Author Topic: College entrance exams and scams  (Read 2277 times)

Midwest

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #50 on: March 14, 2019, 04:05:41 PM »
The paying for lessons and test prep used to be good enough until everyone caught on. Now most of the parents I know have their kids in multiple extracurricular activities. Itís moved into the middle class. Itís no longer a distinguishing, get your kid into Harvard, type deal. Heck you can barely get your kid into StateU at this point. So if everyone is doing it, how does your adorable but not top 1% Foofoo stand out?

Some of my coworkers with kids were joking that theyíd have to do it the old fashioned way, donate enough to build a library in their name.

If the demand for higher education is so grossly exceeding the supply in the US, why are you not increasing capacity?

Capacity is increasing. New schools open all the time, many, unfortunately, are "for profit".
Existing school are also changing their learning models- brick and mortar schools expanding online programs, for instance.

But it is very difficult to increase capacity to an old institution with a long standing reputation.  You can't open tomorrow and have a hundred year history.  And existing schools both don't want to dilute their brand by no longer being exclusive, nor do they want to widen their reach so much they cannot offer quality education and operate as research institutions.  Many universities take their position on research, and not just being a place for students to get a degree and get out very seriously.  University isn't high school; the sole purpose isn't just educating undergrads.

Supply of respected university spots is the issue.

It's a pedigree for the students, a proxy for intelligence and drive. Graduating from an exclusive Ivy indicates that you met some sort of rigorous academic credentials to get there - which this scandal proves to not always be true. The competition is to get into a university that will confer that pedigree onto your child. Having Harvard on your job application is a very different indicator than having American University of London (which is one that apparently handed an MBA to a dog). Employers don't have time to read your essay and peruse your community service experiences, they assume that selective college did the work for them. They even have entire strategies targeting specific universities based on the reputations of the students that tend to matriculate there.

It's not just the harvards of the world doing this.  Our largest state school was open enrollment a few years before I graduated high school, they now take less than 50%of applicants.  Seems like they have made a decision to limit supply to some extent.  Its fairly inexpensive in-state, but they have become much more selective.

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #51 on: March 15, 2019, 04:12:13 AM »
I think this is just the tip of the iceberg and it goes on at most institutions in one way or another. I Have two kids that are athletes in Major Universities right now presently and I have seen my share of things where its not hard to identify some shady things going on. Not sure how this will all pan out but it would be nice for once to see these people be used as examples vs the likelihood they will get a slap on the hand. But being famous or rich people I just see this really unraveling and one story coming out after another.  I also feel bad for the kids that don't know what there parents have done. At the end of all this those that didnt know have to live with there parents egos for the rest of their lives. And while its easy to say there just rich kids or whatever...they didnt chose to be in that life and now i am sure we will hear back stories on how some of these kids lives are trashed from this.

sol

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #52 on: March 15, 2019, 09:13:08 AM »
News reports about some of the kids who were cheated into big schools have convinced me that these kids are very unlikely to be unwitting beneficiaries. 

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #53 on: March 15, 2019, 10:08:55 AM »
Even if they were unaware, they benefitted from the cheating. On one hand I sympathize because they were duped too. But do you allow the students who benefitted from their parentsí bribery stay in school which essentially proves that the system can be scammed? The pleas and jail times then become just another cost to make sure the cheating parentsí kids get the education they felt entitled to bribe them into. What is that telling everyone else who tried to go in the front door but failed?

Most of the articles are saying itíll be on a case by case basis which sounds like the students will get to stay unless they itís obvious they were in on it. And those who have the degrees already will keep them.

In the case of physical goods, the answer is different. If you donít know that the bike you bought was stolen, typically youíre not going to be charged with posssession of stolen property but the police are still going to confiscate it and return it to the rightful owner. You donít get to keep it.

sol

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #54 on: March 15, 2019, 10:26:05 AM »
The pleas and jail times then become just another cost to make sure the cheating parentsí kids get the education they felt entitled to bribe them into.

Well, let's be honest here; none of these people are actually going to jail.  They are rich.

Like so many rich people problems, this one can be fixed with more money.  At worst, they'll pay fines and restitution approximately equal to what it would have cost to buy their kid in the legal way.  Like so many white collar crimes, the punishment for getting caught won't be any worse than just playing it straight from the beginning would have been.  That's why there is so much incentive to game the system.  There is only potential for upside.

Frankly I'm not sure why more rich people don't cheat on their taxes, when the penalty for doing so is to just pay the taxes you owe plus a little extra.  As long as you don't get caught even some of the time, then it's profitable to hire the dirtiest accountant you can find.  Maybe they do, and we just don't hear about it?

