The Great Equalizer

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Ravens, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. Ravens

    Ravens Member

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    I often read posts about the SAT and ACT being the "great equalizer" that the Academies uses to measure a candidate's academic ability. The posts usually state that these standardized test are administered through out the country and it's the one method the Academy can count on to provide a non-biased score. Would you believe me if I said - not so fast my friend. I think this article can explain it a bit clearer.....

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/10/...-sat-like-a-rich-kid.html?mwrsm=Facebook&_r=0

    This definitely was an interesting read.
     
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  2. helmsdown

    helmsdown Member

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    He seemed a bit sour grapes. Kids that go to schools like that don't usually come from families with no college. It's the American way. Your kids do better than you but you have to know what it takes to advance them.
     
  3. mjm

    mjm 5-Year Member

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    Taking the SAT/ACT is no different than taking any other test..... If you prepare you will do better. There are plenty of online courses that are free and books that can be bought for a minimal amount or checked out of a library. The differences in public schools across the country is astounding. When my now 2/c got to the academy he said that there were kids who had perfect GPA's in high school that could not even keep up with the workload plebe year. This is the argument for SAT/ACT.
     
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  4. Ravens

    Ravens Member

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    Helmdown, there is no sour grapes. I just thought this article was interesting. The point of the article was to shed some light on the problem with using the standardize test as the be all - end all. It explains why some candidates in wealthier zip codes have to score in the 1400-1500 range to be considered competive while others candidates in the same district that are not privy to these types of resources have a difficult time competing.
     
  5. Capri120

    Capri120 Parent

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    What surprises me these days is how there are so many opportunities, either via free or paid classes, to improve SAT or ACT scores. What ever happened to the times when it was a measure of what someone actually learned in high school?

    Back in my day, prep classes didn't exist, that I know of. Neither of my parents even graduated high school. Yet, on the first and only ACT test I ever took, I earned a composite 33. This was all due to what I learned in high school. And, mind you, a small school with a graduating class of about 65. Granted, I knew some classmates that had GPAs close to mine, but could not score even 20 on the ACT. This is more a function of "test taking" abilities than knowledge. We used to call them "dot tests".
     
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  6. Ravens

    Ravens Member

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    I do think the SAT / ACT are needed. I agree with what MJM states...it is the only real way to measure...
     
  7. Capri120

    Capri120 Parent

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    I guess my point is, even though for some, SAT and ACT scores can even the playing field, I don't believe it is always a true measure of whether someone can succeed either academically or otherwise.

    My 0.2 cents.
     
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  8. mjm

    mjm 5-Year Member

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    The SAT/ACT was specifically designed to predict a students future academic success in a college setting. This does not mean that it will predict their success in their professional life ( SAT/ACT score has a very small correlation to professional success). The issue has become: the test was designed to measure what a student has learned during the entirety of high school and now students are taking the SAT/ACT in sophomore and junior year when they have not had the full complement of classes. This has created the need for test prep.
     
  9. helmsdown

    helmsdown Member

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    I hope you didn't think I was referring to you. The author had the opportunity through his scholarship but chose to skip the prep classes. Often success comes from a mentor who has walked the path or at least been close enough to observe the path others took to success. Parents that did not attend college can wish it for their children but may have little insight as to what it takes to attend.
     
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  10. Capri120

    Capri120 Parent

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    BTW...one person in my high school graduating class that had a high GPA, but could not make above a 20 on the ACT, went on to college, with a waiver, maintained a high GPA in college, and has been and is very successful in her field.
     
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  11. Capri120

    Capri120 Parent

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    Luckily, ACT and/or SAT scores are only part of the equation for SA appointments.
     
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  12. mjm

    mjm 5-Year Member

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    @Capri120
    You are correct that there are flaws with the test and always exceptions to every rule.... I'm just stating what the data has proven....nothing more:)
     
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  13. Love4monsters

    Love4monsters Member

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    Equity in education is a serious issue and one that will not be resolved anytime soon. Access to programs, higher level courses and intervention are all serious issues that impact ACT/SAT scores and the ability to access selective higher education.

    Starting this fall, students who speak another language than English as their first language will have time and a half on the ACT. This is a first step. Properly funding public schools in order to rival the educational opportunities in wealthy public and private schools is a necessary step for equity.
     
  14. xyz321

    xyz321 Member

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    I agree. It is a complicated issue. I think it is not reasonable to assume that all students have access even to free resources. A student in a struggling school district may also struggle with internet access. He or she may lack mentoring. Some may even be going hungry. None of this helps with test performance. Thank you for posting.
     
  15. Ravens

    Ravens Member

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    I do have one other question.....since SAT scores are only reported to the academies via College Board and likewise for the ACT, is there any information reported to the Academies that may show a candidate received special accommodations like "extra time" due to a "learning disorder". The College Board used to flag these scores but I believe they stopped doing that a long time ago. I don't want to be a conspiracy theorist but I know students who have used this loophole to game the system when I am positive that they don't have a disability in learning.
     
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  16. TexasSoccerMom

    TexasSoccerMom Member

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    My son had the biggest jump in SAT Scores when his Dad/I had him start paying to retake the test. (Meanest parents in the WORLD!). Son had to referee a lot of soccer games in the Texas heat and humidity to pay for those retakes. When he had a vested interest in the test he took ownership and started opening the manual, doing the study guides and taking advantage of all the free resources. After that... boom ... the score jumped way up. So save your money financing those fancy expensive prep classes just have your kid get a job and pay the $70-100 I can't remember exactly how much it costs because I only paid once. If he wanted to retake it he paid for it himself. That was a big sign to me how badly my son wanted an appointment was when he was paying for the retakes and working hard to get the score up.
     
  17. WonderGirl1965

    WonderGirl1965 Member

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    True Ravens, equally there are students who have no "Learning disorder" as you call it who do not receive extra time but suffer from test taking anxiety. Similar to someone with excellent interpersonal, managerial and team building skills who has an almost crippling fear of public speaking. I wouldn't find their inability to stand at a podium in front of a group of people reflective of their work ability anymore than I would find the ACT scores reflective of academic ability or achievement. Test taking is a common fear, as is public speaking, and spiders.
     
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  18. Ravens

    Ravens Member

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    I agree WonderGirl, test anxiety is very real as is fear of public speaking. However, I respectfully disagree with your statement about ACT scores reflecting academic ability. The standardized test scores are very reflective of academic ability and achievement in regards to the admittance process at the SA's. Bottom line, if the scores aren't competive, the file is disqualified quite early. I am just trying to understand if people are actually using bogus learning issues to gain a testing advantage and if this is seen by the board when they review the candidates file.
     
  19. WonderGirl1965

    WonderGirl1965 Member

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    It takes months for SAT/ACT to approve testing accommodations for students who have IEP' s or 504 plans in high school. And my guess is those records would preclude most candidates from the service academies. I am unaware if waivers are granted for candidates with documented disabilities. If they are not approving color blindness and eczema then I doubt ADHD and Dyslexia are big on their waiverable list.
     
  20. Love4monsters

    Love4monsters Member

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    Accommodations on the ACT/SAT are actually quite difficult to obtain especially extended time. If someone has submitted documentation for extended time, they would have to have an actual diagnosis which would also end up on DODMERB.

    My son had one hand to use on his last ACT. He had to submit paperwork to get a table and unattached chair as opposed to one of the desks that are together. He also had to have official documentation to be able to take off his sling and rest his arm on a pillow. All common sense but with the ACT, required documentation. He received no other accommodations. None of those things influenced the outcome of his score but increased his physical comfort. Getting accommodations is not easy even for simple things.
     
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