Both Kruger/Dale studies' measures of "unobserved student ability" (whatever that is) are likely to just be socioeconomic measures as much as anything. Wealthier students are more likely to apply to more schools, are more likely to apply to more selective (expensive) schools, and are more likely have the means to attend more selective (expensive) schools that admit them. The fact that adding this extra factor didn't refute the existing scientific literature (which to reiterate, fairly extensively shows that selectivity matters, across many studies) for minorities almost really proves that this vague additional variable they tossed in is really just double-controlling for socioeconomic background. They never explained well what exactly this "unobserved student ability" is, why their method of measuring it is meaningful, why what they measured for it wouldn't just be another socioeconomic measure, or why it would reflect differently for Caucasians and minorities. (I don't count of a couple of vague "well maybe..." type of theories as "explained well"). It's really a bizarre, vague, nebulous variable, and it's the whole basis for their refutation of the existing scientific literature.Bfwolf wrote: ↑Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:59 pmYes, those are 3 possibilities. The Dale/Kruger study says it's #1 except for blacks/Hispanics and first generation college students.rbaldini wrote: ↑Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:55 pmInteresting. If we take the finding that more selective schools -> better outcomes, even for kids with same test scores and GPAs, seems to me there are a few possible, non-mutually-exclusive explanations...UpsetRaptor wrote: ↑Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:22 pmThat Kruger/Dale study had a big methodological flaw. They acknowledge that the existing literature shows that more selective schools lead to better returns but then they add in a weird screwy extra control variable for "student ambition" which nerfs the selectivity advantage and thus results in "Hey, it doesn't matter". How do they measure that extra variable of "ambition"? They look at students who applied and were accepted into multiple schools and then chose the less selective school. Which probably measures socioeconomic background more than anything, but they claim without any evidence this accurately measures ambition, and adding the effect for this nerfs the selectivity advantage which refutes all prior research which shows that selectivity matters. Meh.
The fact that the literature's results still stood for minorities probably shows that their measure of "ambition" was really just measuring socioeconomic background and double-docking that variable.
1. Hidden differences in student quality. The students who went to more selective schools actually are better to begin with, in ways that are not reflected by SAT and GPA. This seems to be the whole idea behind the use of personal writing samples and recommendations: there is more to a student than GPA and SAT, and admissions reviewers can use the additional information to pick the better students.
2. School education and experience. Selective colleges have better instructors, better tutors. Students interact with smarter and more ambitious peers.
3. The name effect. Even if the school is no better at instruction, having a prestigious name on your resume gets you better jobs.
I'm not saying anything new here, of course.
UpsetRaptor has misrepresented the study a couple of ways. First, they weren't trying to measure student ambition but merely "unobserved student ability," of which ambition might be one trait. But quite literally it's just student ability that we can't measure by GPAs, SATs, etc.
Second, he says it's for students who applied and were accepted by multiple schools and chose the less selective school. While earlier versions of the Dale/Kruger work looked at this, the newer study just looks at the schools the student applied to as a proxy for unobserved student ability. Now whether this is a good proxy for unobserved student ability or not is certainly up for debate. But we should at least be talking about what the study actually says.
I think the combination of the 2 Dale/Kruger studies, showing students who passed on more selective schools doing as well as the ones who went to more selective schools, plus the study looking at unobserved student ability, makes a worthwhile argument for school selectivity not adding much in and of itself.
I'm not saying people should just automatically go to the cheapest school regardless of selectivity, but I do think people should take the importance of selectivity and the brand name of the institution with a grain of salt rather than have it be the key determining factor.
My kids aren't in college yet, and I don't want selectivity ($$$) to matter. But after reading a bunch of studies/literature, including the Kruger/Dale ones end-to-end which rather reeked of anti-selectivity bias throughout to be honest, I tend to think it unfortunately does, at least to some degree. If you buy the Kruger/Dale reasoning instead, that's fine, we'll just have to disagree.