Gondolin

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #55 on: March 15, 2019, 10:30:41 AM »
Quote
plan on having their child apply to 7-9 colleges

That seems low to me. I applied to 12 schools and was far from the most prolific at my HS. That was over 10 years ago.

Freedomin5

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #56 on: March 15, 2019, 10:50:51 AM »
I have heard from other parents they plan on having their child apply to 7-9 colleges (in the various categories of reach schools, solid choices, and fall backs). I think it's getting kind of crazy.

Thatís the standard here in the international schools. Most students apply to 10+ colleges, split between the three categories mentioned. Also, most start taking the SATs in Grade 10, and keep taking them until they get the score they want. There are also intensive SAT prep programs that lots of kids attend on the weekends. Schools have multiple built-in activities to ensure that each child is a unique and well-rounded world citizen. Pretty much everyone here does this.

Oh, and we also have school brokers who help families select colleges to apply to, and write the personal statements for the kids, but not everyone uses them.

OtherJen

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #57 on: March 15, 2019, 10:56:22 AM »
Quote
plan on having their child apply to 7-9 colleges

That seems low to me. I applied to 12 schools and was far from the most prolific at my HS. That was over 10 years ago.

Wow. I applied in 1995, and my parents were only willing to pay for 2 applications and only for in-state schools. I wasn't allowed to work, so I definitely didn't have hundreds of dollars for applications! Maybe more schools would have offered me scholarships (both schools where I applied did), but I had no way to find out.

The two schools I applied to now have fees of $65 and $75. Assuming an average of $70 each, 12 applications would be $840! That's a major hurdle for kids from lower-income situations.

Kris

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #58 on: March 15, 2019, 11:03:30 AM »
Quote
plan on having their child apply to 7-9 colleges

That seems low to me. I applied to 12 schools and was far from the most prolific at my HS. That was over 10 years ago.

Wow. I applied in 1995, and my parents were only willing to pay for 2 applications and only for in-state schools. I wasn't allowed to work, so I definitely didn't have hundreds of dollars for applications! Maybe more schools would have offered me scholarships (both schools where I applied did), but I had no way to find out.

The two schools I applied to now have fees of $65 and $75. Assuming an average of $70 each, 12 applications would be $840! That's a major hurdle for kids from lower-income situations.

I applied in the mid-eighties. To three schools. If I remember correctly, the application fee was about $25 per.

Yep. More and more, the idea of a "meritocracy" is ridiculous when tons of kids can't even afford to apply.

OtherJen

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #59 on: March 15, 2019, 11:12:57 AM »
Quote
plan on having their child apply to 7-9 colleges

That seems low to me. I applied to 12 schools and was far from the most prolific at my HS. That was over 10 years ago.

Wow. I applied in 1995, and my parents were only willing to pay for 2 applications and only for in-state schools. I wasn't allowed to work, so I definitely didn't have hundreds of dollars for applications! Maybe more schools would have offered me scholarships (both schools where I applied did), but I had no way to find out.

The two schools I applied to now have fees of $65 and $75. Assuming an average of $70 each, 12 applications would be $840! That's a major hurdle for kids from lower-income situations.

I applied in the mid-eighties. To three schools. If I remember correctly, the application fee was about $25 per.

Yep. More and more, the idea of a "meritocracy" is ridiculous when tons of kids can't even afford to apply.

I don't remember how much the applications were in 1995, but my graduate application to one of the same state universities was $50 in 2005. It is now $75 for state residents and $90 for everyone else. That is a rather insane rate of inflation. Considering that the undergrad application process is now largely online and via a common application site, the inflation seems even more insane.

Midwest

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #60 on: March 15, 2019, 11:16:04 AM »
The pleas and jail times then become just another cost to make sure the cheating parentsí kids get the education they felt entitled to bribe them into.

Well, let's be honest here; none of these people are actually going to jail.  They are rich.

Like so many rich people problems, this one can be fixed with more money.  At worst, they'll pay fines and restitution approximately equal to what it would have cost to buy their kid in the legal way.  Like so many white collar crimes, the punishment for getting caught won't be any worse than just playing it straight from the beginning would have been.  That's why there is so much incentive to game the system.  There is only potential for upside.

Frankly I'm not sure why more rich people don't cheat on their taxes, when the penalty for doing so is to just pay the taxes you owe plus a little extra.  As long as you don't get caught even some of the time, then it's profitable to hire the dirtiest accountant you can find.  Maybe they do, and we just don't hear about it?

