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Old 3rd January 2019, 08:29 AM   #1
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Girl's SAT scores under review after dramatic increase between tests

Odd story this.

Kamilah Campbell took the SAT and scored a 900 out of 1600. Wanting a better score she had her mother hire a tutor, took some online classes, etc and 7 months later retook the test and got a 1230 but she never received an official score report, instead receiving notice that the score had been flagged as invalid.

The College Board, the company that administers the SAT, says that the increase in score is not the reason the test results were flagged, but declined to give the exact reason why Ms. Campbell's test specifically was flagged.

Ms. Campbell is claiming that the delay in getting her certified test scores is reducing her college opportunities.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/02/us/fl...rsy/index.html
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Old 3rd January 2019, 08:36 AM   #2
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As you say, a strange story. Can you improve your grade by more than a third in 7 months?
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Old 3rd January 2019, 08:39 AM   #3
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Thank God for the title, it could have been much worse.

As for the story

Quote:
"We are writing to you because based on a preliminary review, there appears to be substantial evidence that your scores ... are invalid," it said. "Our preliminary concerns are based on substantial agreement between your answers on one or more scored sections of the test and those of other test takers. The anomalies noted above raise concerns about the validity of your scores."
That's the reason. They suspect she cheated.

Here's a little anecdote. For my A levels I did maths, further maths, physics and geography, the latter being a fill-in subject but of equal weight to the others. I expected to score an 'A' in the geography final (70%+ IIRC) but I actually scored 'E' (45%). This was crazy, they had made a big mistake, so we demanded a remark. The result..? I had misread the instructions and instead of doing two questions from one section and two from another, I had done four from one. They had picked my best two answers and counted those, so I was actually being marked out of 50.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 08:39 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Diablo View Post
As you say, a strange story. Can you improve your grade by more than a third in 7 months?
I have no idea, which why I'm sort of in a grey area of how to think about this.

I've been trying to find some sort of reference or statistic, I've looked at places that "promise to you improve your SAT" score for kind of metric to latch on to but so far I can't find anything.

900 to 1230 on a scale of 1-1600 does seem like a pretty big jump. But she could have a bad day taking it the first time.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 08:40 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Thank God for the title, it could have been much worse.
Listen I'm trying okay? I still think stuff like this needs to be discussed but I'm putting honest effort into presenting differently, okay?

ETA: Also there's really no way to put a racial aspect to this. The decision was made by algorithm in a context where no identifying information was in play.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 09:18 AM   #6
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The article said she also used "The Princeton Review prep book."
From what I remember of the Princeton Review method is that it teaches you how to take a standardized test. How questions are designed and worded and how to select the best answer from the choices given based on the Princeton methodology and not necessarily knowledge of the subject matter.
That's how they can offer tutoring in most all admissions and graduate tests.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 09:36 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Tony99 View Post
The article said she also used "The Princeton Review prep book."
From what I remember of the Princeton Review method is that it teaches you how to take a standardized test. How questions are designed and worded and how to select the best answer from the choices given based on the Princeton methodology and not necessarily knowledge of the subject matter.
That's how they can offer tutoring in most all admissions and graduate tests.
Oh, this stuff is just selecting answers from a list? In that case coaching would improve things. When I did exams we had to answer the questions ourselves.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 09:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Diablo View Post
Oh, this stuff is just selecting answers from a list?
Mostly. The SAT is split into 4 sections; Reading, Writing & Language, and two math sections.

The Reading section has 52 multiple choice questions.
The Writing & Language section has 44 multiple choice questions.
The two Math sections have a total of 45 multiple choice and 13 fill in the blank questions.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 09:48 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Diablo View Post
As you say, a strange story. Can you improve your grade by more than a third in 7 months?
I did. I had a bad cold the first time I took one of my subject matter SATs and bombed it. Retook it a year later and did much better.

Even without an illness to blame, yes, the SATs test very specific domains of knowledge. A bright person with no exposure to the types of questions asked is going to do poorly. The same person with a study guide and a couple months of prep time can do fine.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 09:49 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Mostly. The SAT is split into 4 sections; Reading, Writing & Language, and two math sections.

The Reading section has 52 multiple choice questions.
The Writing & Language section has 44 multiple choice questions.
The two Math sections has a total of 45 multiple choice and 13 fill in the blank questions.
This is called education?
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Old 3rd January 2019, 09:50 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Mostly. The SAT is split into 4 sections; Reading, Writing & Language, and two math sections.

