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Subject: Re: Awful numbers, considering...


Author:
mrjames
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Date Posted: 10:01:39 08/07/17 Mon
In reply to: JD 's message, "Re: Awful numbers, considering..." on 08:36:42 08/07/17 Mon

The APR is not an evaluative metric for the grades or the specific in-classroom performance of student athletes.

It is a simplistic measure that merely gives two points per student: 1 if they are still in school and 1 if they are academically eligible. Divide by total points possible, multiply by 1000 and there's your APR score.

Thus, if you have a team of 13 basketball players (probably what the APR is based on, since that's the NCAA basketball scholarship limit), if you lose one point, that's a 962 or two points, that's a 923.

I'd argue that I care more about the median performance of athletes in the classroom than the outlier-based system that is the APR. The league should be far more interested in ensuring that the performance of athletes on metrics like GPA, class attendance and participation and the like than merely, "are you still here and are you doing the bare minimum to pass." And I'm sure that they are doing more of this type of analysis in the background.

While I do think that an Ivy program spending a significant spate of time in the 800s or even low 900s might be a cause for concern, the APR doesn't tell us much about the difference in actual classroom performance of a school getting a 95% (950) or a 98% (980).

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Awful numbers, considering...


Author:
JD
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Date Posted: 10:15:37 08/07/17 Mon

Yes, I agree with you that the APR is rather crude measure of how our athletes are doing academically. But it does force us to ask ourselves uncomfortable questions.

As Observer has noted, Harvard's basketball team has been cited for its fine team GPA over the past four years. But as An Observer has, well, also observed, Harvard has over the course of Amaker's tenure in our conference, posted by far the lowest APR performance of any Ivy hoops team.

How do these two facts co-exist?

I suspect that there is some survivor bias in the calculations. In other words, Harvard only reports the GPAs of the athletes who are actually still in school. Thus, Harvard can have more athletes who are either not in school or otherwise not eligible, while still posting a good team GPA, as long as the guys who are still on the team get good grades.

This seems like a bit of a flaw in the system. If you've got an athlete who has poor grades, you almost want him to get such bad grades he has to withdraw from school, so that his GPA does not get included in the team average.

It's like the reverse of the Camden McRae situation.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Awful numbers, considering...


Author:
mrjames
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Date Posted: 10:45:19 08/07/17 Mon

It's pretty easy for those two facts to co-exist. The APR is exclusively a highly-sensitive measure of continued progress toward graduation with ZERO concern for whether that progress is straight C's or straight A's. It's a silly metric that, at this point, basically exists to keep many HBCUs from being postseason eligible.

I don't really know that I trust raw GPA metrics either, even irrespective of the charges of grade inflation. I'd like to know what classes each student took and how they performed against the general curve of those classes. Maybe things have changed in the last decade, but I worked harder for some of my lowest grades in certain classes than I ever did for much higher grades in others.

In other words, I wouldn't use any of this data to extol the academic performance of a team or to denigrate it.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Awful numbers, considering...


Author:
JD
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Date Posted: 11:03:48 08/07/17 Mon

Yes, I further agree with you.

Getting high grades does not mean that any student is necessarily being challenged to think or learn. However, getting low grades is, at a minimum, something of a red flag which invites further scrutiny.

Neither the APR scores or team GPAs are conclusive. And neither is immune to being gamed. Getting a 4.0 in Advanced Basketweaving is not reflective of a meaningful academic experience. We need look no further than the scandal which continues to unfold in Chapel Hill.

But, for the time being, the APR scores and the team GPAs are the data we have. So it's reasonable to use them to the extent we can, especially if we're using them to ask questions rather than answer them.

A low APR or a low team GPA should invite questions in a conference like ours.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Awful numbers, considering...


Author:
mrjames
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Date Posted: 12:40:10 08/07/17 Mon

Bad data is not necessarily better than no data at all. Often it can be dangerous...

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Serious question


Author:
Calvin
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Date Posted: 11:22:19 08/07/17 Mon

"In other words, Harvard only reports the GPAs of the athletes who are actually still in school. Thus, Harvard can have more athletes who are either not in school or otherwise not eligible, while still posting a good team GPA, as long as the guys who are still on the team get good grades."

Is this allowed?

(Not meaning to target Harvard only here, if other schools do the same thing)

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Serious question


Author:
mrjames
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Date Posted: 12:29:44 08/07/17 Mon

Pretty sure this was presented as a hypothetical, not as a factual representation of what is actually happening in reality.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Serious question


Author:
JD
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Date Posted: 12:35:12 08/07/17 Mon

I was suggesting survivor bias as a possible for explanation for how Harvard could simultaneously be cited for a favorable team GPA while also having had a relatively low APR during Amaker's tenure.

Survivor bias distorts many data averages. If you only measure the GPA of the guys still on the Harvard roster, you're missing the guys who are out of school or otherwise not eligible. Obviously, this latter group is likely to have a lower GPA.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Serious question


Author:
mrjames
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Date Posted: 12:42:58 08/07/17 Mon

Survivor bias would need more "non-survivors" to be weeded out of the pool than are at play here. Again, one player can cause an APR to fall by 80 points. One player's low GPA being taken out wouldn't bias up the GPA of the survivors that much.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: To quote John Lyons...


Author:
Go Green
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Date Posted: 14:03:56 08/07/17 Mon


"Harvard basically does whatever the hell they want."

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