November 9, 2014

Rank-busting foreigners are vexing us.

GMAT percentiles slip to the point where U.S. business schools want separate percentiles for American applicants who are as good as they ever were but getting outclassed in the quantitative section by Indian and Chinese test-takers.

69 comments:

Scott said...

Where have we seen this before?

"The Black-White Test Score Gap"

traditionalguy said...

Irish need not apply. Those dam Mongolian Khans are out thinking us again.

pm317 said...

Great! MBAs who can't count..but, but, they can charm you with their native-English speaking abilities and interpersonal skills.

Since when schools here have treated foreign students on par with local applicants, scores or not?

Seriously, whatever the GMAT scores, Indian and Chinese MBAs here still have some ways to go at grabbing all the cushy jobs. Their communication/language/interpersonal-skills put them at a serious disadvantage and getting work visas is also a problem.

Bob R said...

When we call is "Business Calculus," the modifier is not a complement.

rhhardin said...

The second generation won't be so smart.

US schools.

chickelit said...

Traditionalguy has it mostly right.

Just imagine if Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or some other wealth creator had failed a GMAT exam. Oh noes!

The over- reliance of business schools on one single metric (as this story suggests) is itself a problem of laziness.

Scott said...

@Bob R: Like "Executive MBA," which is an MBA without the math or statistics.

Anonymous said...

I just like the old-timeyness of "Rank-busting foreigners are vexing us." Needs a "Goll Darn It" in front.

Sam L. said...

What does this say about American schools, and the education they supply, and the students they teach? Obviously, not much good on both sides.

Drago said...

The old "unofficial" rule of thumb/"joke" for MBA's who are pitching proposals to VC-ers (Venture Capitalists) was that you have to have at least one Indian or Chinese or Japanese or ...etc (Asian) on your team or you can forget about funding.

Drago said...

Scott said...
@Bob R: Like "Executive MBA," which is an MBA without the math or statistics.

This is not true of the better B-Schools.

lemondog said...

The second generation won't be so smart.

US schools.


Yes...but they will be more sensitive.

Bob Ellison said...

chickelit said Just imagine if Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or some other wealth creator had failed a GMAT exam. Oh noes!

The over- reliance of business schools on one single metric (as this story suggests) is itself a problem of laziness.


Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are outliers, so far outside the mainstream that trying to deduce rules from their experience is beyond foolish.

And you're saying business schools are lazy? because they use test scores?

I wouldn't doubt that laziness is common in admissions offices, but that's because it's common everywhere in life.

But test scores actually work. They are correlated with performance. So sorry that's true.

Carol said...

chindians cram and prep and cheat like hell, so they can come here and take our stuff...no lie.

chickelit said...

Bob Ellison wrote: But test scores actually work. They are correlated with performance. So sorry that's true.

No reason for you to be sorry. You need to get behind what you're preaching and emphasize test scores even more. Make it the end all be all of success. That's what I would do if were you.

Skipper said...

Let 'em all go to law school, where one need not know nothin'.

lemondog said...

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are outliers, so far outside the mainstream that trying to deduce rules from their experience is beyond foolish.

Along with Michael Dell, they were drop-outs.

On the other hands, the Google guys have Ph.Ds.

Bob Ellison said...

Well, chickelit, you're not I, so let me describe what I would do.

I would use test scores as one of several predictors of success. This is what admissions offices, employers, sports franchisers, advertisers...pretty much everyone has used since pretty much the dawn of civilization.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

This is all moot anyway, as a growing list of respected 'certifications', along with comprehensive personality profiles, replace the old and now watered-down methods of sorting applicants.

A common human failing is to cling to the original reality meaning of a word/concept pair 'college degree' 'GMAT score', long after the facts about that word/concept pair have changed.

1950's 'Japanese radio' = ha-ha bad
1970's 'Japanese radio' = the best

1970's 'Democrat' = Scoop Jackson
2010's 'Democrat' = Elizabeth Warren


Lizzie Warren took a fact
And gave her ethnics 40 whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave big business 41.

