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23

Thursday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Feb 26, 2024 12:19 PM

Yesterday's most active topics included Yale becoming "text flexible", MCPS's Virtual Academy, and Wisconsin Avenue development. Concluding today is a look at a day in the life of one of DCUM's most active trolls.

Yesterday's most active thread was the one about the soccer club merger. The rumor that started that thread finally turned out to be true with official announcements of the merger. The most active thread after that was titled, "Per NYT, Yale now ‘test flexible’" and posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. I was disappointed with the effort put into the initial post by the original poster. While the title referenced a New York Times article, there was no link to the article. Nor was an excerpt provided, but rather a short, one-sentence summary. Yale University has decided to once again require that standardized test scores be submitted by applicants. However, the policy that Yale describes as "test flexible" will allow applicants "to submit scores from subject-based Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests in lieu of SAT or ACT scores." I have discussed a number of test-related threads in this blog and this thread has much in common with previous threads. The various points of view are well-established. At one end of the spectrum are posters who believe that standardized tests are the best method of identifying the students most likely to be successful in college. These posters often claim that test optional policies are simply a ruse allowing admission of less prepared minority students. At the other end of the spectrum are posters who oppose tests which they believe may be biased against minorities and subject to gaming by affluent families who can afford extensive test prepration and test retakes. As was the case earlier when Dartmouth University reversed its test optional policy, this policy change is being cast as being in the interest of underrepresented minority students. The theory is that such students have not been submitting their scores because they believed them to be too low. However, schools would have viewed the scores in context of the students' background and given weight to scores even if they were lower than those of more privileged students. Therefore, by not submitting test scores, these students were actually hurting their chances. This sounds great in theory but I am skeptical about how it will work in practice. The Supreme Court decision prohibiting race from being a factor in admissions was based on evidence that Harvard University and the University of North Carolina were admitting minority students with lower test scores than White or Asian students. Now, Yale and Dartmouth are essentially saying that they plan to do exactly that. When asked about the legal implications of this by the New York Times, Yale's dean of undergraduate admissions basically shrugged it off. As a result, I am somewhat suspicious that the claims about URMs are a cynical cover story and the real motivation for dropping test optional policies is to appease certain stakeholders who are likely to benefit from requiring test scores (or at least believe they will benefit). So it will be interesting to see how this plays out in practice.

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