Tag Archives: grades

A writer in the Wall Street Journal posited an interesting if not provocative question recently, asking “Is It Fair to Award Scholarships Based on the SAT?” Predictably, the arguments against test scores focus more on questions about student diversity and unequal distributions of wealth and resources. They do not, however, seriously address the idea of merit, which is to say a certain standard of academic accomplishment according to which merit aid is awarded. Perhaps a reticence to acknowledge the elephant in the room in this–and countless other think pieces decrying standardized testing–makes sense. After all, for all the problems with the SAT and ACT, the alternative is much worse: grades are even less reliable and more dependent on privilege than test scores. Is the idea that high school grades cannot be entirely trusted a surprise? Presumably, a student’s grades represent a quantitative expression of academic output over the majority of…

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As far back as the 15th century, the lovelorn and frivolous alike consulted the Daisy Oracle or effeuiller la marguerite in order to divine whether their affections were requited. Asking a flower whether she loves me or loves me not instead of questioning the lady in question herself may strike modern sensibilities as primitive or passive aggressive (note the petal pulling) but we’re not so different today. In the high stakes game of college admissions, some applicants and their families consult every oracle under the sun to pierce the veil of mystery and prognosticate the true desires of admissions professionals. Luckily, other more rational parties simply survey them 😉 The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) conducts both an Admission Trends Survey and a Counseling Trends Survey every year to track various factors related to the transition from high school to postsecondary education in the U.S. along with information…

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Too many students think that academic success depends entirely on innate intelligence, that only the smartest can strive for the highest scores and grades. However, most teachers would tell a dramatically different story: you earn grades based not on what you are but what you do. A popular image of 10 Things That Require Zero Talent has been making the rounds online for years. This idea resonates with anyone who struggled under the misconception that achievement depended on entirely innate abilities. On the contrary, success results from doing lots of little things in the right way at the right time. For this reason, students who struggle in school may not be dealing with an inability to understand a subject. Most poor performance results from a lack of accountability. In order to succeed, students need to maintain accountability to themselves, their teachers, and their support systems. What does academic accountability look…

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Have you ever met someone with really high grades but incongruously low test scores? Of course you have! You may even see yourself, your teen, or one of your students in that all-too-common description. We know from both reason and experience that many high schoolers earn top grades in class but struggle to match that level of accomplishment on standardized tests. Unfortunately, this trend appears to be growing worse. Recent reports confirm that A’s are on the rise in report cards, but SAT scores struggle. Sparking such reports is a recently released study from Michael Hurwitz, senior director at the College Board, and Jason Lee, a doctoral student at the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia. Their findings, according to USA Today, describe a growing gap between different ways to assess college readiness: “…the proportion of high school seniors graduating with an A average — that includes…

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One of the great mysteries of life, apart from why there is no other word for thesaurus, is why success in school doesn’t always translate to success on standardized tests. Not a week goes by where we don’t hear understandable confusion over the disconnect between grades and scores. Why aren’t the two linked more closely? Any potential discrepancy between outcomes in these two separate tasks can be understood by looking at their differences rather than their similarities. Consider some comparable scenarios: You consistently win medals in track events, yet you can’t even make the baseball team. You wowed audiences as the lead in the school play, but backed out of the winter musical because singing is tough for you. Though you speak English fluently, you struggle with other languages. We understand intuitively that every sport or art or language is different, so we don’t expect strength in one area to…

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Love them or hate them, the ACT and SAT serve a number of valuable purposes. Currently, both tests are primarily (but not entirely) college admissions exams. And despite the controversy and anxiety that inevitably accompany the ACT and SAT, most colleges continue to rely on them to inform admissions decisions. Granted, a human being is so much more than a number, but quantitative data matters a lot when evaluating applicants in a pool that exponentially exceeds the number of available seats. Furthermore, standardized test scores aren’t even the most important numbers. All things being equal, a student’s grade point average is the first and foremost metric that matters. Why, then, are tests needed at all? Can’t grades tell the full story of a student’s academic ability? Unfortunately, grades are not enough in most instances. One reason they cannot always be trusted is the dramatic variability in academic excellence from school…

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