Anglelyne said...

Since when schools here have treated foreign students on par with local applicants, scores or not?

Indeed.

I think there ought to be truly global universities, where the world's best can compete with one another. However, they ought to bank-rolled by the whole world, research funds and all, not just US (and UK) taxpayers. A private university should select whom they please, but even first-rank, very wealthy, "private" American unis get vast amounts of public money.

At lower tiers, while having some foreign students is nice, Americans have no obligation to educate foreigners ahead of their own citizens, anathema though that idea seems to be to college administrators these days, who seem to regard the public universities they run as ends in themselves, with no local or national obligations. (E.g., in my own state most students can't afford the wildly inflated State U prices and must incur serious debt to attend, but the administrators recently spent millions on setting up recruiting centers in China. Naturally all critics of the policy are slammed as xenophobes and racists.)

Anyway, you'd think bright ambitious Westerners would be trying to get into the schools established by the superior furriners, instead of the superior furriners having to go to dumb people's countries for an education. What's up with that? (Yes, I know all the non-glib, long-form answers to that, but it's still a meaningful question.)

madAsHell said...

They have to pay out-of-state tuition.
Win-win!

chickelit said...

madAsHell said...

They have to pay out-of-state tuition.
Win-win!


Win-win for whom? Maybe the universities but not necessarily the citizenry.

Try having a conversation with someone under 30 about the correlation between student debt ceilings and tuition costs. Instant resonance if you strike the right chords. I don't understand why this isn't a political issue (yet).

pm317 said...

Third tier schools don't get enough local applicants and are forced to fill the capacity with foreign students. They are more economic enterprises than of educating a local populace with subsidies and such when the prospective local students have no means. So the foreign students get the benefit of financial assistance that many in the local communities don't. And many of these foreign students are cream of the crop when local talent may be just the left over. This situation is true in STEM fields and to some extent, MBA too.

With the growing economy in both India and China, lately many are investing their own moneys to get a US degree. That is new money into American economy. I know at least two Indian families who have put their own money into their children's education here -- gobs of it with one being admitted into Kellog.

William said...

Despite the best efforts of American academics, America has never had a Brahmin or Mandarin class. Students of history may reflect that the Mandarins despised and devalued the merchant and warrior class. This presented some tactical problems when the Mongols and later the British showed up......George Washington was probably the richest man in America. He knew how to make a buck. But among the Founding Fathers he was hardly the most learned or scholarly. Some among that band of brothers cattily noted that he could hardly write a sentence withou misspelling several words. If there were any standardized tests in those days, he would not have scored in the higher percentiles.........Nonetheless, he got most things right. I'm sure Jefferson was an academically brighter man, but he was infinitely dumber than Washington. He was chronically broke and thought his financial problems were due to the greed of the merchant class rather than his extravagant ways. He never seemed to realize that plantation slavery was an inherently flawed business model. Washington would never be able to use words so stirringly as Jefferson, but he was able to recognize that if you wanted to get the best efforts from your employees, then slavery was not the way to go. Jefferson for all his elevated words about self evident truths was simply unable to take note of the fact that slavery as a business model didn't work.

Fernandinande said...

Scott said...
Where have we seen this before?
"The Black-White Test Score Gap"


This is just more racial discrimination against Asians:

Article: To address those concerns, GMAC in September introduced a benchmarking tool that allows admissions officers to compare applicants against their own cohort, ...

rhhardin said...
The second generation won't be so smart.
US schools.


Asians in US schools do about the same on international comparisons as Asians in Asian schools.
http://isteve.blogspot.com/2013/12/pisa-racial-results-for-americans-on.html

US schools are pretty good (but not cost-effective), and blaming schools for having stupid students is a standard education scam: "Give us more money to solve this (unsolvable) problem." Race, not SES or which school attended, is the best predictor of education outcomes.