The Reading section has 52 multiple choice questions.
The Writing & Language section has 44 multiple choice questions.
The two Math sections has a total of 45 multiple choice and 13 fill in the blank questions.
Jesus Christ.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 09:50 AM   #12
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There's a couple of, mostly kinda shady looking, courses online that "guarantee" a 200+ point improvement after a 10 day course, not even like a 1 on tutoring kind of thing.

So 7 months combined with actual tutoring? I can see it.

But again the SAT people are claiming it's not about the test score improvement and they very well may be telling the truth.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 09:53 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Diablo View Post
This is called education?
The SAT has been a farce that has ruined the American education system for a while now. Basically grades K-10 are like one long SAT prep course at this point because that's the only metric anyone wants to use and the whole system is openly dirty.

And I'm not even one of those people who hates standardized testing.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 09:54 AM   #14
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I found this paper from a 1963 (before my time, but not much) A level (UK) exam:

http://www.budecountygrammar.org/1963-as-levels.html
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Old 3rd January 2019, 10:00 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Diablo View Post
I found this paper from a 1963 (before my time, but not much) A level (UK) exam:

http://www.budecountygrammar.org/1963-as-levels.html
I did that paper. No, I'm not that old, but we did all the 60s and 70s papers as 'A' level coursework, under as close to exam conditions as possible although it had to be split between lessons, or sometimes they trusted us to do it at home. Edit: That was the mid 80s, and already our maths teacher bemoaned the falling standards.

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Old 3rd January 2019, 10:01 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
The SAT has been a farce that has ruined the American education system for a while now. Basically grades K-10 are like one long SAT prep course at this point because that's the only metric anyone wants to use and the whole system is openly dirty.

And I'm not even one of those people who hates standardized testing.
Is there an alternative?
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Old 3rd January 2019, 10:06 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Diablo View Post
As you say, a strange story. Can you improve your grade by more than a third in 7 months?
The SAT is supposed to be a an aptitude test. In theory, aptitude isn't a grade that can be improved. And in theory, the SAT is a good instrument for measuring aptitude.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 10:16 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Is there an alternative?
I would like to see a greater number of competing standardized tests that cover the same subject matter in a more varied methodology.

I understand that people do have a problem with standardized testing and some of their complaints are valid, but for me the actual tangible issues raise from the SAT having a functional monopoly on it and even beyond grades your SAT score is seen as the end all, be all of your education.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 10:17 AM   #19
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When I was in public high school, the school paid a hefty fee for some SAT tutor to come in and give the entire senior class a 2 day prep course for the SAT. These kinds of classes don't teach subject material, but rather test taking skills. There are elements of the test that can be gamed a bit for a modest increase in score, but nothing big like 300 points. Many people benefit from taking the test multiple times. A 300 point increase is quite substantial.

It would be hard to explain how that could occur in such a short time unless the first score was much lower than the student was capable of for some reason (say, intense anxiety or other factor).

In theory, a general subject test should not benefit from test taking strategies or multiple retakes, but no test is perfect.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 10:21 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I would like to see a greater number of competing standardized tests that cover the same subject matter in a more varied methodology.

I understand that people do have a problem with standardized testing and some of their complaints are valid, but for me the actual tangible issues raise from the SAT having a functional monopoly on it and even beyond grades your SAT score is seen as the end all, be all of your education.
Well, there is the ACT. Since students apply to multiple schools, many students end up taking both. Not sure if that is meaningful competition.

The SAT is flawed, but I don't see any better alternatives. The colleges have no way of comparing students from all the various high school across the country. Comparing grades from the countless high schools is a pointless task, as there is no standardization on the rigor or quality of coursework across the country. Schools gaming the system practically guarantees that grades would be inflated even more so than they are now.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 10:29 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Here's a little anecdote. For my A levels I did maths, further maths, physics and geography, the latter being a fill-in subject but of equal weight to the others. I expected to score an 'A' in the geography final (70%+ IIRC) but I actually scored 'E' (45%). This was crazy, they had made a big mistake, so we demanded a remark. The result..? I had misread the instructions and instead of doing two questions from one section and two from another, I had done four from one. They had picked my best two answers and counted those, so I was actually being marked out of 50.
Schoolboy error....

