door".  I saw someone joke that the change could prompt parents to divorce just to give their kid a higher adversity score.  One could also see a situation where a well-to-do family buys property in a low income zip code to give a bump there.

And yes, I think if you really want to bring about change, the best investment is to at least not contribute to worsening disparities through bad schools in poor neighborhoods.

BC


RE: Might the pool be growing? - Phogge - 05-17-2019

My father could have stayed in the studio system and I probably would have been nepotised in. But he got out of Dodge (Hollywood) because it changed so much after the war and struck out on his own. He resurrected his career three times after going broke. I learned the business through osmosis and without being pushed I struck out on my own in a very competitive market. I don’t believe in luck, you make your own. If doing good work as a freelancer that leads to referral and regular customers is called privilege then I don’t understand the word’s meaning. I would define luck as being in the wrong foxhole at the wrong time in Bastogne when the Germans shelled the 101.

To each his own.