Anglelyne said...

pm317: Third tier schools don't get enough local applicants and are forced to fill the capacity with foreign students. So the foreign students get the benefit of financial assistance that many in the local communities don't. They are more economic enterprises than of educating a local populace with subsidies and such when the prospective local students have no means.

If third (or second or first, for that matter) public universities aren't "getting enough local applicants", then maybe it's time for them to downsize or close up shop, as they no longer serve the purpose for which they were established.

And any school that is nothing but an "economic enterprise" can enter the market like an other business - but even most (all?) "for profit" schools have a business model entirely dependent on the student loan racket.

The local State U president made the "not getting enough local applicants" argument to justify the millions spent on recruitment centers in China. Excuse me, ma'am, but what is the purpose of your insitution's existence, then? Of course she also trotted out the "they pay full freight" and "contribute to the local economy" (and let's not forget the appeals to a vapid multiculturalism), all the while hoping that the audience wouldn't notice that she was at the same time lobbying the state legislature for more, more, more millions and tuition hikes (previous ones of which had long since priced ordinary, qualified local kids out of the market).

With the growing economy in both India and China, lately many are investing their own moneys to get a US degree. That is new money into American economy.

If we magically disappeared all the native-born potential students in the U.S. who can't afford higher education, and imported twice or three times as many Indian and Chinese kids who could to replace them, it would be even more new money into the American economy. Great idea, huh?

I know at least two Indian families who have put their own money into their children's education here -- gobs of it with one being admitted into Kellog.

It may or may not be a great idea to enable these particular individuals to get an education in the U.S. (and Northwestern is a private, not a public, school), but I don't consider the mere fact that a foreigner can drop gobs of money into the economy to be a slam-dunk argument for giving school slots, or anything else for that matter, to non-Americans.

Fernandinande said...

Carol said...
chindians cram and prep and cheat like hell, so they can come here and take our stuff...no lie.


Cheating is an issue:
https://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/college-confidential-and-brain-dumping-the-sat/

Cramming/prep don't have much effect, but if they did - so what?

Alex said...

Bill Gates scored a perfect 800 on the Math portion of the SAT.

jimbino said...

The two most racially discriminatory institutions in the USSA are the public universities and the national parks and forests.

Though financed by all citizens, our public lands are mainly country clubs for whites, and especially white seniors, who get in free of charge. You will hardly ever see a black, brown or red face in any of our grand Western public lands.

Yosemite is exceptional, in the sense that, while also entertaining few blacks, browns or reds, 85% of its visitorship regularly consists of South and East Asians, many of whom are not Amerikan citizens.

If all public lands and universities were privatized, they'd likely attain a racial balance approaching that of Disney World, Six Flags and our private technical colleges, and our minorities who didn't attend them at least would be relieved of having to pay to acquire and maintain them. The sale of our grand common patrimony would provide our minorities the funds they lack to do things they might prefer, like putting food on the table or providing private-school tuition, appliances, vacations and a car for their families.

Jack Wayne said...

I don't buy this. The Chinese are notorious cheaters.

Gabriel said...

1.) The total population of college-age students is not any smarter or dumber than it has been. However, a much higher proportion of them go on to college than did 40 years ago, and as a result the average of college students is much lower than it was, and this effect is much more pronounced at the lower tier schools.

2.) Retention is the easiest metric of student success to measure, and the easiest to game. Consequently, lower-tier colleges with dumber/less prepared students than they used to have face enormous internal and external pressure to increase retention by any means necessary, and the easiest is to lower standards. This is usually done informally by pressure on instructors.

3.) In the University of Wisconsin System, which is not atypical, instructors (on their own authority) may only punish students for cheating in three ways: verbal reprimand, written reprimand, or allowing the student to redo the assignment without penalty at a later date. Even giving them a zero, the traditional penalty for cheating on assignments rather than exams, requires the approval of the Dean of Students and the student is entitled to a hearing.

Let me repeat:

It is illegal to give them a zero for cheating without the approval of the Dean of Students, and the student is entitled to a hearing.

It is illegal to kick them out of the class for cheating without the approval of the Dean of Students, and the student is entitled to a hearing.

