“Simple practice effects” and the SAT

Useful article in the Washington Post re: standardized testing and fairness: No one likes the SAT. It’s still the fairest thing about admissions.

I’ll post some of the sections on income and scores in a bit, but this section on tutoring caught my eye:

Highly paid tutors make bold claims about how much they can raise SAT scores (“my students routinely improve their scores by more than 400 points”), but there is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence that coaching can reliably provide more than a modest boost — especially once simple practice effects and other expected improvements from retaking a test are accounted for. For the typical rich kid, a more realistic gain of 50 points would represent the difference between the average students at Syracuse and No. 197 University of Colorado at Boulder — significant, perhaps, but not dramatic.

By Jonathan Wai, Matt Brown and Christopher Chabris | 3/22/2019

Simple practice effects !

yeesh

Continue reading

Admissions fraud, take 2

One of the topics Ed and I enjoy being mutually scandalized over is the fact that people are willing to pay upwards of $70K/year to send their kids to college. Even worse: a fair number of people are willing to go into debt for that amount just to underwrite four years of undergraduate education.

Go to school four years, spend 40 years paying the bill — mind blowing. 

But the admissions fraud story has reactivated our family motto. It’s always worse than you think

Never did it cross our minds that there were parents who, in order to get their children into a good college, were willing to risk going to jail.

I feel wet behind the ears.

And see:
Admissions fraud, take 1
Admissions fraud, take 2

Admissions fraud and extra time

Admissions fraud, take 1

Take 1: they should have hired me to tutor their kids.

Except for the part about bribing coaches, of course. 

I know that’s a flippant reaction, but flippant or no, it was one of the first thoughts I had.

If you want your child to have higher scores, it’s much safer to hire a good tutor than to pay people to take the test for him or her. 

And see:
Admissions fraud, take 1
Admissions fraud, take 2

Admissions fraud and extra time

ACT results: 82nd percentile to 96th

 4/29/2017:
Timed practice test
6/9/2017 ACT  9/8/2017 ACT
 English  27 – 85th %  34 – 98th %  35 – 99th %
 Reading  23 – 66th %  30 – 88th %  31 – 91st %
 Comp. 1  26 (est.) – 82nd %  29 – 92nd %  31 – 96th %

National Distributions of Cumulative Percents for ACT Test Scores ACT-Tested High School Graduates from 2015, 2016 and 2017

1. The composite score includes all four sections of the ACT: English, reading, math, science.