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The Zitzewitz Files: SAT Scores
I would classify Economics Professor Eric Zitzewitz’ presentation at the faculty meeting on June 1 as slyly subversive. The ostensible topic of the report of the Committee on the Faculty was professors’ compensation by the College, but Zitzewitz went further afield and released a great deal of interesting data. In the part of his presentation where he made the case for benchmarking, he let us know the effect of Jim Kim’s manipulation of admissions standards in his search for additional revenue. Rather than reporting on SAT scores themselves, the data-crunching professor looked at the College’s SAT score rank versus other institutions. His first slide looked (slyly) at only the 2001-2008 period:
Good results. There was a decline at the start of the Wright years, but our SAT rank remained consistent from year to year, and more or less consistent with the College’s U.S. News national ranking. But then Jim Kim arrived and the search was on for more money. As we have reported in the past, three major changes took place on Kim’s watch: significantly more Early Decision applicants, legacies, and private schools students were granted admission (all of these groups can be counted upon, on average, to need less financial aid than other students). What Zitzewitz showed was that Kim & Co.’s policies lowered the College’s SAT scores relative to schools with whom we compete:
Ouch. From a rank around 11th, we dropped to the mid-teens or worse. Obviously, when it came time to choose quality over money, Kim chose money every time.
Though he did not evoke EVP Rick Mills’ favorite metaphor — the Red Queen hypothesis — Zitzewitz also pointed out that even as Jim Kim chose to have the College’s relative SAT scores decline, other schools with whom we compete for the best students, were making serious efforts to better themselves:
And so it goes.
Addendum: It takes a certain amount of work to come up with these stats. If you just look at the College’s raw numbers, all might seem well in Hanover, until you also analyze the performance of schools who are trying hard to improve (unlike Dartmouth):
The point is not to remain static, but to gain ground. As the French saying goes, Qui n’avance pas, recule. If you ain’t going forward, you are probably going backwards.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
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