It is illegal to fail them for cheating without the approval of the Dean of Students, and the student is entitled to a hearing.

4.) College degrees are not worth what they once were. Wonder why.

sane_voter said...

The universities are saying the test is missing something important. In my opinion the two main issues are the fact that US-raised students are more entrepreneurial and flexible thinking than foreign students and there appears to be not insubstantial cheating by overseas Asian test takers.

pm317 said...

Anglelyne said...
--------

Downsizing just to fit the local demand may not be a good option for American universities. Because America is still the best place for graduate studies and fosters innovation and affords a gateway to legal and skilled immigrants who contribute this nation of immigrants in a positive way. Making college education affordable for local population should be the goal for local/federal governments. But to William's point, there is really no uniform reverence toward schools and higher ed in this country which will thwart a continued supply of local talent.
Sure, Indians and Chinese who spend their own money to come here and get a degree may not make a dent but at least they are not feeding off the state/federal funds.

madAsHell said...

Win-win for whom? Maybe the universities but not necessarily the citizenry.

I dunno. College is over-rated. It's an apprentice-ship.

I ride the bus between Bellevue, WA, and the University of Washington. The bus is filled with Chinese college girls that like to shop. They speak English with an American accent. They are no more ambitious then their American counterparts. I'm happy to be their host. I think it's a win for us...as long as they go home again.

virgil xenophon said...

Yes sane-voter. And most seems to be culturally driven. Asians are great at inside-the-box calculations. If the problem ain't inside the box you can almost hear the mental gears grind to a halt. Why do you think they spend so much on industrial/military espionage?

James Pawlak said...

Foreign students? Like B. H. Obama?
As the PRC students who steal trade secretes?

RecChief said...

yeah, why would you want an accurate measuring stick, that might damage those little snowflakes' self esteem?

Anglelyne said...

jimbino: Though financed by all citizens, our public lands are mainly country clubs for whites, and especially white seniors, who get in free of charge. You will hardly ever see a black, brown or red face in any of our grand Western public lands.

Yes, jimbino, we already know that you're a rent-seeking, white-hating bigot who is for some strange reason profoundly butthurt that some of white people's tax money still goes toward supporting public amenities enjoyed by white people. We know you prefer that that money go to the public-assistance programs that make it worth their while for illegals to gate-crash the country and provide you with cheap services. (They sure couldn't survive here on what you pay them.)

Btw, why the xenophobia against East Asian tourists enjoying our magnificent national parks? I know it will fill you with rage, jimbo, but every fine day in my area the parks are chock-full of Euro- and East Asian-descent Americans, of all ages, enjoying nature. Since statistically these two groups are wealthier and hence pay more taxes than the park-avoiding "minorities" you're always wailing about (when you're not under-paying them, and who probably aren't net tax-payers, anyway), I don't know why you think they shouldn't see to it that some of that money goes to what they consider worhtwhile public goods. After all, they pay taxes for stuff used by "minorities" that they don't use, either.

Zach said...

I have worked with a great, great many Chinese Ph.D.s and Ph.D. students, and you have to take stories like this with a grain of salt.

Basically, doing really, really well on standardized tests like this is how you get ahead in the Chinese system. There are very big rewards to getting into a US School, even (maybe especially) if you ultimately want to live and work in China. Because of that, there are huge numbers of applications.

If you're applying to work in a foreign country where you have a language disadvantage, no connections, and nobody knows whether your college was any good or not, what do you do? You try to get a perfect score on the standardized tests. It will require a huge investment of time and energy, and it won't ultimately turn you into a better physicist, but those are the breaks. You do what you have to do. And since everybody else is using the same strategy, you have to work really hard to execute it perfectly.

American students are working in a system with a rough but fairly well known hierarchy of colleges. People know roughly what your GPA means, they know that your program isn't a fly by night operation. They've worked with students from roughly comparable schools before, so they have an idea what they're getting. You speak English, so they know you can teach courses.

