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Showing posts from December, 2022

Do test-optional policies increase diversity?

If you want a definitive answer, you can stop now.  As Mark Twain allegedly said, "I was gratified to be able to give an answer right away.  I said I didn't know." However, critics of test optional like to trot out this study from 2014 , suggesting test-optional policies do not increase diversity. There are a couple of problems with using that paper to prop up this argument, however: First, the study included about 200 liberal arts colleges, and nowhere does it suggest that the conclusions can be generalized, or even that the results are reflective of reality every where else.  Second, the study explicitly states that the SAT sorts students by social class, not just academic ability.  You can't cite the outcomes without including lines like, "Despite the clear relationship between privilege and standardized test performance..." but somehow test lovers overlook that.  Finally, admissions, opportunity, culture, and policy are complex.  The belief that waving a

Enrollment trends, 2011-2021

Fresh IPEDS data dropped this week, and my evenings have been busy downloading, cleaning, and structuring the data.  Since it's the holiday season, I won't even complain that IPEDS could make this all easy for anyone who wants to get the data, but then I suppose I'd have to shut down the blog. This is pretty easy, I think: Answer almost any important enrollment question you might have about the last eleven years (as long as you don't want information about even-numbered years, of course). There are two types of controls here: The ones in the blue boxes allow you to select only certain elements of the data.  You might want to look at enrollment trends for full-time, female, undergraduate students.  Three clicks in the boxes and you're there. You can also look at individual institutions or a handful of institutions.  That filter is at the very top.  Hover over the Big Question Mark at top left for instructions about how that filter works. Finally, once you've sele

Finding your major

This is a popular post with anyone who works with high school students, and I've just updated it with fresh data from 2021 graduates; it's mainly helpful for two types of cases: Students who are looking for very uncommon majors Students who want to see which colleges have the largest departments in their specific major This is pretty straightforward, and I've put the instructions in tool tips; just hover over the icons in the shape of an I you'll see on the visualization. There are three ways to filter to get just the results your student needs: At top left, you can choose the academic elements, like broad academic category (health care, or business, for instance); academic major; and degree level (it defaults to bachelor's degrees, but you can change that if you want.) To find a major, type any part of the name, and press "Enter."  You'll see a list with all the possible matches.  So if you type "Eng" you'll get Engineering as well as En

Are graduation rates an input or an output? (redux)

This is a refresh of a popular post I've done a few times, asking the important question in the title. People tend to think of graduation rates as an output of the institution, and of course, in some sense, they are; they are certainly measured that way.  But what if I told you that a college's six-year graduation rate (and, to a lesser extent, its four-year graduation rate) can be easily predicted by a single variable that we know before a student ever sets foot on campus? I bet you'd want to see the proof. The variable is the mean SAT (or ACT) score of the incoming class of first-year students.  AHA! some of you are saying.  How can you be test-optional then? Relax.  The SAT and ACT are nice proxies for all the things that help determine who is going to graduate from college in America.  In one nice little number, it encapsulates several of those factors: Academic preparation (remember, the scores are good proxies for high school GPA, the best predictor of student perform