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Old 09-20-2015, 01:30 PM
 
18 posts, read 24,822 times
Reputation: 44

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As a former college professor whose participated in a long term success study, far too much weight (in judging schools) is given to test scores. Test scores have become increasingly more uncorrelated with college/future success. This is due to all of the coaching these students are receiving for these tests; thus they score very well. Some prominent colleges have even stopped using SAT scores entirely; though they still request them. This is also a reason you see a decrease in full rides offered to NMSF.

It was heart breaking to teach my College Algebra and Calculus classes and see students who had been taught how to test well but couldn't do math! They complained to me that 'they were good in math in high school'. And yes, these were private school students.

As a parent, please realize that the schools with the highest test scores are NOT always the best schools. Often they are benefiting from favorable demographics and 'coach/drill the test' programs. Alternatively, schools that don't make the list are necessarily bad schools; they may lack the resources needed to produce NMSF; note that kids who've been coached are helping to set the line between NMSF and nonNMSF. More importantly, those high test score schools aren't necessarily the best school for YOUR child(ren).
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Old 09-20-2015, 06:22 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
2,346 posts, read 5,801,619 times
Reputation: 2284
Quote:
Originally Posted by MurphyPl1 View Post
Actually 3 of the members live in the East cluster.

Hinton - Parker
Moebius - Murphy
Humphrey - Richardson

All are customers of mine.
You are right. I stand corrected.

The West members and their cities/schools of residence are:

Bender - Plano/Jasper
Richards - Plano/Shepton
Stolle - Dallas/Shepton
Solomon - Plano/Shepton (sends his kids to Jasper)

The Central cluster board members are:

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Old 09-20-2015, 11:30 PM
 
233 posts, read 221,699 times
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I know Bender, she is a PESH graduate, was accepted to an Ivy but went to another school on scholarship. I can't recall which school but do know that she use to work at IBM. She seems quite passionate about her district.
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
2,346 posts, read 5,801,619 times
Reputation: 2284
Quote:
Originally Posted by DallasG View Post
I know Bender, she is a PESH graduate, was accepted to an Ivy but went to another school on scholarship. I can't recall which school but do know that she use to work at IBM. She seems quite passionate about her district.
I don't doubt the passion of the board members. It's a largely thankless job.

However, when you're living the "west Plano" lifestyle on a day-to-day basis, it's easy to fall into thinking such as:

Quote:
Plano West has more money and education so obviously they are ahead.
and, as a result, be willing to accept a huge discrepency in performance between the schools as inevitable and natural, and not something for the board to be concerned about.

That can then evolve (and indeed, HAS evolved) into a situation where students at the rich schools are given more advantages and learning opportunities than the poorer schools.

After all, why bother offering "Intro to Engineering" or "Creative Writing" in the Central or East cluster feeders - those kids are just going to be attending Collin or UTD, and don't need to create competitive college apps.

--

For example, this year, the district ran college fairs at both Plano West and Plano Senior.

Here's the list of schools appearing at West:

http://k-12.pisd.edu/schools/pshs/20...llegeNight.pdf

Here's the list of schools appearing at Senior:

http://k-12.pisd.edu/schools/pshs/20...llegeNight.pdf

For the tl;dr version, here's a sampling of schools being pitched to West kids, but not Senior kids:

Air Force Academy
UCLA
Wash. U.
Penn State
Auburn
BYU
Brown
Bucknell
Carleton
William & Mary
Hamilton
Middlebury
Stanford
Tulane
Vanderbilt
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Old 09-21-2015, 11:44 AM
 
233 posts, read 221,699 times
Reputation: 130
You don't need to be a Plano West student to attend their college fair, kids usually go to one which is on a suitable time slot for them and has more colleges of their interest, location isn't of much importance.
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Old 09-21-2015, 01:11 PM
 
35 posts, read 25,444 times
Reputation: 43
Our daughter goes to Renner Middle and she was shocked that during college week, the presenters were focusing on recommending Collin community college and discouraging students from aiming high. While may not impact those who are already motivated, it does limit economic upward mobility.
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Old 09-21-2015, 01:55 PM
 
3,084 posts, read 6,474,838 times
Reputation: 4430
Since I have a child who is NMSF this year and I saw this thread mentioned on a thread in FW forum I thought I would come and see how Dallas/Collin county areas had fared and maybe pick up some good information. Not much to be found but thought maybe I could add something current.

