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Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - OutsiderFan - 05-23-2020

Can’t believe nobody posted about this already, or maybe it’s in a thread already, but...

UC is phasing out the SAT and ACT citing numerous studies they show cultural bias, and probably egged on by the fact the tests haven’t been given during shutdown so many schools are not able to look at them as application criteria now anyway.

The college industry is basically of the mindset that if UC sneezes, all other universities catch a cold. In this case, how can other schools require SAT or ACT from applicants when UC doesn’t? We all know the SAT and ACT have been the top disqualifier for Stanford recruits, so it would seem that Stanford will likely have to follow suit, especially if it wants to attract the best athletes. Why would you bother with Stamford if Cal, UCLA, and USC don’t require SAT? If Stanford does drop the requirement, it seems no Athletic Department in the country would benefit from such a move like Stanford, and if it doesn’t, no Athletic Department would be hurt more than Stanford. There might be a tiny pool of high school kids who would go through with all the extra testing hoops just for Stanford, but not enough to field any championship contending teams.

Thoughts?


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - stupac2 - 05-23-2020

All I know is I would weep no tears if the College Board imploded.

Although I suppose they'd still have the graduate/AP tests... Oh well.


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - BobK - 05-23-2020

Long tread on another board after an interview with one of our football coaches

Bottom line it’s worrisome.

And yes Stanford requires the test scores


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - OutsiderFan - 05-23-2020

(05-23-2020, 06:30 AM)BobK Wrote:  Long tread on another board after an interview with one of our football coaches

Bottom line it’s worrisome. 

And yes Stanford requires the test scores

Stanford may require the scores now. The question I have is Stanford going to change on its own, or is it going to take yet another self-defeating action to weaken itself against its peers.  Already Stanford can't take JC transfers.  Already Stanford basically can't get any grad transfers.  Already Stanford requires test score numbers its peers don't.  You throw in requiring a test nobody else does, and you might as well shutter the Football program.  

Not only are you taking the population of elite football players out of your recruiting pool, those who might take the SAT aren't playing football in the numbers they once did.  Basically Stanford would become an Ivy League program that would perennially occupy the bottom of the standings.

If Stanford drops the SAT/ACT requirement, it could actually increase the size of its available pool of elite athletes and really become a much more powerful recruiting force in the revenue sports.


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - BobK - 05-23-2020

Your points are valid except for your fake news. Below is a post on a MVB JC transfer and a transfer from UCLA

Recently I posted about a track grad transfer.

Granted the transfers are rare but rare is a more accurate term that never


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - OutsiderFan - 05-23-2020

(05-23-2020, 07:14 AM)BobK Wrote:  Your points are valid except for your fake news.  Below is a post on a MVB JC transfer and a transfer from UCLA

Recently I posted about a track grad transfer. 

Granted the transfers are rare but rare is a more accurate term that never

OK, I will grant you "exceptionally rare," but to go as far as to say "fake news" is pretty misleading itself.  A "for the most part true" is miles away from "fake news."


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - qwerty49 - 05-23-2020

Has our admission rate dipped below 4% yet?

I understand both sides of the issue re the SAT/ACTs.  But I think they are an important (if flawed) metric because it's very hard to parse applicants now, let alone without a "tiebreaker" like test scores.  If the test scores disappear then we may see a situation where "feeder schools" become even more dominant than they are now, since the admissions office is more comfortable with GPAs from programs and curricula they know and have experience with.

We also take a lot of international students and evaluating their academics is going to be even harder without SAT/ACT.

Without the test scores, I guess the APs (if they survive) will become even more important in the Stanford process.  And essays and recs, although those seem to lend themselves to be increasingly formulaic.

I'm not sure if there will ever be a perfect solution to the uphill battle we've always had w/r/t athletic admissions.


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - WBB fan - 05-23-2020

I have mixed feelings about the SAT/ACT, perhaps coming from the fact that I took them so many decades ago, when no one had SAT tutors or even really studied for them. You just took them. It's a difficult issue because the world has changed so much, with kids who have the money to do intense preparation having a decided advantage. No question, there is not an even playing field for those taking these exams. And are they meaningful? That's not clear to me.

But . . . , one of the major reasons that I'm a Stanford sports fan is that I believe that the vast majority of the Stanford athletes are genuinely students as well as athletes. That's not the case with many colleges with big time sports programs. I'm really troubled by sentiments expressed, implicitly or explicitly, in this thread that if Stanford drops the SAT/ACT, more athletes will get past that Admissions department. To me, this begins to sound like "let's make it easier for recruited athletes to get in." Perhaps that not what earlier posters have really meant. I certainly hope that's the case. I respect Stanford athletes because they are genuine students who belong at Stanford, who have come as much, or more, for the education as well as for the experience in their sport. Every admitted Stanford athlete who cannot "compete" in the classroom as well as in his/her sport has taken a place from some other student who would have hugely benefitted from a Stanford education. 