In the American context, getting a perfect score on a standardized test doesn't really mean much. It doesn't hurt, but it's one of many factors. In the Chinese context, getting a perfect score means everything, because you might not be considered if you don't.

From the school's perspective, context is everything. It's not like you're going to get an incoming class of supermen if you just select the top scores from the applicant pool.

Anglelyne said...

pm317: Downsizing just to fit the local demand may not be a good option for American universities. Because America is still the best place for graduate studies and fosters innovation and affords a gateway to legal and skilled immigrants who contribute this nation of immigrants in a positive way...

zzzzzz....Sorry, what were you saying? I tend to nod off at this sort of K-street boilerplate.

But to William's point...

You entirely missed William's point...

Sure, Indians and Chinese who spend their own money to come here and get a degree may not make a dent but at least they are not feeding off the state/federal funds.

As you did mine.

...there is really no uniform reverence toward schools and higher ed in this country which will thwart a continued supply of local talent.

So unfair how the people with no reverence for education got all the best schools.

Jane the Actuary said...

Actually, it is entirely appropriate to have two sets of percentiles. In the US, a wide range of prospective students take the GMAT, for everything from Harvard Business School to Central Michigan University. Only the very top students in China and India (and/or the children of the political/economic elite, but the point still stands) take the US GMAT, though, of course, a wider range take local standardized tests. It takes away some of the meaning of percentiles to incorporate this second group of students alongside the first.

As to the bigger question of admission of foreign students -- it's a profit center. There were a number of articles in the Chicago Tribune over the summer on this; they're recruiting there because they can get full-pay students rather than Illinoisians who pay in-state tuition and expect institutional financial aid, or out-of-state Americans who may not qualify for the former but still expect the latter.

Is there a direct cost to American students? Probably not, and in some ways, it's a good thing, a sort of "export good" and, in a small way, a bit of an offset for the balance of trade.

But there are indirect costs, when the entire character of the university changes.

http://janetheactuary.blogspot.com/2014/08/has-university-of-illinois-gone-too-far.html

chickelit said...

@Angelyne: My working theory is that jimbino was busted for pot in a National Park and it blocks something he now wants or regrets losing. The obsession is otherwise hard to understand.

Curious George said...

This surely must be caused by voucher programs, and not the quality public school system.

Joseph Blieu said...

This statistical fact is not causal for US schools/Asian Schools necessarily. China and India have 3 Billion people, US has a bit more than 320 million so if IQ and education distributions are the same in each country there will be 9 times as many brilliant Asians as brilliant Americans (pick a level of brilliance). Note that probably you are not going to get a chance to take the US test unless you are really qualified to go to the US school anyway. So why is anyone suprised at this? International mobility has finally made it possible for this group to compete in our nation where before it would have been impossible for them to negotiate admission. It shows how great US schools are, I have worked in Asia and the average engineer is as capable as a US STEM high school grad, in 90% of cases.

Balfegor said...

Re: Scott:

Where have we seen this before?

I thought you were going to reference the Imperial Civil Service exams:

"One member of the Viceroy's council predicted that, since teenage Indians were 'infinitely quicker' at exams than Europeans, the result would be that 'at least half the service would be Bengali'."

Joseph Blieu said...

My last line represents some cultural effects, a common line in an Asian facility is " I am an enginneer, I don't have to work!"

AReasonableMan said...

Joseph Blieu said...
This statistical fact is not causal for US schools/Asian Schools necessarily. China and India have 3 Billion people, US has a bit more than 320 million so if IQ and education distributions are the same in each country there will be 9 times as many brilliant Asians as brilliant Americans (pick a level of brilliance).


The Chinese system is surprisingly egalitarian. I have met Chinese students from tiny agrarian villages in the middle of nowhere who worked their way through the system. The education system makes a serious effort to advance all the intellectual talent in the country. So, these comparisons of numbers for China, at least, are not unreasonable. My impression is that India is much more unequal and only a fraction of the talent is tapped. It is a much more hierarchical society in this respect.

David said...

