robertogreco + fit   5

a suggestion about the future of Wheaton College – Snakes and Ladders
"But what if the narrow scope of “the culture” is a bug, not a feature? What if a more ethnically diverse faculty, even if it contained people who made some of the existing faculty and administration and alumni and donors uncomfortable, helped the college to achieve its mission? I made a similar argument some years ago in suggesting that Wheaton should be open to hiring Roman Catholics — my logic here is fundamentally the same. What if an institution’s existing culture, and its concern to hire people who “fit” its existing culture, actually inhibit its ability to fulfill its mission?"
alanjacobs  institutions  fit  diversity  inclusivity  culture  2016  wheatoncollege  sameness  groupthink 
february 2016 by robertogreco
What one college discovered when it stopped accepting SAT/ACT scores - The Washington Post
"Hampshire College is a liberal arts school in Massachusetts that has decided not to accept SAT/ACT scores from applicants. That’s right — the college won’t accept them, a step beyond the hundreds of “test-optional” schools that leave it up to the applicant to decide whether to include them in their applications. So what has happened as a result of the decision?

For one thing, U.S. News & World report has refused to include Hampshire in its annual rankings. For another, Hampshire officials say, this year’s freshman class, the first chosen under the new rules, is more qualified by other measures than earlier classes.

Hampshire College was founded in 1970 as an alternative private liberal arts college that experiments with curriculum and relies on portfolios of work and narrative evaluations rather than distribution requirements and grades. It is one of the top colleges in the nation in terms of the proportion of its graduates who go on to graduate school.

Here’s an explanation of what the college did regarding SAT/ACT scores and why, from President Jonathan Lash, who is also a director of the World Resources Institute, a D.C.-based environmental think tank, where he previously served as president. He chaired former President Bill Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development and was Vermont’s environmental secretary and commissioner. He holds a law degree and master’s degree in education from Catholic University of America and a bachelor’s from Harvard College.

By Jonathan Lash:

You won’t find our college in the U.S. News & Word Report “Best Colleges” rankings released this month. Last year Hampshire College decided not to accept SAT/ACT test scores from high school applicants seeking admission. That got us kicked off the rankings, disqualified us, per U.S. News rankings criteria. That’s OK with us.

We completely dropped standardized tests from our application as part of our new mission-driven admissions strategy, distinct from the “test-optional” policy that hundreds of colleges now follow. If we reduce education to the outcomes of a test, the only incentive for schools and students to innovate is in the form of improving test-taking and scores. Teaching to a test becomes stifling for teachers and students, far from the inspiring, adaptive education which most benefits students. Our greatly accelerating world needs graduates who are trained to address tough situations with innovation, ingenuity, entrepreneurship and a capacity for mobilizing collaboration and cooperation.

We weighed other factors in our decision:

• Standardized test scores do not predict a student’s success at our college.

• SATs/ACTs are strongly biased against low-income students and students of color, at a time when diversity is critical to our mission.

• We surveyed our students and learned not one of them had considered rankings when choosing to apply to colleges; instead they most cared about a college’s mission.

• Some good students are bad test takers, particularly under stress, such as when a test may grant or deny college entry. Multiple-choice tests don’t reveal much about a student.

• We’ve developed much better, fairer ways to assess students who will thrive at our college.

In our admissions, we review an applicant’s whole academic and lived experience. We consider an applicant’s ability to present themselves in essays and interviews, review their recommendations from mentors, and assess factors such as their community engagement and entrepreneurism. And yes, we look closely at high school academic records, though in an unconventional manner. We look for an overarching narrative that shows motivation, discipline, and the capacity for self-reflection. We look at grade point average (GPA) as a measure of performance over a range of courses and time, distinct from a one-test-on-one-day SAT/ACT score. A student’s consistent “A” grades may be coupled with evidence of curiosity and learning across disciplines, as well as leadership in civic or social causes. Another student may have overcome obstacles through determination, demonstrating promise of success in a demanding program. Strong high school graduates demonstrate purpose, a passion for authenticity, and commitment to positive change.

We’re seeing remarkable admissions results since disregarding standardized test scores:

• Our yield, the percentage of students who accepted our invitation to enroll, rose in a single year from 18% to 26%, an amazing turnaround.

• The quantity of applications went down, but the quality went up, likely because we made it harder to apply, asking for more essays. Our applicants collectively were more motivated, mature, disciplined and consistent in their high school years than past applicants.

• Class diversity increased to 31% students of color, the most diverse in our history, up from 21% two years ago.

• The percentage of students who are the first-generation from their family to attend college rose from 10% to 18% in this year’s class.

Our “No SAT/ACT policy” has also changed us in ways deeper than data and demographics: Not once did we sit in an Admissions committee meeting and “wish we had a test score.” Without the scores, every other detail of the student’s application became more vivid. Their academic record over four years, letters of recommendation, essays, in-person interviews, and the optional creative supplements gave us a more complete portrait than we had seen before. Applicants gave more attention to their applications, including the optional components, putting us in a much better position to predict their likelihood of success here.

