Ringleader of college admissions scandal now admits he helped over 750 families sneak their way into college


My dude, the whole phenomenon of testing is itself racially biased.


“Impediment” is a relative term. They got past those and were taken down at the next level. By that time, though, some (not all, obviously) had demonstrated their grasp of the requisite knowledge and skills to the satisfaction of the professors but could not clear the exam hurdle. Some, to the shame of the profession, were able to clear that hurdle despite very clearly not grasping said knowledge sufficiently. Not claiming there is no place for such tests, but to make them the sole and exclusive go-no go gauge is a poor tool. What the are is easy. You don’t have to subjectively evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate, you just put the sheet through the scoring machine and “objectively” pitch those below “X” score. Not a fan of that process, despite having benefited greatly from it.



I excelled at standardized tests despite both my demographics and the inherent class bias of said tests; likely because I was an avid reader as a kid, in addition to the fact that my mom busted her ass to get me into better than just subpar schools.


You are not the only one. Did awesome on them. I went into either the SAT or ACT in my running gear for an Orienteering meet later that day even.
Not that any of that test taking smarts helped me with things like STUDY SKILLS or anything.
Looking at you 2.6 GPA in dropped out. Mind you if I had the chance to go back to school I would totally pick something completely different that what I was learning back then.


Same here; it was easy for me to see the recurring patterns in most of the questions of any standardized test.

Also same here.

I tested at a collegiate sophomore’s level when I was a sophomore in high school.

So imagine everyone’s disappointment that I wasn’t interested in doing the endless amounts of pointless busy-work and ass kissing that usually goes along with the educational ‘fast track.’


Go Mom! As I think about it, I think doing better in multiple choice tests than, say, studying habits would predict comes in part from having a lot of meta-knowledge and skill in sorting things into a larger context: the kind of thing you can basically only develop from doing a lot of reading.

My parents simply didn’t have a TV in the house when I was growing up. I can’t fathom how different my life would have been if it spent all that reading time zoning out in front of network TV reruns in the '80s.

Mind you all my friends did that and they’re mostly more successful than me, but they’re also probably just a lot smarter and more motivated (not to mention better looking) than me.


There’s the irony;
I was totally ‘an Mtv kid’, who spent way too much of my childhood watching tv. But I was a bonafide nerd too, constantly with my head in a book much of the time.


Your field is one that would work well with simulation testing. Coordinate with a local drama school and run scenarios.

It’s one thing if – on paper – you can list off signs and symptoms and reccomend treatment. It’s another if you can pull that off based on someone’s subjective description of what’s going on while there’s a screaming baby in the next room (or in your room for that matter). Doing these simulations prior to loosing students on real patients (even with supervision) might give a much better idea who can handle themselves under real-world style situations, as opposed to the test.

This comes from someone who could list off right answers on paper, easily, but fails far too often in RL scenarios. This is why I have never learned First Aid: when someone would need it most would be when my knowledge would fail. Which is not good when it comes to life and death.


Yeah, Gaussian distributions often (almost always?) come from satisfying the central limit theorem. That is, when you are averaging a bunch of non-correlated random variables. i.e. if knowing the answer to question 1 doesn’t have anything to do with knowing the answer to question 2. If the exam questions are correlated — like when they all require you to know how to take a derivative — there shouldn’t be a strong expectation to see the bell shape.


Given that I was watching TV in the hospital shortly after I was born, even when we did get TV I watched (and still do!) with a book in hand, so I doubt much would be different if we’d gotten it earlier.

Despite the catchiness of “the medium is the message” and theories about “active versus passive” media, the biggest factor is not how you consumed something, but the complexity and engagement. An avid reader of Tiger Beat and other such magazines (but not much else) wouldn’t have been much farther ahead than the TV watcher, even without television. (Today’s Teen Vogue reader might be better equipped than consumers of mainstream newspapers).

Breadth and depth of information consumed is more important than what medium it was consumed from.


That is an excellent proposal, and actually has been tried in a few places. Catch is, it’s expensive, subjective and just plain hard. Of course, that subjective and hard is a pretty good description of my every single encounter. I am a little bit of a hard ass on this (or so i have been told) but my favorite evaluation tool is the “simulated, unannounced code blue” test. Lots of folks have the knowledge, but what happens under live fire. A whole lot freeze up. You have to make quick decisions with incomplete, and sometimes contradictory, information and be accurate. You have to be willing to admit to being wrong and change paths in literally a heartbeat. Loads of fun!! There are an amazing number of folks who go on to practice medicine who fail this miserably. Kinda sad.


And that’s the thing standardized tests want to address, right? Because you don’t want:

“Well, he got the answer wrong, but I like the cut of this young man’s jib. Reminds me of myself as a young man! Also, great use of a regatta as a metaphor. A+!”


If you recall, I said there is a place for them as a part of the evaluation but not as the be all and end all. The unfortunate truth is that being able to answer a multiple choice question in a silent room with time to think bears very little resemblance to the real world, infinite choice, split second, loud and distracting setting we actually work in. There are better ways, to quote me.


At this point, it should probably be noted that the Kobayashi Maru is specifically designed such that there is no winning move.


Unless you cheat.

Which I guess brings us full circle!


then when the smart but not-rich kid who went to state and pulled a solid 3.0 competes, he gets denied - because they have to be fair and “well, your grades are lower than Chad’s, what do you want me to do? we have to admit on merit”


And then they fail when it’s not a simulation, and everyone wonders what we could do to prevent these horrible disasters and decide that there’s nothing to be done.

I wish more doctors would admit that. Your specialty is probably one of the most for that. But I have run into doctors who simultaneously don’t want patients to have any opinions on diagnosis while also expecting them to list off their symptoms in textbook terminology and fashion. Yet (as you know) ask five different people to describe how they feel and get seven different answers. Human beings are weird, complex creatures and rarely conform to a standard.


Now filter that description through someone who isn’t sure what the child is actually feeling, but thinks they should, so they confabulate. Yeah, in my field the moment you think you are capable of certainty, you need to move on to another field.


Perhaps there are, but remember that “better” has to scale to 1.7 million students a year, many of which are trying to beat whatever system is put into place. (Most not as blatantly as this, but still.)



I think most are trying to do well in terms of whatever system is in place, not trying to “beat the system.”