Monday, December 8, 2014

December's baffler

The SAT Critical Reading score of Applicant X is 3/8 of his SAT Math score. There is a 500 point difference between the two scores.

1. Assuming that Applicant X grew up among native English speakers, what is his likely diagnosis?

2. Should you admit him to your engineering school?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yikes. It depends; does the school have a very robust system for directing students like this into areas of engineering where there will be a fail-safe system for preventing misunderstanding of the task at hand due to verbal limitations?

GoogleMaster said...

I'm wondering how this hypothetical student, let's call him J., managed to get an 800 on the math portion -- even those questions sometimes are open for being misinterpreted.

TerriW said...

He's likely get a high paying job but less likely to have a wife and dependents, so all around more likely to have more disposable income available to donate to his alma mater. So, yes?

(I am only theorizing how these decisions get made.)

lgm said...

That would depend on the validity of the verbal scores. Engineering students need to be able to communicate. I suspect your s on would work closely with Admissions at Rutgers or Drexel or some other school that has the mentoring and support system in place.

GoogleMaster said...

I forgot to answer question 2:

Yes! Since engineering schools already admit non-English-speaking students who cheated on the TOEFL, and may have cheated on the SAT also (see various recent articles on that subject), they should certainly consider a student who already speaks and reads and understands English natively -- as long as it's unambiguous -- who did NOT cheat on his SATs, and who is willing and able to understand and dig into the math and engineering parts.

I would look for a smaller school with a high population of, shall we say, quirky nerds, with a good Disability Services department, e.g. http://www.dss.rice.edu/Content.aspx?id=42

Also check on wrongplanet.net -- there's a whole section of the discussion forum devoted to School and College Life, and there are probably some threads with tips for applying to colleges with unbalanced SATs.

TerriW said...

It appears there are clues in this post that this is, in fact, not hypothetical. Those clues are not my forte. (Did not mean to sound callous in previous comment.)

Katharine Beals said...

TerriW, You didn't sound callous! I think it was less a matter of clues than of clever readers. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts!

Auntie Ann said...

There are trade-offs with small schools, though. If you are looking for a good peer group, sometimes it's easier to find at a large school, with a greater variety of people with different interests, than at a small one. With a small school, sometimes there just aren't enough people around to be friends with.

Jeff Boulier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Boulier said...

have a friend, and old co-worker, who would partially fit this description. I don't know what the exact difference between this native-born English speaker's Math/Verbal score was, but at least one college requested that he take the TOEFL. He quickly dropped out of the moderately-selective school he was admitted to, but continued to work at the university's computer center. He's wound up doing quite well in life.

Whatever his learning disability was -- or, indeed, if he had one, I never knew. (*) His wife told me once that she was proud that she'd managed to get him reading magazines and credited herself with great improvements in his verbal skills.

Anyway, the point of this story, if there is one, is that with a huge variance between verbal & math scores, colleges may just assume that he's an immigrant. (In a sense, this is problematic, because it could lead to him being admitted to a too-demanding school.)

(*) My friend was definitely not "weird" by IT standards, though admittedly these are kind of loose.