Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Marquette Manipulating Freshman Test Scores: An Alum Responds

From the Blog of Nate.

Nate Romano is a Marquette alumnus who, upon graduation, went to law school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and is now practicing law.

He reacts to the news that Marquette has been manipulating and inflating the reported SAT and ACT scores of entering freshman with the same sort of disappointment that we feel.
Now, I’m all about Marquette being higher ranked. But, you know, I’d much rather they actually do something to improve their rankings, rather than cooking the books.

Professor McAdams is right on when he says that this is cooking the books and, despite similar widespread use among other colleges and universities, that one should expect more from a Christian and Jesuit institution. After all, while this may not be “bearing false witness” per se, it is not exactly the complete truth, either. And should those who claim a moral highground actually, you know, have the moral high ground? Though maybe it is too much to expect that institutions spouting their “Catholic heritage” from the rooftops to actually follow through and do more than the minimum required to not be sinning.

But, as I mentioned, that is not even my main issue with this. My main issue is, why waste time and energy trying to find ways to finesse rankings? Why not try to actually improve the school so that, when your rankings do go up, it is because you are a better school, not just that you figured out which loophole to exploit?
Our guess is that Romano’s reaction is going to be pretty typical of alumni.

We doubt any Marquette graduates leave with the illusion that they have left a perfectly-run university. But on the other hand, there are few if any hardened cynics. Most feel they got a pretty good education from a pretty good school.

But this particular issue is likely to move their attitudes a notch in the direction of cynicism.

Will they turn deeply alienated? No. Will they be disappointed? Almost certainly.

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