So, drop or keep the SAT/ACT? Don't make the decision on the basis that if it's kept and dropped by others, Stanford will be less competitive for athletes. Recruited athletes already get a big advantage in the admissions process. Make the SAT/ACT decision on the basis of recruiting the best students for the classroom.


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - BostonCard - 05-23-2020

Right now, Stanford is the only school requiring athletes to take AP courses (and I believe they have to take 2!), which are much more onerous than having to sit for an SAT test.  Many of our athletes will sit through multiple SAT tests just to bring their scores up, and that only makes an iota of a difference for Stanford.  So clearly, many athletes have been willing to jump through substantial hoops to get into Stanford.  Thus right now I don't think that UC's dropping the SAT requirement makes much of a difference.  Most athletes are recruited for many schools, not just the UC's and will still be taking SATs.

Where it will start to make a difference is if other schools follow UC's lead (as is expected), and the SAT becomes an archaic test that only a handful of schools require.  I think that's a very real possibility over the next 10 years, but I also expect that if this happens and most schools drop the SAT (or make it optional, as I think is more likely), then Stanford will move in that direction as well.  After all, when a critical mass of colleges jumped on the common application, Stanford did as well.

BC


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - CardinalWBBFan - 05-23-2020

Tutors make a of immense proportions difference. A friend of mine's child's ACT score jumped from a 27 to a 34 with the help of tutoring. It would be a weird world with no ACT/SAT.


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - BobK - 05-23-2020

BC that's Football only for the 2 AP classes. Not other athletes. No minimun but doubt some athlete in another sport gets in with less that 5-6 .

Plus must get B or better.


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - Mick - 05-23-2020

(05-23-2020, 10:52 AM)BostonCard Wrote:  Right now, Stanford is the only school requiring athletes to take AP courses (and I believe they have to take 2!), which are much more onerous than having to sit for an SAT test.  

The UC system used to have an extraordinary data warehouse which contained the percentages admitted on a by-school basis for a lot of the expected metrics (SAT/ACT scores, grades, AP classes), and some not-so-expected (California residents vs. not, international students, vs. not) and projected major.  Projected major was very interesting, it showed that if you were "undeclared" or "multidisciplinary studies" your odds of getting in were 2x to 3x (depending on the school) than if you chose, say, Human Biology.

The most fascinating part to me was the AP classes.  The UCs loudly proclaimed that the only AP courses that "counted" in their GPA calculations were two year-long courses each in your sophomore and junior years, so a total of eight semesters.  They didn't count (or want) students taking AP as freshmen, and because the applications were due November 30, they couldn't count the senior year.  So the implication was that the max you could take was eight semesters' worth of AP classes that "counted."

The data warehouse showed differently.  Every two additional AP semesters completed by a student added materially to their odds of being admitted, particularly to UCLA and UCB.  They discontinued publication of the data warehouse around 2010.  Always thought it was very interesting.


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - OutsiderFan - 05-23-2020

The UC system appears headed to be creating its own standardized test.

If there was a way to make the test something you can't at all prepare for by practice and tutoring, then it would be totally acceptable to use them to assess the basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills, to make admissions decisions. Of course there isn't such a thing.  And if UC (and others) create their own tests, they too will create incentives for parents to hire tutors and kids who have the resources to get more training than those that don't.

I know a guy who runs an SAT/ACT academic tutoring business. Would be interesting to get his take on this topic.


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - UltimateCard - 05-23-2020

(05-23-2020, 12:26 PM)OutsiderFan Wrote:  The UC system appears headed to be creating its own standardized test.

If there was a way to make the test something you can't at all prepare for by practice and tutoring, then it would be totally acceptable to use them to assess the basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills, to make admissions decisions. Of course there isn't such a thing.  And if UC (and others) create their own tests, they too will create incentives for parents to hire tutors and kids who have the resources to get more training than those that don't.

I know a guy who runs an SAT/ACT academic tutoring business. Would be interesting to get his take on this topic.

Couldn’t this work the other way - if you have to take a special test just for the UCs, wouldn’t it hurt UCLA and Cal with out-of-state recruits?