Affirmative action is looking a little more attractive to white Americans.

AReasonableMan said...

David said...
Affirmative action is looking a little more attractive to white Americans.


It has been in place for a long time. It is called legacy preferences.

Balfegor said...

Re: AReasonableMan:

It has been in place for a long time. It is called legacy preferences.

Oh pish posh, no it's not -- it's called affirmative action. It lets universities eliminate comparatively high-performing Asians from the matriculating pool and replace them with comparatively low-performing Blacks and Hispanics who won't threaten White students' class rank.

In a broader sense, of course, it's the admissions process as a whole, with the extracurriculars and the letters of recommendation and the essays and all that rubbish, rather than any identifiable category of admissions. The universities introduced the modern admissions process to limit the number of Jews, after all, and it works just as well to keep the numbers of Asians down today.

Revenant said...

If we tested the ability to actually get work done, deal with unexpected problems, and honestly communicate with other people, Indians wouldn't even make the top ten.

Michael K said...

I think it is probably cultural. I have six medical students this year that are all in an MD Engineering program. Five have undergrad engineering degrees and one in Comp Sci. One is Caucasian. The others are Americans of Asian or South Asian descent. No foreign students.

I have had foreign medical students but not this year.

SC now has a program that includes a USC MD and a Cal Tech PhD.

Michael said...

ARM

I gay her you have not been through the college application process. You are a couple of laps behind on the legacy issue.

Revenant said...

It has been in place for a long time. It is called legacy preferences.

That's a silly thing to say, even by your standards. Legacy preferences aren't race-based (e.g., Barack Obama was a legacy, I was not), and hardly anybody of any race qualifies for them.

Michael said...

I gather

Francisco D said...

It says something about a culture of learning that ESL students do so well on SATs.

My Quantitative GRE was 740 and Verbal was 720. Those are great scores. People who get 800s or perfect 1600s amaze me. It's really that hard ( or was 35 years ago).

AReasonableMan said...

Revenant said...
Legacy preferences aren't race-based (e.g., Barack Obama was a legacy, I was not), and hardly anybody of any race qualifies for them.


Who said they were race based? Reading comprehension, it is a valuable skill.

It is a fact that most legacies are white.

From Wiki:
"The Ivy League institutions are estimated to admit 10% to 30% of each entering class using this factor"

Hardly insignificant.

Given how many basic factual errors you make in your posts I would take it easy on the epithets.

Gabriel said...

@ARM: And what percentage of students even apply for Ivy League?

The overwhelming majority of students apply to big state schools where legacy admissions are negligible--and every big state school fields a football team, who's benefiting from those scholarships?

chickelit said...

The overwhelming majority of students apply to big state schools where legacy admissions are negligible--and every big state school fields a football team, who's benefiting from those scholarships?

There's a Riddell...

Gabriel said...

@Francisco: My Quantitative GRE was 740 and Verbal was 720. Those are great scores. People who get 800s or perfect 1600s amaze me. It's really that hard ( or was 35 years ago).

It isn't now. The SAT has been renormed several times, and pre-1996 scores cannot be compared with scores since.

800 verbal now is about equivalent to 730 before, and 800 math now is about 780 before.

Every year since 1996 hundreds of perfect scores are achieved.

Oh, and perfect is 2400 now.

From wikipedia:

By the early 1990s, average total SAT scores were around 900 (typically, 425 on the verbal and 475 on the math). The average scores on the 1994 modification of the SAT I were similar: 428 on the verbal and 482 on the math.[41] SAT scores for admitted applicants to highly selective colleges in the United States were typically much higher. For example, the score ranges of the middle 50% of admitted applicants to Princeton University in 1985 were 600 to 720 (verbal) and 660 to 750 (math).[42] Similarly, median scores on the modified 1994 SAT for freshmen entering Yale University in the fall of 1995 were 670 (verbal) and 720 (math).[43] For the majority of SAT test takers, however, verbal and math scores were below 500: In 1992, half of the college-bound seniors taking the SAT were scoring between 340 and 500 on the verbal section and between 380 and 560 on the math section, with corresponding median scores of 420 and 470, respectively.[44]