This move away from test scores and disqualification from the U.S. News rankings has allowed us to innovate in ways we could not before. In other words, we are free to innovate rather than compromise our mission to satisfy rankings criteria:

• We no longer chase volumes of applications to superficially inflate our “selectivity” and game the U.S. News rankings. We no longer have to worry that any applicant will “lower our average SAT/ACT scores” and thus lower our U.S. News ranking. Instead we choose quality over quantity and focus attention and resources on each applicant and their full portfolio.

• At college fairs and information sessions, we don’t spend time answering high school families’ questions about our ranking and test score “cut-offs.” Instead we have conversations about the things that matter: What does our unique academic program look like, and what qualities does a student need to be successful at it?

• An unexpected benefit: This shift has saved us significant time and operational expense. Having a smaller but more targeted, engaged, passionate, and robust applicant pool, we are able to streamline our resources.

How can U.S. News rankings reliably measure college quality when their data-points focus primarily on the high school performance of the incoming class in such terms as GPA, SAT/ACT, class rank, and selectivity? These measures have nothing to do with the college’s results, except perhaps in the college’s aptitude for marketing and recruiting. Tests and rankings incentivize schools to conform to test performance and rankings criteria, at the expense of mission and innovation.

Our shift to a mission-driven approach to admissions is right for Hampshire College and the right thing to do. We fail students if we reduce them to a standardized test number tied more to their financial status than achievement. We fail students by perpetuating the myth that high standardized test scores signal “better” students. We are in the top one percent of colleges nationwide in the percentage of our undergraduate alumni who go on to earn advanced degrees – this on the strength of an education where we assess their capabilities narratively, and where we never, not once, subject them to a numerical or letter grade on a test or course.

At Hampshire College, we face the same financial challenges as many colleges. But these challenges provide an opportunity to think about who we are and what matters to us. We can not lose sight of our mission while seeking revenues or chasing rankings. We are committed to remaining disqualified from the U.S. News rankings. We’re done with standardized testing, the SAT, and ACT."
hampshirecollege  colleges  universities  admissions  sat  act  education  grading  teaching  rankings  diversity  jonathanlash  standardizedtesting  tests  class  race  selectivity  fit  srg  edg 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Eide Neurolearning Blog: The Wrong Environment
"In How Brain Science Can Save You from the Wrong Job, child psychiatrist Edward Hallowell makes the analogy between a child who is struggling in the classroom and adults who can't get engaged in their workplace."

"Specific person + environment = crisis"

[Includes] "Hallowells's checklist for  "Is your job a good fit?""
work  crisis  howwework  mismatches  tcsnmy  learning  education  cv  change  culture  fit  workplace  environment  schools  organizations  personalcrisis  organizationalculture  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero - The Setup
"A person only flails around in regards to their rig when they don’t have a clear idea of what constitutes their work. Suitability and fit is paramount, and one is never going to find what they’re looking for if they don’t know what they need. So, I looked at my work, I watched how I used my computer for a day, and found out all I do is draw vector shapes, surf the web, listen to music, and bash words out in plain text. That’s hardly the type of activity that requires computational brute force, though I understand there are some of you out there that require just that. Not me though. Nope.

And these computers? As much as I love fiddle-faddling with the damn things, I mostly just want to forget I have one and get on with saying stuff and making things. I realized that I valued freedom more than power, flexibility more than blazing speed. I want the choice of being able to be mobile, and to carry around my whole setup with me at all times without much inconvenience."
frankchimero  setup  mac  osx  macbookair  ipad  iphone  applications  work  workflow  workspace  mobilestudio  software  cv  freedom  mobility  neo-nomads  nomadism  nomads  computers  computing  fit  howwework  thesetup  2011  workspaces  ios  usesthis  from delicious
january 2011 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero - Your Shit, My Stuff, Goldilocks, and Making the Bed You Sleep In
"There’s no name for this way of thinking, but if I had to steal a term, I’d use Merlin Mann’s Appropriatism. It’s not minimalism, it’s not maximalist, it’s just-right-ism. Goldilocks was on to something. The idea sits somewhere in the middle, exactly at the crux of whatever works the best with the least amount. The core precept of all of it is this:

“Add things until it starts sucking, take things away until it stops getting better.”

We’re looking for that sweet spot, the thing that fits just right, plus or minus zero. With that said, this isn’t a zen, simple living blog post. By being an apostle for nothingness, we lose touch with reality. Philosophy is worthless if it is not practical. My intent is to be helpful and useful, not dogmatic. Your mileage may vary, if only because of differing needs."
frankchimero  merlinmann  appropriatism  minimalism  steadfast  hot-swap  access  optimization  freedom  personalization  needs  needsassessment  fit  beauty  utility  from delicious
january 2011 by robertogreco

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