My A-level horror story is doing the British Government & Politics exam so badly (I only did the subject for a year) that I got the commiseration prize of an un-graded O-level pass.

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Old 3rd January 2019, 11:19 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Diablo View Post
This is called education?
It's an aptitude test.*

The idea is that the test-taker has been exposed to some basic concepts and reasoning in language and math.** While their years of education will make them better at some things, their facility with these basic concepts is mostly a matter of innate ability - aptitude.

It's not a particularly hard test, but at the same time, it's not really the kind of test you can study for. Either you've successfully internalized a certain amount of linguistic and mathematical reasoning, or you haven't. The test isn't intended to measure taught knowledge, but rather innate skill.

I'm not sure that such a multiple-choice instrument is effective in measuring such aptitude. However, the test should be judged according to a good understanding of its actual purpose. Not all tests are the same.

For example, a doctoral thesis defense is not an aptitude test. It's unlikely that anyone lacking the basic skills would have advanced to that point in a Ph.D. program in the first place. Instead, the doctoral thesis is a test of education - of a body of knowledge that is learned and understood. It's a very different kind of test, in a very different format.




---
* Without getting into the question of whether it's a good aptitude test.
** Typically this exposure occurs over the course of ten to eleven years of American primary and secondary education.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 12:22 PM   #23
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Having taught SAT prep in the past yes. the tests are a joke and if you are serious and do enough practice tests you can very much impove your scores.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 12:52 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post
Having taught SAT prep in the past yes. the tests are a joke and if you are serious and do enough practice tests you can very much impove your scores.
Which thereby demonstrates seriousness and dedication, making the test a handy indication of future potential success.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 01:15 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Mostly. The SAT is split into 4 sections; Reading, Writing & Language, and two math sections.

The Reading section has 52 multiple choice questions.
The Writing & Language section has 44 multiple choice questions.
The two Math sections have a total of 45 multiple choice and 13 fill in the blank questions.
Also worth noting that the SATs have ALWAYS been like this, as have all state-administered standardized tests, ever since they were introduced. Nobody at any point in the past ever had to take a standardized test that wasn't almost entirely multiple-choice.

The reason is because these tests are primarily machine-graded.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 01:19 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
As for the story
Quote:
"We are writing to you because based on a preliminary review, there appears to be substantial evidence that your scores ... are invalid," it said. "Our preliminary concerns are based on substantial agreement between your answers on one or more scored sections of the test and those of other test takers. The anomalies noted above raise concerns about the validity of your scores."
Originally Posted by baron View Post
That's the reason. They suspect she cheated.
I think everybody already realized that.

But it's also ridiculous and stupid. If the answers happen to be correct, of course there's going to be "substantial agreement" between her choices and those of others who answered the same questions correctly.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 01:27 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
I think everybody already realized that.

But it's also ridiculous and stupid. If the answers happen to be correct, of course there's going to be "substantial agreement" between her choices and those of others who answered the same questions correctly.
Eh? Pretty obviously it's not the concurrence of correct answers that raises suspicion, it's the concurrence of wrong ones. If her incorrect choices, of which there are three every question as opposed to only one correct one, closely match those of someone sitting nearby then that would raise suspicions.

What's your explanation? That a malicious and racist office clerk thought her name sounded black so fired off a letter accusing her of cheating?
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Old 3rd January 2019, 01:44 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
What's your explanation? That a malicious and racist office clerk thought her name sounded black so fired off a letter accusing her of cheating?
No, I'm going with the substantial increase in score setting off some kind of alarm. It is however delightfully ironic that the first person in the threat to propose a racist motivation is you, even as a dismissal.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 01:48 PM   #29
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Congratulations, you achieved 100% in your RE exam.
Originally Posted by baron View Post
Jesus Christ.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 01:52 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Congratulations, you achieved 100% in your RE exam.
Something I never got in real life. It was the only subject I failed - I got an 'E' at 'O' level.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 01:57 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
No, I'm going with the substantial increase in score setting off some kind of alarm.
So you're not going with the spiteful missive explanation and prefer the abject liar explanation. Hmm. You seem desperate to place the Board in a bad light.

