Friday, April 18, 2008

"Intelligent Students Decrease"- I disagree

Thursday's Hatchet article which claims that fewer "intelligent" students are choosing GW, contains a deeply flawed argument for their statement. Like Andrew, I feel that the number of National Merit Scholars that GW enrolls has little to do with the measurement of highly intelligent students that come to our campus. The article claims:
While record-high numbers of academically prestigious freshmen are enrolling at Ivy League colleges, fewer smart students are choosing to attend GW, according to a report presented at last Friday's Faculty Senate meeting...GW was not among the 98 colleges and universities with at least 20 National Merit Scholars among the classes they admitted last spring.
I disagree with the premise of the article. The number of National Merit Scholars enrolled by GW does not necessarily relate to the academic talent of those who attend GW. Qualifying for the first round of the National Merit Scholarship is based on one thing-test scores- which aren't an accurate measure of intelligence for every person (ex- people who do not test "well"). What might be a better measure of the number of "highly intelligent" students that GW enrolls would be the number of students who were accepted to more highly ranked schools but chose to attend GW.
I have spoken to several students who turned down offers from schools such as Washington University in St. Louis, Northwestern, University of Virginia, and Emory to come to GW. Certainly students admitted to these level of schools (all of these schools are ranked in the top 25 ) could be considered "highly intelligent." Admission into these schools is based on a combination of factor, so student who gives a less than stellar performance in one area are not automatically counted out of the admissions pool. Furthermore, why does the lack of enrollment of National Merit Scholars mean that GW students are any less intelligent on the whole?

No comments: