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REVISITING A SELECTIVE 
STEM HIGH SCHOOL 
ADMISSIONS POLICY: 
7 YEARS LATER 
Christopher Kolar 
Carissa Rosine 
NCSSS/NAGC...
The Revision
Problems with TCS 
• Verbal score weighed as 
much as mathematics 
• Skewed GPA (mean 
admitted 3.77) 
• 4-person review t...
Summary of changes 
TCS: Ranked By 2006 Revision: Ordered By 
 Half of Class: 
by formula 
 Second Half: 
in/out decisio...
The Applicants
Applicant Profile: Who is applying to IMSA? 
2003-2008 
• Total number of applicants steadily increases each year 
• Sligh...
Applicant Profile: Who is applying to IMSA?
The Admitted
Applicants vs. Admitted Students 
Pre Policy Change 
AVERAGE APPLIED ADMITTED 
GPA 3.69 3.86 
SAT Score 1152 1242 
SAT Mat...
Race: Before and After
Admitting students
Matriculation 
70 
37 
60 
62 
34 
19
Matriculation + SATM 
70/ 
735 
37/623 
60/629 
62/696 
34/564 
19/478
Matriculation + Tilt 
70/ 
47 
37/130 
60/-36 
62/130 
34/-10 
19/13
Matriculation + STEM Degree 
70/ 
73 
37/71 
60/62 
62/67 
34/51 
19/54
The Outcomes I
Some applicants are missing 
Simulated 
TCS run 
showed that 
Accept rate 
had 
decreased to 
78% of “first 
half”
SIR Participation 
Participation 
in Student 
Inquiry and 
Research 
increased, 
with a 
significant 
bump in 
SBES.
Graduation Rate
The Outcomes II
Degree Profile 
DEGREE FIELD PRE POLICY CHANGE 
STEM 63.4 
SBES 18.1 
Professional 9.7 
Humanities 6.6 
Fine Arts 1.4 
Uni...
Degree Profile 
DEGREE FIELD PRE POLICY 
CHANGE 
POST POLICY 
CHANGE 
STEM 63.4 69.0 
SBES 18.1 15.3 
Professional 9.7 7.8...
The Conclusions
Summary 
 Implementation matters 
 Increased student research participation, but 
no increase in the STEM pipeline
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NAGC 2014: Revisiting a selective STEM high school admissions policy: 7 years later

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After 20 years, a selective, residential, specialty STEM school revised its admissions policy based on updated research into the identification of STEM talent, placing increased weight on the SAT Mathematics score and removing the Verbal/Critical Reading component from applicant ranking. Now that the first class admitted under the new policy has graduated from college, the institution is measuring the success of the policy change with respect to how well it identified students that persisted on the STEM pathway. This session will explore the changes in course taking, program completion, and college majors after the change.

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NAGC 2014: Revisiting a selective STEM high school admissions policy: 7 years later

  1. 1. REVISITING A SELECTIVE STEM HIGH SCHOOL ADMISSIONS POLICY: 7 YEARS LATER Christopher Kolar Carissa Rosine NCSSS/NAGC Baltimore 2014
  2. 2. The Revision
  3. 3. Problems with TCS • Verbal score weighed as much as mathematics • Skewed GPA (mean admitted 3.77) • 4-person review teams, significant interrater-severity effect • Eligibility requirement of “lab science” not meaningfully verifiable and discouraged qualified applicants from under-resourced districts
  4. 4. Summary of changes TCS: Ranked By 2006 Revision: Ordered By  Half of Class: by formula  Second Half: in/out decision followed by balancing  SAT-M  GPA  Review Committee Be attentive to tilt!
  5. 5. The Applicants
  6. 6. Applicant Profile: Who is applying to IMSA? 2003-2008 • Total number of applicants steadily increases each year • Slightly more male applicants than female • Majority from Chicagoland area • 3875 Applicants over 6 years RACE PERCENT White 42.9 Asian 36.0 Black 9.1 Hispanic 5.1 Multi-racial (2 or more) 4.4 Not reported 2.5 American Indian/Native Alaskan 0.1
  7. 7. Applicant Profile: Who is applying to IMSA?
  8. 8. The Admitted
  9. 9. Applicants vs. Admitted Students Pre Policy Change AVERAGE APPLIED ADMITTED GPA 3.69 3.86 SAT Score 1152 1242 SAT Math 598 646 SAT Critical Reading 554 596 RCE Score 62 66 Post Policy Change AVERAGE APPLIED ADMITTED GPA 3.70 3.88 SAT Score 1132 1237 SAT Math 590 646 SAT Critical Reading 543 591 RCE Score 60 66
  10. 10. Race: Before and After
  11. 11. Admitting students
  12. 12. Matriculation 70 37 60 62 34 19
  13. 13. Matriculation + SATM 70/ 735 37/623 60/629 62/696 34/564 19/478
  14. 14. Matriculation + Tilt 70/ 47 37/130 60/-36 62/130 34/-10 19/13
  15. 15. Matriculation + STEM Degree 70/ 73 37/71 60/62 62/67 34/51 19/54
  16. 16. The Outcomes I
  17. 17. Some applicants are missing Simulated TCS run showed that Accept rate had decreased to 78% of “first half”
  18. 18. SIR Participation Participation in Student Inquiry and Research increased, with a significant bump in SBES.
  19. 19. Graduation Rate
  20. 20. The Outcomes II
  21. 21. Degree Profile DEGREE FIELD PRE POLICY CHANGE STEM 63.4 SBES 18.1 Professional 9.7 Humanities 6.6 Fine Arts 1.4 Unidentifiable 0.8 Percentage of students earning degrees in each field as reported by National Student Clearinghouse.
  22. 22. Degree Profile DEGREE FIELD PRE POLICY CHANGE POST POLICY CHANGE STEM 63.4 69.0 SBES 18.1 15.3 Professional 9.7 7.8 Humanities 6.6 5.4 Fine Arts 1.4 1.4 Unidentifiable 0.8 1.0 Percentage of students earning degrees in each field as reported for 781 graduates by National Student Clearinghouse.
  23. 23. The Conclusions
  24. 24. Summary  Implementation matters  Increased student research participation, but no increase in the STEM pipeline

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