Quote:
A score is never flagged for review solely on score gains, said Zach Goldberg, a spokesman for The College Board, the company that conducts the SAT. Indeed, score gains are celebrated.
Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
It is however delightfully ironic that the first person in the threat to propose a racist motivation is you, even as a dismissal.
If it's a dismissal it can't be a proposal. They are opposites. Let's hope you never got that question on your English SATs.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 02:18 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Which thereby demonstrates seriousness and dedication, making the test a handy indication of future potential success.
Or wealth to pay for your kids to go to the classes and be forced to do it. probably a better indicator of future success mind you.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 02:27 PM   #33
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But just to further chortle at the idea that I was the one who raised the issue of race, I refer people back to the story so they can check out who is fighting this girl's corner. Not her mum, not her teacher, but one of America's foremost black civil rights lawyers, Benjamin Crump

Quote:
He is known for his association with the 2012/2013 George Zimmerman case, and for representing the family of Michael Brown, a 17-year-old African-American boy shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri.

Crump is known for taking on cases that garner widespread media attention and civil rights implications. An example was the shooting of Trayvon Martin...

Crump also represented the family of Alesia Thomas, a 35-year-old single African-American mother who died while in police custody in August 2012.[

On August 11, 2014, the family of Michael Brown announced that they would be hiring Crump to represent their case, especially as the death had been widely compared to the Trayvon Martin case

Other past clients include the family of Martin Lee Anderson, an African-American teenager who died after a beating in 2006 by guards in a Florida youth detention center;

the family of Genie McMeans, Jr., an African-American driver who died after being shot by a white state Trooper;

the family of Ronald Weekley Jr., a 20-year-old African American skateboarder beaten by police in Venice, California;

the family of Tamir Rice, an African-American youth who was killed by police in Cleveland, Ohio while holding an air gun (a replica of a real gun);

He previously represented the family of Kendrick Johnson, an African-American high school student who was found dead at his school in Valdosta, Georgia under mysterious circumstances,

Crump currently represents Terrence Crutcher's family, an unarmed black man shot and killed by a Tulsa Police officer...
And so it goes on.

So yeah, I'm the first to suggest race is involved. Either that, or this civil rights lawyer has moved on from the highest profile African American murder cases in modern history and is now fighting for justice for girls who dispute their SAT grades.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 02:28 PM   #34
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Guys please. The girl making the complaint and the article didn't mention race once and I intentionally and specifically didn't mention it or use the "X while Y" format while creating the thread to not pull all the baggage over.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 02:32 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Guys please. The girl making the complaint and the article didn't mention race once and I intentionally and specifically didn't mention it or use the "X while Y" format while creating the thread to not pull all the baggage over.
But you can't deny there's an elephantine lawyer in the room.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 02:46 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
If it's a dismissal it can't be a proposal. They are opposites. Let's hope you never got that question on your English SATs.
Pre-emptively proposing an idea one is opposed to, framed in such a way as to imply that it is invalid on its face, is a very common rhetorical tactic.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 02:47 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post
Or wealth to pay for your kids to go to the classes and be forced to do it. probably a better indicator of future success mind you.
Precisely. Doing well on the SATs can come from multiple reasons, but all of them suggest future success. Inherent brilliance, diligent practice, wealth and resources, undetected cheating scheme, extreme good luck...all bode well for the individual.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 02:56 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Guys please. The girl making the complaint and the article didn't mention race once and I intentionally and specifically didn't mention it or use the "X while Y" format while creating the thread to not pull all the baggage over.
I'm not touching you, see? I'm just holding my finger reeeally close to you. But not touching! You better not tell mom I'm touching you!
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Old 3rd January 2019, 03:00 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Eh? Pretty obviously it's not the concurrence of correct answers that raises suspicion, it's the concurrence of wrong ones. If her incorrect choices, of which there are three every question as opposed to only one correct one, closely match those of someone sitting nearby then that would raise suspicions
This is not necessarily so.

In many multi-choice exams there is usually a "correct" answer, one answer that looks as though it might be correct but isn't, and one that is obviously wrong. Many of the people sitting such an exam, who do not choose the correct answer, are likely to choose the same wrong answer.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 03:11 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Diablo View Post
As you say, a strange story. Can you improve your grade by more than a third in 7 months?
I went from a 56% to a 86% in the same calculus course in 3 months just by taking the damned thing again. The second time I just "got" the material.

(I also had a much better teacher).
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