Archive for December, 2011

California Study Finds That State k-12 Test Predicts Student Performance As Well As SAT

December 9th, 2011

Like most other universities in the country, the University of California (UC) requires that students submit scores from either the SAT or ACT exams as part of their application package. These tests have their origins in the efforts of a handful of elite colleges and universities to expand the socioeconomic diversity and enhance the academic promise of their admissions pools; to reduce the number of tests students must take to apply to college and the burden this places on both prospective students and postsecondary institutions; and to provide a means of comparing students who attend different schools with potentially different grading standards. Despite the appeal of a nationally standardized college entrance exam, critics have asserted that standardized college entrance exams (and the SAT in particular) suffer from several important flaws. These critics argue that the SAT does a poor

job of predicting success in college conditional on student high school grades, is biased against women and under-represented minorities, is coachable and thus advantages more affluent families who can afford to pay for test instruction, imposes an additional hurdle on first-generation college students unfamiliar with the steps they must take to gain admission to a competitive college, and is disconnected from the content and performance standards for state K-12 educational systems.


In an increasingly K-16 policy environment, it is important to consider whether and how tests used to monitor the progress of students through secondary education might serve as a substitute for college entrance exams in the college admissions process. This analysis provides important evidence for reconsidering the decision to privilege college entrance exams over state mandated standardized exams for purposes of college admissions at public universities. The analysis in this brief reveals that the CST exam (required for all California high school students in the 11th grade) offers remarkably similar levels of predictive power in determining college performance, and persistence at UC, to that of the SAT.


The direct link for this publication is:


Students Spend Too Much Time In High School Sports Compared To College Prep

December 7th, 2011

Will Fitzhugh, The Concord Review

I recently received a history paper submitted by a high school Junior who was kind enough

to enumerate the hours he has spent on athletics in a recent year:Football: 13 hours a week, 13 weeks per year. (169 hours),Basketball: 12 hours a week, 15 weeks per year. (180 hours)

Lacrosse: 12 hours a week, 15 weeks per year. (180 hours)

Sumer Lacrosse: 10 hours per week, 15 weeks per year. (150 hours)

This yields a total, by my calculations, of

169 + 180 + 180 hours = 529 hours + 150 in the summer, for a new total of 679 hours.

We are told that there is no time for high school students to write serious history research papers, which they need to do to prepare themselves for college academic requirements. It seems likely that this young man will be better prepared in athletics than in academics.  If it were considered important for all students to read history books and to write a serious history research paper, 679 hours (84 eight-hour days) might just be enough for them to manage that.

This particular young man made the time on his own to write a 28-page history research paper with a bibliography and 107 endnotes and submit it to The Concord Review, but this was not his high school requirement.


Critic Supports For Profit Colleges Compared To Non Profits

December 6th, 2011

Kaplan CEO biographer claims non-profits don’t spend where it matters
Jay Mathews, who recently published a biography on Kaplan Inc. Chairman and CEO, Andrew S. Rosen, recently stated in a Washington Post editorial that “for-profit colleges are here to stay,” and at the same time, by “spending on expensive campus improvements like gourmet restaurants, luxury dorms, gorgeous recreation centers and other stuff that impresses applicants” non-profit universities are not serving the educational needs of students as well as they could be.

College Completion Statistic Of The Week

December 5th, 2011

Only 32.9 percent of men earn a degree in four years, while the percentage
for women is 43.8. The gap shrinks to 5.5 percentage points at the end of the
sixth year. First-generation college students earn a degree at the rate of 27.4
percent after four years, while students whose parents have college degrees
have a graduation rate of 42.1 percent. Asian American and white students had
the highest four-year graduation rates, at 44.9 percent and 42.6 percent
respectively. Degree-attainment rates remain is the highest at private
universities; the lowest numbers come from public four-year colleges. Data from
the survey shows that overall graduation rates in colleges and universities
went up by about 2.5 percent when compared to similar data from 10 years ago.

Source: Completing College: Assessing
Graduation Rates at Four-Year Institutions
 via Scott Swail

College Admissions: Increasingly, Money Matters More Than Merit

December 4th, 2011

What matters most in college admissions — money or merit?
Guest blog by Esther Quintero/Washington Post

A recent survey of college admission directors and enrollment managers conducted by Inside Higher Education sparked considerable media coverage about an issue that is not entirely new: Money, not only merit, matters in college admissions. According to the survey of 462 directors and managers, in the face of generalized budget cuts, universities are favoring applicants who don’t need financial assistance to pay their tuition. About 22 percent agreed that “the financial downturn [had] forced them to pay more attention to an applicants’ ability to pay when [making] admissions decisions.” Directors acknowledged seeking more candidates who would not need financial aid, including out-of-state and international students. (more…)

A New Era For College Admissions?

December 1st, 2011



If you want to buy shares of stock, bid on antiques, search for a job, or look
for Mr. Right in 2011, you will likely go to a marketplace driven by the
electronic exchange of information. There will be quick, flexible transactions,
broad access to buyers and sellers, and powerful algorithms that efficiently
match supply and demand. If you are a student looking for a college or a
college looking for a student, by contrast, you’re stuck with an archaic,
over-complicated, under-managed system that still relies on things like bus
trips to airport convention centers and the physical transmission of pieces of
paper. That’s why under-matching is so pervasive. The higher education market
only works for students who have the resources to overcome its terrible
inefficiency. Everyone else is out of luck. Kevin Carey writes in Washington Monthly that
all that is about to change and everything we know about college admissions is
about to go out the window

Source:Gay Clyburn, Carnegie Foundation