It they knowingly faked a large charitable deduction, they might be charged criminally.  If you substantially understate your taxes, there are significant penalties the IRS can/will impose.  At a minimum, they will probably get hit with this if they took a large charitable deduction as has been reported

partgypsy

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #61 on: March 15, 2019, 11:21:22 AM »
The pleas and jail times then become just another cost to make sure the cheating parentsí kids get the education they felt entitled to bribe them into.

Well, let's be honest here; none of these people are actually going to jail.  They are rich.

Like so many rich people problems, this one can be fixed with more money.  At worst, they'll pay fines and restitution approximately equal to what it would have cost to buy their kid in the legal way.  Like so many white collar crimes, the punishment for getting caught won't be any worse than just playing it straight from the beginning would have been.  That's why there is so much incentive to game the system.  There is only potential for upside.

Frankly I'm not sure why more rich people don't cheat on their taxes, when the penalty for doing so is to just pay the taxes you owe plus a little extra.  As long as you don't get caught even some of the time, then it's profitable to hire the dirtiest accountant you can find.  Maybe they do, and we just don't hear about it?

Sol, you're starting to sound cynical.

sol

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #62 on: March 15, 2019, 11:23:14 AM »
Wow. I applied in 1995, and my parents were only willing to pay for 2 applications and only for in-state schools. I wasn't allowed to work, so I definitely didn't have hundreds of dollars for applications! Maybe more schools would have offered me scholarships (both schools where I applied did), but I had no way to find out.

The two schools I applied to now have fees of $65 and $75. Assuming an average of $70 each, 12 applications would be $840! That's a major hurdle for kids from lower-income situations.

Isn't this just another example of how money buys access?  Of how privilege begets privilege?

We already know that there are celebrity families that will eagerly "donate" a million dollars in bribes "institutional advancements" to get their kid into their chosen school, and we've recently learned there are families that will "donate" a million dollars in bribes to get their kid into their chosen school.  We already know that there are many more families that will spend tens of thousands of dollars in private tutors and SAT prep courses to help improve their kid's chances, and forking over another thou or two to pay application fees at 20 schools is chump change by comparison to the hourly rate they're paying their college consultant to fill out all of those applications for them.

Meanwhile, the poors can't afford million dollar donations or bribes, or fancy tutors and prep courses, or twenty application fees, so they takes their chances with a handful of schools and hope for the best.  On average, fewer kids from poor families will get into top universities.  Yay capitalism!

I also applied to colleges in the mid 90s.  I was poor, and I applied to four schools.  I got into three of them, and was not surprised when I didn't get into Harvard (despite exceeding the GPA and SAT standards) because I had to do an interview with a local alum, and 18-year-old me told him he seemed kind of stuck up about being a Harvard man.  I considered that one a bullet dodged.

But now I am a successful (and early-retired) parent to teenagers who will be applying to college in the near future, and I will absolutely pay for AP classes, SAT prep courses, and application fees to as many schools as they want to apply to.  With average starting salaries between tier 1 and tier 2 schools differing by as much as $10k in their very first year of post-graduate employment, I consider it a worthwhile investment.  Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but it seems like money well spent to me.  The big difference between me and Lori Loughlin is that I'm happy to let my kid fail.  My job as a parent is only to provide opportunities.  One of my kids does not care about her grades at all, and is already asking about career choices that don't require any homework, or too many math and science classes.  Another kids is freaking out about US News and World Reports rankings of colleges and is constantly comparing himself to average scores for the student bodies at various schools, but so far isn't interested in actually studying for the SAT to get his scores up to the point he knows they need to be.  I will pay for whatever prep they want, but I'm not going to start calling schools and offering bribes to get them in somewhere.

Personally, I'm kind of hoping they both realized what a good deal the University of Washington is for in-state students.  They both seem to think that you need to leave your home state to find a good school, and are fixated on other state universities that cost twice as much and are ranked less well than UW.  But at this age they still have lots of stupid reasons to choose a school, like where a potential boyfriend/girlfriend wants to go, or how good the basketball team is.

Sol, you're starting to sound cynical.

If you haven't noticed before this, I need to take it up a notch.

I'm a red panda

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #63 on: March 15, 2019, 12:03:56 PM »
I can't say anything about the actual topic of this thread, but about the cost of applying for college, let me drop this here...
https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-in/applying-101/college-application-fee-waivers


And this
https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/practice/khan-academy
Truly the best practice for the SAT is free.  The only thing the paid programs are going to do is give unmotivated kids a captive time where they have to (at least pretend) to be studying.


And if you have a kid in the class of 2020, this is worth checking out too.
https://opportunity.collegeboard.org/



(Please don't quote this post. I might end up deleting it.)

« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 12:06:49 PM by I'm a red panda »

FIRE@50

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #64 on: March 15, 2019, 12:10:38 PM »
I applied to one school. I think my HS paid the fee and mailed in the application along with a transcript for me. I got in. No bribes.

I will make sure that my child goes to a good HS. That is the biggest advantage that she will be given. Her parents are willing to pay the outrageous housing prices that come with a good school district. I will also teach her that elite private schools are a waste of money that don't produce results that are any better than elite public schools. No bribes.

OtherJen

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #65 on: March 15, 2019, 03:15:37 PM »
Wow. I applied in 1995, and my parents were only willing to pay for 2 applications and only for in-state schools. I wasn't allowed to work, so I definitely didn't have hundreds of dollars for applications! Maybe more schools would have offered me scholarships (both schools where I applied did), but I had no way to find out.

The two schools I applied to now have fees of $65 and $75. Assuming an average of $70 each, 12 applications would be $840! That's a major hurdle for kids from lower-income situations.

Isn't this just another example of how money buys access?  Of how privilege begets privilege?


Um, yes. I thought that was obvious.

mm1970

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #66 on: March 15, 2019, 04:49:04 PM »
Is there any university in the US that has a testing-only admissions basis?

The down side of this system was that a diversity-blind admission process creates a very non-diverse student body.  Males and Asians have higher test scores, on average, than women or other ethnic minorities, so the student body was like 70% male, and about 40% Asian.


Not to throw this thread off topic, but I do have to point out that the demographic of student body was not driven by test score but more likely driven by the demographic of the applicants in the first place.  I highly doubt that the women tested worse than men, rather women applied in far lower numbers.  I bet even that a higher percentage of the women overall who did apply back then were accepted simply because you had to be an outlier type of woman to venture into STEM in the first place so were likely already exceptional test performers. 

I am basing the above on my own life experience in STEM.  You are only a few years younger than me, when I was studying Physics and Engineering I was often the only woman in my classes.  It was a sign of the times and how women were conditioned to think about their careers and what they could and couldn't aspire to be. 

The majority of people need role models, affirmative action, for all of its challenges, makes those role models.
I was going to say something similar.  I mean times have changed a bit in the last 3 decades.  I like numbers, so I googled.

When I was in eng school (not Cal Tech, but a top 10 nonetheless), our school was 69% male, 31% female.  The engineering programs were worse overall with respect to that (about half the school was eng/science).  I mean, it certainly worked out for me, being female and all.

I think the biggest thing is # of applicants.  Back then, 54% of applicants were admitted, and 32% of those admitted were enrolled.  I'm sure being female *could* have helped me get in (pretty sure it didn't, but being poor maybe did?  In the end, graduation rates were 70% and I got a 3.7.  So I held my own for sure.)

In 2017, only 22% of applicants were admitted.  There's a LOT more demand for "spots", and many more qualified applicants.  The average GPAs and SATs are far higher now than they were then (1220->1490), and 50% more people were admitted.

mm1970

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #67 on: March 15, 2019, 04:55:05 PM »
Quote
plan on having their child apply to 7-9 colleges

That seems low to me. I applied to 12 schools and was far from the most prolific at my HS. That was over 10 years ago.

Wow. I applied in 1995, and my parents were only willing to pay for 2 applications and only for in-state schools. I wasn't allowed to work, so I definitely didn't have hundreds of dollars for applications! Maybe more schools would have offered me scholarships (both schools where I applied did), but I had no way to find out.

The two schools I applied to now have fees of $65 and $75. Assuming an average of $70 each, 12 applications would be $840! That's a major hurdle for kids from lower-income situations.
late 80's for me
two schools
my first pick and my safety state school

They were $25-35 a pop. 
Actually the state school was $35, but my high school sent off my application without it, so I got a letter from the school.  And they only charged me $25.

My friend's daughter is a junior or senior at Cal Tech.  Pretty sure they applied to 20+

sol

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #68 on: March 15, 2019, 05:04:35 PM »
It's probably worth noting that lower acceptance rates are a natural side effect of kids applying to more schools.  It's not like today's kids have a harder time getting into college, they just apply to more schools and get into fewer of them.

Prairie Stash

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #69 on: March 15, 2019, 05:30:09 PM »
It's probably worth noting that lower acceptance rates are a natural side effect of kids applying to more schools.  It's not like today's kids have a harder time getting into college, they just apply to more schools and get into fewer of them.
Its easier now, you can pay some cash and skip admissions ;)

better late

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #70 on: March 15, 2019, 05:45:15 PM »
It's probably worth noting that lower acceptance rates are a natural side effect of kids applying to more schools.  It's not like today's kids have a harder time getting into college, they just apply to more schools and get into fewer of them.