The cutoff for Texas this year was 220 (not 218 as one post said) which is the highest it has ever been. I would guess with the lower number making the cutoff that those who did make it did so by several points. For instance, my child scored 224. I guess we will see how many come out as commended and if it is a larger number than usual we will know that the tops scores were definitely more than just at the cutoff.

FWIW My child's school offers the PSAT to any 9th grader that wants to take it, although you have to pay for it and they pay for all 10th and 11th graders to take it. For those who show the potential to score high, the district offered to pay for a large portion of a prep program through a local company. We took them up on that for the summer before 11th grade because the program not only teaches how to take the test successfully, they allow you to take as many practice tests as you wish and get quick personal feedback. That was the main draw. If my child had not wished to take this course, we would have opted out with no regrets.

Having said that, I have to say the school has not done much to promote this journey besides the above and other than including it in their daily announcements nothing was done to celebrate the accomplishment either. Small let down, but ah well. Just knowing that college will likely be paid for is the best reward!

There are numerous colleges who provide free tuition to students who become finalists, however the catch is the student MUST list that particular school as their first choice on the NM application. (not the school application). For instance - A&M offers free tuition to NMFinalists, and still auto-accepts top 10% students from Texas. The student must list A&M as their first choice on the NM application in order to be guaranteed that scholarship upon admission. Thankfully that does not have to be filled in before deadline for submission which is Oct 7th! Students can wait as late as May 1 so that they have applied to all their college choices first and gotten decisions. Then they can go back and update the finalist app with their first choice.

So you can't list OU (which also offers free tuition to finalists) as your first choice then choose to attend A&M instead and expect to get their free tuition, because you won't get it.

Off the top of my head I can say that these Texas schools offer guaranteed scholarships (as long as they are listed as first choice) to NM finalists: TCU, SMU, UTD, UTA, UNT, A&M, U of Houston, TT, ACU, and Trinity U.

Neither Rice nor UT offer a NM scholarship, however they have some that are comparable, they just are not guaranteed like the others.

There are very few colleges who up front offer a full ride. Many of those, however, will pile on stipends or other scholarships so that it often comes out where you pay little to nothing in the end.

In regards to AP credits, Texas passed a law that requires state colleges, who accept AP credits, to accept scores of 3, 4 and 5 on AP testss, so schools like UT who used to require a 4 or 5 has to accept 3 as well now. That law went into effect Sept 1 of this year.
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Old 09-21-2015, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
2,346 posts, read 5,801,619 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hypocore View Post

So you can't list OU (which also offers free tuition to finalists) as your first choice then choose to attend A&M instead and expect to get their free tuition, because you won't get it.
Well, they can, but they have to log on at the National Merit site and "update" their college choice before May 1 or before OU makes them a NM scholarship offer, whichever comes first.

Quote:

Off the top of my head I can say that these Texas schools offer guaranteed scholarships (as long as they are listed as first choice) to NM finalists: TCU, SMU, UTD, UTA, UNT, A&M, U of Houston, TT, ACU, and Trinity U.
This list is, AFAIK, accurate, but it doesn't tell the whole story. Some of these (UTD, Houston) are full tuition or even full rides, some are substantial discounts (TAMU's $10K/year) and some are chump change (TCU's and Trinity's $2K/year, which is a drop in the bucket off their sky-high private tuition).
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Old 09-21-2015, 04:28 PM
 
3,084 posts, read 6,474,838 times
Reputation: 4430
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big G View Post
Well, they can, but they have to log on at the National Merit site and "update" their college choice before May 1 or before OU makes them a NM scholarship offer, whichever comes first.



This list is, AFAIK, accurate, but it doesn't tell the whole story. Some of these (UTD, Houston) are full tuition or even full rides, some are substantial discounts (TAMU's $10K/year) and some are chump change (TCU's and Trinity's $2K/year, which is a drop in the bucket off their sky-high private tuition).
Well, I did say some add on stipends and other scholarships.....TCU's starts at $2000 and goes up in accordance with SAT scores, but that amount isn't published, so it's a guessing game.

