Saturday, December 24, 2011

FedupMom, GasstationWithoutPumps, Anonymous on The Race to Remediation


FedUpMom said...

Katharine, I often hear people ask, "which is it -- are kids overworked or underprepared?"
I think it's a false dichotomy. It is absolutely possible for kids to be both overworked and underprepared, and I think it's extremely common.

How can this be? It's because the mountains of homework and test prep that our kids labor under are in fact meaningless crap.

Anonymous said...

Katherine, the high rejection rates of the top colleges (and many that are not top) is a direct result of the fact that today's students are likely to apply to 10 colleges rather than 3 (or even 1, which was common when I was in high school).

gasstationwithoutpumps said...

The pools have gotten bigger, but not better at the top schools. In fact, the increasing size of the application pools has resulted in dilution of the pools with more less-prepared students. As a result, criteria that worked well enough in the past at getting a decent entering class may fail on the weaker pool. (At one time random selection from the pool would have gotten a decent entering class, but not so much any more.)

Also, in most schools faculty don't select the entering class—admissions officers do. The admissions officers and the faculty may have very different ideas about what the ideal entering class is like. Admissions officers are much more interested in demographics (race, gender, geographic origin, … ) than in individual readiness, which may compromise their ability to select students who will do well in college.

Anonymous said...

At the same time, and in many of the same schools, some kids are underprepared and some kids are overachievers - both academically and in extracurriculars. A couple of years ago, a graduate wrote a book about the tremendous pressure on kids from her old HS; I'm very familiar with that school and there are plenty of relaxed kids (probably most) and some drifters. The overachievers do apply to many schools,often a mix of Ivies, the Duke type, UVA and UNC (as out-of-staters) and perhaps their state flagship school or a smaller private as their safe school. The issue of admissions people and academics having different priorities is also valid. I've often thought I'd like to see academic departments select their students with as much diligence and care as the coaches select their players. I'm sure it would be a different mix; the physics and math departments aren't likely to worry about one B in English from a math genius, but I know one kid that was rejected from MIT while they admitted a weaker math but better all-around kid from his school (same sex and race).

1 comment:

gasstationwithoutpumps said...

"I've often thought I'd like to see academic departments select their students with as much diligence and care as the coaches select their players."

Academic departments do get to do this—for grad students. It is an enormous amount of work to select 20 students out of 100 then try to get them accept the offer. It would be much more difficult to do that for the much larger applicant pool at the undergrad level where there is much less useful information about each applicant, which is why almost all colleges have gone to staff-level undergrad admissions, rather than having faculty do admissions.