Are SFS-Q students’ low SAT scores diluting the Georgetown degree?

The universities at Doha’s Education City, including Georgetown’s SFS-Qatar campus, are supposed to have the same admissions and academic standards as their home institutions.  It’s this presumed equivalence that allows them to issue the same degrees in Qatar that they issue here in the U.S.

However, the National, a newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, recently did an investigation of the SAT scores of students admitted to Education City schools and found that in most cases—including Georgetown’s—scores for students in Doha are lower than those of their peers at the American main campuses.

Representatives at the government-funded [Education City] project say while mean SAT (scholastic assessment test) results of incoming students may be poorer, standards for the awarding of degrees are not being compromised …

In the past, both [the Qatar Foundation] and university representatives have insisted that maintaining the same admission and academic standards between the home campuses in the US and their branch campuses in Qatar was essential to the credibility of the project.

The universities did not want to cheapen the quality of the degrees they awarded and the foundation was keen not to settle for anything less than world-class educational programmes, they said.

The National also interviewed SFS-Q Dean James Reardon-Anderson for the piece.  Reardon-Anderson admitted that SAT scores for SFS-Q students were indeed lower than for students in D.C., but argued that a large part of that is due to American students having more familiarity with standardized testing.

“If we weren’t satisfied we had students of comparable talent, it wouldn’t work,” he said. Student and faculty exchanges indicated that standards in Qatar were as high as those in Washington, he added.

“All indicators are that we’re operating at standards that justify the Georgetown degree,” he said.

3 Comments on “Are SFS-Q students’ low SAT scores diluting the Georgetown degree?

  1. What is the size of the differential? The article doesn’t give any firm numbers (except irrelevant comparisons between engineering students at A&M-Q and all students at A&M-US) I think I believe the line that US students have been prepped out the wazoo. I’d also bet foreign students retake the test less.

    Even if this were a legitimate concern, your resume will likely provide enough detail that you won’t really be at risk for being confused with an SFS-Q student.

  2. In addition, the inaugural SFS-Q class was 21 people strong. The 210th (excuse me, 192nd) class was, what, 1800ish people? I severely doubt the SFS-Q’ers are going to radically dilute our pool; I’m sure we have some legacy admissions that would hurt it more.

  3. I’m currently a student at SFS-Q. I attended a non- American high- school and took the SAT I once. My combined Maths and Critical Reading score was 1400 (out of a total of 1600). I have a IBT score of 117, and very high school grades (all of which were externally marked). Most of the people I know at the uni got equally high grades, and got into top unis around the world, not only in Qatar. Most of us, as Dean Anderson stated, have not been weened on SAT style- questions. In fact, most people tend to do a semester abroad on main campus and manage to maintain their GPA just fine, which would suggest that the caliber of students are just the same. In addition, if you haven’t heard, it is possible for SFS-Q and main campus students to take classes together through video- conferencing. There usually is at least one class each semester.

    Anyway, that’s just my two cents.

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