The drop in SAT verbal scores, in particular, meant that the usefulness of the SAT score scale (200 to 800) had become degraded. At the top end of the verbal scale, significant gaps were occurring between raw scores and uncorrected scaled scores: a perfect raw score no longer corresponded to an 800, and a single omission out of 85 questions could lead to a drop of 30 or 40 points in the scaled score. Corrections to scores above 700 had been necessary to reduce the size of the gaps and to make a perfect raw score result in an 800. At the other end of the scale, about 1.5 percent of test takers would have scored below 200 on the verbal section if that had not been the reported minimum score. Although the math score averages were closer to the center of the scale (500) than the verbal scores, the distribution of math scores was no longer well approximated by a normal distribution. These problems, among others, suggested that the original score scale and its reference group of about 10,000 students taking the SAT in 1941 needed to be replaced.[35]

Beginning with the test administered in April 1995, the SAT score scale was recentered to return the average math and verbal scores close to 500. Although only 25 students had received perfect scores of 1600 in all of 1994, 137 students taking the April test scored a 1600.[45] The new scale used a reference group of about one million seniors in the class of 1990: the scale was designed so that the SAT scores of this cohort would have a mean of 500 and a standard deviation of 110. Because the new scale would not be directly comparable to the old scale, scores awarded on April 1995 and later were officially reported with an "R" (for example, "560R") to reflect the change in scale, a practice that was continued until 2001.[35] Scores awarded before April 1995 may be compared to the those on the recentered scale by using official College Board tables. For example, verbal and math scores of 500 received before 1995 correspond to scores of 580 and 520, respectively, on the 1995 scale.[46]

Be said...

Based on my limited experience in the area of grad school admissions, it seems that the Asian, Middle Eastern and parts of Eastern Europe candidates do extremely well in the standardized testing; they've got the basics covered. As for assimilation of knowledge, though, they aren't as good as the Westerners (for a lot of reasons). The school where I worked, for their program (a highly competitive one that offered a full stipend), retested after the first year.

Carol said...

Cramming/prep don't have much effect, but if they did - so what?

Just that the scores are not necessarily an indictment of US schools, or American abilities. Our schools & environs are really, really attractive to them right now, and they're breaking their asses to get here and Canada.

Their "edge" may be simply in valuing the resources more than we do.

Terry said...


Revenant wrote: e.g., Barack Obama was a legacy, I was not
You aren't saying that Obama was legacy admit to Harvard, are you, Revenant?
I'm still trying to figure out how a "so-so" student at Occidental managed a transfer to Columbia.

Revenant said...

Who said they were race based?

You.

Be said...

Agreed, Carol. The French Prepas and higher level Lycees are seeing an uptick in foreign candidates. I'm pretty sure that the American equivalents are dealing with similar.

Michael K said...

"By the early 1990s, average total SAT scores were around 900 (typically, 425 on the verbal and 475 on the math). "

To this day I do not know my SAT score from 1956. It was the first year of the National Merit Scholarships and my score was good enough to our me in the finals but we were never told what it was. No prep courses, either.

I never learned my MCAT score for medical school, either.

retired said...

Schools already are biased against Asians with high test scores. They want well rounded students who will succeed upon graduation. If you work in tech fields you know that Asians and foreigners with lots of credentials usually under-perform whites with lower test scores and more prosaic schooling. And this in engineering. In business you don't need to be a math nerd to succeed. You need a lot of soft skills that work in a complicated dynamic environment. A lot of this is cultural. This is why America dominates the global economy despite all the gleeful predictions of decline that I have heard since high school.
The real problem is that schools want the money from Asians and foreign students. That is called corruption.

Douglas said...

Elite Chinese students - those who might be taking GMATs - consider it embarrasing to get less than 800 on the math section.

roundeye said...

Asians tend to have higher IQs so the test difference is ro be expected.