TCU doesn't offer the major wanted by my kiddo, so they are off the radar for us anyway. :-)
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Old 09-22-2015, 10:36 AM
 
7,312 posts, read 8,149,428 times
Reputation: 5406
Quote:
Originally Posted by RenaInTexas View Post
As a former college professor whose participated in a long term success study, far too much weight (in judging schools) is given to test scores. Test scores have become increasingly more uncorrelated with college/future success. This is due to all of the coaching these students are receiving for these tests; thus they score very well. Some prominent colleges have even stopped using SAT scores entirely; though they still request them. This is also a reason you see a decrease in full rides offered to NMSF.

It was heart breaking to teach my College Algebra and Calculus classes and see students who had been taught how to test well but couldn't do math! They complained to me that 'they were good in math in high school'. And yes, these were private school students.

As a parent, please realize that the schools with the highest test scores are NOT always the best schools. Often they are benefiting from favorable demographics and 'coach/drill the test' programs. Alternatively, schools that don't make the list are necessarily bad schools; they may lack the resources needed to produce NMSF; note that kids who've been coached are helping to set the line between NMSF and nonNMSF. More importantly, those high test score schools aren't necessarily the best school for YOUR child(ren).
Rambling a little as I'm stuck at Hobby for a while.......

1. IMO people simply don't contextualize test score data very well. My contention is three fold, and this is fairly obvious stuff I think. As SAT/ACT scores rise they become more and more useful - see the link below. There are a number of studies that indicate among roughly the top 10% of scorers - where one ranks is nicely predictive of college/grad school success and future earnings. Secondly, test scores help differentiate the gaggle of kids across America who end up with GPAs in the 3.50-4.00 or better range..............the SAT strongly implies which kids with 4.00 are good fits for Texas Tech and which are good fits for Cal Tech, Stanford, UT Honors etc. The SAT/ACT helps kids and educators understand who is a good high stakes test taker and who is not. A kid who is a poor high pressure test taker needs to know this information early and adjust accordingly.

This Table Proves Just How Much SAT Scores Predict Future Success - Business Insider

1A. Do you have specific information showing SAT/ACT scores have become less and less correlated with future successes? Information that explains any changes beyond what we might expect from The Flynn Effect and other factors?

1B. There is no question coaching helps. However, a kid who "naturally" would have scored a PSAT 150 is not going to leap into the 220s via test prep. It simply does not work like that. All high stakes tests have ancillary test prep. - that's just life.

1C. Which colleges offer merit based scholarships and why is complex. There is a lot of societal pressure on colleges to move from merit based scholarships to need based scholarships. That in part yields colleges that can't or don't want to offer much merit based scholarship money moving away from automatic awards.....colleges that do offer a lot of scholarship money continue to embrace NMSFs etc.

1C1. The SAT/ACT optional school thing is vastly overblown and oversold by the Fairtest people. The fact is an SAT/ACT score is required for the vast majority of major slots at all colleges. Even more so within STEM and related fields of study.

2. Are you saying only private school kids struggled in your math classes?

3. Regarding your last point. Broadly speaking NMSF/PSAT metrics are valuable if one understands these kids comprise a very thin layer of overachievers and in no important way define the balance of students in aggregate or within particular schools. More narrowly however, if a school cranks out an outsized number of NMSFs year after year that does tells me something. Alternatively, if the comprehensive high schools in a large district crank out between 0 and 5 per decade, like DISD, that tells me something as well. For me a combination of PSAT/NMSF results plus SAT/ACT metrics (mean, middle 50% spread, participation rates, weighted moving averages etc.) tell me a lot about a school and who attends and parental involvement.

4. So far as your, "favorable demographics" line.......let's just remember a couple of things. "Favorable demographics" within a particular school don't happen by accident. Smart people are rational actors especially regarding their kids. So smart parents cluster their kids with the kids of other smart parents. This kind of thing is the overwhelming norm across the first world. It's important to remember that according to the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth, and similar findings across the first world the best indicator of a child's IQ, income and educational attainment isn't family income nor even parental educational attainment.......it's the mother's IQ.

https://www.aei.org/publication/why-...ffluence-test/
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