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Showing posts from November, 2018

The Death of History?

The last several days have seen a couple of articles about the decline of history majors in America.  How big is the problem?  And is it isolated, or across the proverbial board?

This will let you see the macro trend, and drill down all the way to a single institution, if you'd like.

The four charts, clockwise from top left are: Raw numbers of bachelor's degrees awarded from 2011-2016 (AY); percentage of total (which only makes sense when you color the bars) to show the origins of those degrees; percentage change since the first year selected; and numeric change since the first year selected.

You can color the bars by anything in the top box at right (the blue one) or just leave totals; and you can filter the results to any region, or group of years, or major group (for instance, history, or physical sciences), or even any specific institution.  And of course you can combine filters to look at Business majors in the Southeast, if you wish.

That's it.  Pretty simple.  Let m…

Your daily dose of "No Kidding"

As a young admissions officer in 1985, I went to my first professional conference, AACRAO, in Cincinnati. I don't remember much about it, but one session is still clear to me. I had chosen a session almost by accident, probably, because it was admissions focused in a conference that was mostly registrars. And fate stepped in.

There was a last minute substitution, and Fred Hargadon filled in for some person whose name is lost to history. At the time, I didn't think I'd stay in admissions long; my personality type is atypical for the profession, and I didn't find a lot to excite me.  But in this session I found someone who could approach the profession, well, professionally; someone who could view admissions in a much larger context than I was used to seeing.  Someone who was more intellectual and conceptual than friendly (although he was both).

I remember a lot of that session, but one thing has stuck with me through all this time.  He said, "In all my years in t…

2018 AP Scores by State and Ethnicity

The College Board data on AP scores is now available for 2018, but it's hard to make sense of in a macro sense.  The data are in 51 different workbooks, and, depending on how you want to slice and dice the data, as many as eight worksheets per workbook.  What's more, is the data structure; they're designed to print on paper, for those who want to dive into one little piece of the big picture at a time.

So before going any farther, I'd like us all to challenge the College Board and ACT to put out their data in formats that make exploring data easier for everyone. Unless, of course, they really don't want to do that.

I downloaded all 51 workbooks and extracted the actual data using EasyMorph, then pulled it into Tableau for visualization and publication. There are four views here.

The first tab is a simple scattergram, which may be enough: The relationship between a state's median income and the average AP exam score.  While blunt, it points out once again that w…