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.