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - BostonCard - 05-23-2020

Looks like they still have the data warehouse, though not all the variables mentioned by Mick are there.

https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/infocenter#undergraduate-admissions

BC


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - Papa John - 05-23-2020

I think there are some slight misunderstandings of what is going on:
1. The ACT/SAT requirement is suspended for CALIFORNIA resident freshman applicants until fall 2024. 
2. Until then, UC is going to try to create an acceptable test of its own. Which means some California high school seniors will be taking the UC standardized test and the ACT/SAT...
3. If UC is unable to create an acceptable test for Californians applying for freshman admission for fall 2025, UC will dispense with the standardized testing requirement.
4. For fall 2021 and 2022, applicants can submit their ACT/SAT scores and each UC campus has the option to use those scores as criteria for admission.
5. For fall 2023 and 2024, campuses will not use ACT/SAT scores as criteria for admissions selection, but they can use them for other purposes, such as scholarships, course placement and establishing basic admissions eligibility.
6. The SAT Essay/ACT Writing Test will not be used for admissions purposes, effective immediately. That's no biggee, because none of the campuses were using it anyway.

The problem is for students outside of California, both domestic and international. While California high schools--public and private--teach courses that are preapproved by UC, that is--obviously--not the case for out-of-state high schools. And eliminating standardized testing altogether in 2025 won't solve that problem of evaluating non-California applicants.

My hope is that someone--maybe UC, maybe not--develops a standardized test that is universally acceptable. But I know the odds of that happening are slim.


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - OutsiderFan - 05-24-2020

Again, the issue is not that a standardized test itself is a problem, it’s that having them allows some families the ability to spend resources having their kids prepare for them while others can’t. 

UC could develop a test exactly like the SAT and if nobody was able to study for it, the results would be fair. As soon as UC has its own test, tutors and UC Test prep will start popping up and recreate the same inequities they are trying to rid themselves of now.

The thing about throwing the standardized tests out puts a higher emphasis on GPA and coursework that don’t make schools with different resource levels go head to head. A 4.0 in a rural West Virginia school and an urban one in East St. Louis, might be more impressive than a 4.5 from a kid in Los Gatos. This might be obvious to admissions officers, but a standardized score from the 4.5 Los Gatos kid with parents who spent thousands on SAT prep, against the 4.0 WV and IL kids could further exacerbate the “achievement gap” and lead to the Los Gatos kid getting admitted when the WV and IL kid was in some respects actually just as or even more deserving. Getting the 4.0 under hardship could actually be more impressive than a 4.5 high testing kid that didn’t have to persevere against opioid and meth culture, unstable home life, etc.

Those who show their ability in challenging conditions - like baby turtles who make it to the ocean against predators and obstacles in their path - should be given a chance to thrive in prestigious universities. The more standardized tests are used in admissions decisions, the wider the gap between the haves and have nots stays and the more homogenous college campus populations will be. This isn’t just a fairness exercise, it’s also a “we need diversity of perspectives to solve problems” one that requires people from different  backgrounds and cultures to be exposed to each other. 

Diversity of thought and experience makes society stronger. Breeding within the same shallow gene pool always makes life weaker. This standardized test issue is a much bigger deal than how it impacts individual kids competing for college admissions slots. And I would imagine Stanford would benefit from having more Richard Sherman and Mark Bradfords and more JC transfers too. As people like to say on the Covid board, absence of evidence one can thrive at Stanford is not evidence of absence of that ability.


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - Phogge - 05-24-2020

Build more classrooms and student housing. Take a chance on some B students that have an exceptional talent in music, art or sports. Plenty OC JC kids too who somehow have a pretty good 40 year adult life.


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - stupac2 - 05-24-2020

(05-24-2020, 05:26 AM)OutsiderFan Wrote:  UC could develop a test exactly like the SAT and if nobody was able to study for it, the results would be fair.

Not really, there's still a differential in "ability to take tests" that matters a lot for this, but isn't a particularly important skill. There are also a lot of potential issues with mental health and test-taking, or learning disabilities, etc. I think it's basically impossible to create a fair test for college admissions, both because of neurodiversity but also I think you're trying to measure something that has too many dimensions that are each difficult-to-impossible to measure.

Also note that "ability to take tests" can be taught, so the kids with rich parents will always have a leg up there, as long as there are SAT-like tests.


RE: Implications of UC dropping SAT/ACT for Stanford - Mick - 05-24-2020

(05-24-2020, 07:06 AM)Phogge Wrote:  Build more classrooms and student housing. Take a chance on some B students that have an exceptional talent in music, art or sports. Plenty OC JC kids too who somehow have a pretty good 40 year adult life.

I would take any C or better student, no matter the test scores, that had created and run a successful business in high school.