Agreed.

Also there has been a substantial uptick (at least until 2017) in international students enrolling in US colleges and universities.

http://graphics.wsj.com/international-students/

Kris

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #71 on: March 15, 2019, 05:53:45 PM »
It's probably worth noting that lower acceptance rates are a natural side effect of kids applying to more schools.  It's not like today's kids have a harder time getting into college, they just apply to more schools and get into fewer of them.

Agreed.

Also there has been a substantial uptick (at least until 2017) in international students enrolling in US colleges and universities.

http://graphics.wsj.com/international-students/

Yes.

Because they pay full price. Theyíre more lucrative than American students.

I'm a red panda

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #72 on: March 15, 2019, 06:22:51 PM »
It's probably worth noting that lower acceptance rates are a natural side effect of kids applying to more schools.  It's not like today's kids have a harder time getting into college, they just apply to more schools and get into fewer of them.

Agreed.

Also there has been a substantial uptick (at least until 2017) in international students enrolling in US colleges and universities.

http://graphics.wsj.com/international-students/
.
Universities are hurting for funds with current visa policies.
I know a number of programs where admitted students changed their mind due to the current political administration. That's not even to account for those that couldn't get visas.

mm1970

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #73 on: March 15, 2019, 06:32:17 PM »
It's probably worth noting that lower acceptance rates are a natural side effect of kids applying to more schools.  It's not like today's kids have a harder time getting into college, they just apply to more schools and get into fewer of them.

Some of it, but also more competition in general.

What does it mean when the average SAT score goes from 1220 to 1490?  Some of it means that kids are preparing more, sure (I took the test once, I knew the score was good enough).  Plus the test has changed a bit since then, which can account for a little bit of that.  But 270 points?  No. 

Yes, students are applying to more schools, but those 1220 SAT students that were accepted back in the late 1980s are NOT being accepted now to the same schools.  So, 20,000 students apply, only 4400 get in - those 4400 that get in are far more qualified than they were 30 years ago, as far as SATs go. 

Likewise, the average SAT score for incoming freshmen at UCSB is 1385.  That's ... super high, if you are looking at it from a 1980s scale.  It means that the average student at UCSB is a much more qualified student than they used to be.  So for top schools (not only MIT, Cal Tech, but also many state schools), the average student body quality is getting higher and higher.

I don't know how else to explain it ('cuz it's Friday and I'm tired, and I want to go home).  But it IS harder for today's kids to get into college than it was 30 years ago...if you are comparing apples to apples - kids to kids, and schools to schools.

So, my kids are pretty smart and hardworking, etc.  If my older kid did what we did (went college track in high school, all the honors classes), does well on the SAT first time around (over 1400 but under 1480), has a normal amount of extracurriculars (aka, one, whatever it may be), gets straight A's or close to it, and graduates at the top of his class (say, top 1-2%, aka top 5-10 in a graduating class of 500)...

There's a good chance he wouldn't get into either of our alma maters, if they were blind to legacy.  (I don't think my school cares about legacy, they just want my money.  People go there when they don't get into MIT, Stanford, or Cal Tech).

Because there are tens of thousands of kids JUST LIKE HIM applying to the same schools.  There weren't as many 30 years ago.

I'm a red panda

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #74 on: March 15, 2019, 07:15:05 PM »
Keep in mind, 1980s scores aren't directly comparable. The ACT was rescaled in the early 90s and the SAT in the late 1990s.

(Not the SAT changing to be no longer out of 1600, that's a different thing than scaling, which is the psychometric process of setting the mean score. Also it's out of 1600 again)

Here's some excerpts from a book I had to read at my last job.
https://books.google.com/books?id=iMzeBwAAQBAJ&pg=PA367&lpg=PA367&dq=when+was+sat+rescaled&source=bl&ots=0Rv45dD7XA&sig=ACfU3U3hl3m_hCt2lkbkhFTzrjpj5IXNwQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiEl7iavYXhAhXWqYMKHV60BOcQ6AEwD3oECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=when%20was%20sat%20rescaled&f=false
« Last Edit: March 16, 2019, 06:00:35 AM by I'm a red panda »

Dicey

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Re: College entrance exams and scams
« Reply #75 on: March 16, 2019, 05:08:21 AM »
Sol, you're starting to sound cynical.
If you haven't noticed before this, I need to take it up a notch.
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