Making a ‘Hard’ School Easier

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Caltech has always been a hard school to get into. Last year, this university accepted only 3% of the students who applied.

So now they want to make it easier (

See, they had this requirement that students had to master calculus, chemistry, and physics in high school before they could be admitted to Caltech. But a lot of high schools don’t offer calculus.

Can’t enroll in Caltech without it? Well, in the interests of something, I don’t know what, Caltech has decided to allow several work-arounds–take a test, for instance–to demonstrate a mastery of calculus. Plus chemistry and physics. There are several tests already available.

So what’s wrong with that? Well, if the tests showed that students had really and truly mastered calculus without having had a calculus course in high school, all well and good. But how sure can Caltech be that the tests are as rigorous as they ought to be?

Aw, who cares? Where are standards not being lowered? How committed is Caltech to turning out top scientists? Is this new policy going to melt down into “Yeah, he’s not so hot at calculus, but he’s got a great grasp of gender minority intersectional grievances!”

(“Go on! It’s not that slippery a slope!”)

2 comments on “Making a ‘Hard’ School Easier

  1. When it gets easier to obtain a degree, the value of that degree decreases. Now, they may have a point about calculus not being available in all high schools, but they had better not try to rush someone through that particular subject, if they want to turn out good engineers. If they slip their standards on this, a Cal Tech degree will lose its luster.

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