College Admissions, Race, and Unintended Consequences

Note: I wrote this before the SAT changed–again.

The Big Reveal on UC Berkeley’s holistic admissions process created much fuss, most of it on behalf of Asians who are clearly the victims of discriminatory behavior.

Most people don’t completely understand how this “problem” came about, and why the UC and other universities are discriminating against Asians. It’s not so much “affirmative action for whites” as it is unintended consequences of being forbidden to use affirmative action for blacks and Hispanics.

The GPA Demographic Footprint

In November of 1996, the UC system was told by the people of California that it was not allowed to consider race in admissions anymore. The UC system, like all universities in this country, wasn’t about to listen to the rabble. So, as Saul Geiser writes, the system went looking for a reason to reduce the weight given test scores.

Such differences in the demographic footprint of HSGPA and standardized tests are of obvious importance for expanding access and equity in college admissions, especially at those institutions where affirmative action has been curtailed or ended. … at those institutions where affirmative action has been challenged or eliminated, admissions officers have been forced to reevaluate the role of standardized tests as selection criteria.

The result has been a de-emphasis of standardized tests as admissions criteria at some institutions.
UC introduced “comprehensive review,” an admissions policy that more systematically took into account the impact of socioeconomic factors, such as parents’ education and family income, on students’ test scores and related indicators of academic achievement. [note: this is the process described in the NY Times article]. UC also revised its Eligibility Index, a numerical scale which sets minimum HSGPA and test-score requirements for admission to the UC system; the revised index gave roughly three-quarters of the weight to HSGPA and the remainder to standardized tests. … Under this policy [of Eligibility in the Local Context], which also took effect in 2001, students’ class rank within high school was determined solely on the basis of their HSGPA in college preparatory coursework, so that the effect of this policy, too, was to diminish the role of standardized tests in UC admissions.

So de-emphasize those evil, racist tests that traditionally represent, in the typical progressive’s mind, a means of reinforcing the institutionalized hegemony of the white man’s values. Grades, in contrast, reflected the school’s values, the school’s priorities. So majority URM schools, both charters and inner city, can put whatever grades they like on classes that can be called whatever they want. UC officials made the change, along with Eligibility in the Local Context, so that majority URM schools could lie about their students’ academic abilities properly reflect the students’ diligence and abilities in subjects simply not valued by the institutional racists at the College Board.

The problem is, alas, that UC admissions made changes to their policy based on the “demographic footprint” of tests, but they forgot about the demographic footprint of grades.

Namely: Asians, particularly recent immigrant Asians, kill whites on grades. The test score advantage is getting (suspiciously) worse, but the grade advantage is huge.

That wasn’t part of the plan. Look, universities know the game as well as anyone: grades are a fraud. That’s why, until relatively recently, all universities weighted test scores as high or higher than grades.

If high school grades were objectively accurate, why does the University of California have an entry level writing requirement?—and why is that writing requirement either a test or a college level course? (And I have my own doubts of college level courses, but more on that later.) Why is remediation a huge issue in state colleges? If high school grades meant anything, schools could just accept students with high grades and hey, presto. Problem solved.

But Saul Geiser is a good researcher, and his study finds that HSGPA is as good or better a predictor of freshman GPA as test scores. Sure. But that brings up another point: Freshman GPA is pretty worthless, too. It’s a metric that goes back to a time when everyone took the same classes. It’s ancient. It predates the growing disconnect between grades and ability.

I’d go further and argue that in total, college GPA is worthless for much the same reasons that high school GPA is. We hear constant stories about grade inflation at elite schools, while public universities are under tremendous pressure to pass as many wholly unqualified blacks and Hispanics as they can, given the huge number that can’t even get past the remedial classes. How can grade point average mean anything in a world that requires some students to pass calculus and while others only take remedial math (which they can skip if they got an SAT score of 600+)?

If college grades were objectively accurate, the “mismatch theory“, for better or worse, couldn’t even be conceived of. If an A at Harvard is the same as an A at Berkeley which is the same as an A at Florida State, then lower ability students couldn’t get higher GPAs at Florida State and Richard Sanders shouldn’t be pushing his mismatch theory. Besides, what do you suppose the renewed push for a college exit exam is about? And in a world where we did require an exit exam, what would be the best predictor of passing rates—college grades or incoming SAT scores? Everyone knows that answer: unless the exit exam was rigged, we’d find that passing rates were best predicted by SAT scores, which would show a distressing, racially uneven, distribution.

I understand that GPAs are a useful metric because the people who use them filter the data through context—race, school, major, and so on. That’s fine, but not when you have the University of California claiming that HSGPA predicts four-year college outcomes when the university in questions sending easily half of its URM admits into remediation classes.

UC knows this. The whole GPA thing is just cover. What did a little lie matter, if it allowed them to bring in more blacks and Hispanics and thwart the will of California voters? The only people hurt would be the kids who didn’t get 4.0s.

Except that turned out to be a whole hell of a lot of kids with really good SAT scores, a whole lot of them white. So let’s look at four UC campuses:

Campus Ranking 3.75+ GPA Non-Res SATR SATM SATW600
% 600+ % 700+ % 600+ % 700+ % 600+ % 700+
Berkeley 1 79 540 38 36 28 56 34 46
San Diego 3 86 1530 42 15 41 42 46 22
Santa Barbara 5 75 228 41 13 47 24 44 17
Santa Cruz 7 33 16 26 6 31 7 24 7

The reality of demographic footprints being what they are, the kids represented by these numbers are almost exclusively white or Asian. Any black or Hispanic getting scores above 600 are usually going to a higher ranked private school. Keep in mind that these stats are leaving out UCLA, Irvine, and Davis, technically ranked second, fourth, and sixth, although the difference between UCSB, Irvine, and Davis metrics are primarily in the demographics.

In other words, a hell of a lot of kids are getting 2000+ SAT scores who aren’t getting into the top 3 schools, while a whole bunch of kids with 1800-2000 scores are. And the difference, for the most part, is grades. In the days before California banned affirmative action, the UCs weighted grades and test scores much closer to evenly—a 3.8 GPA with excellent test scores and a demanding schedule could easily get into Cal or UCLA. No more.

So the GPA edge led to unanticipated consequences and a huge advantage for Asians. But that was just one of the problems.

Changing the SAT

The UC system wasn’t content with just devaluing test scores, so they tried another change that had terrible blowback, again in the Asian category. First, in 2002, Richard Atkinson called for an end to the SAT and a greater use of the SAT Subject tests. By 2005, the SAT had been completely revamped, the College Board having clearly understood the hint.

While I can’t be certain, I think the original changes were intended to increase the number of blacks and Hispanics eligible by making the test burden lighter. At this point, the UC doesn’t appear to have been thinking about Asian overrepresentation. I’m not sure this was caused by anything other than Atkinson’s pet fancy, which is sad, given the consequences—which have gone well beyond Caliornia.

I haven’t been a fan of the new SAT. My sense has always been that it became much easier, and more amenable to swotters. But not until I worked on this piece did I realize how much easier, and how much more apparently coachable it is, particularly for those who take hundreds of hours of test prep. The College Board releases percentile ranks by race and ethnicity, but I can’t find the original files for anything before 2005. (If anyone can, then you’re a hell of a googler and send them my way.)

However, I found a book that cites exactly the file I want.


So in 1995, 14% of Asians, 5.8% of whites, and .6% of blacks scored over 700 in math, which means that the percentile for 700 was 86%, 94%, and 99%. In 2010 (confirm here), those percentiles were 77%, 94%, and 1%.

Only Asians got a lot smarter? Weird. Not impossible. A lot more Chinese and Koreans are taking the test. Not my pick as an explanation, though.

In 1995, the verbal percentile ranks for 700 were (I think) 98.2% Asian, 98.7% for whites, and 99+% for blacks. While this article doesn’t mention it, the 2010 rankings show that the corresponding 700 percentile rankings are now 92%, 94%, and 99%.

Have whites and Asians have gotten a lot smarter in verbal? No. If you won’t take my word for it, check out GRE scores during that time, which was very similar to the 1995 SAT throughout the 90s and before and after, did not see a corresponding increase in scores.

Or–my pick–the reading test has gotten a lot easier, which I’ve been telling to anyone who will listen, and, in my opinion, it’s gotten easier in a way that allows it to be coached more effectively. And the coaching has become more effective over time. Let’s look at all the data together, with a couple more years from the new SAT:

Year Math 700 %ile Verbal 700 %ile
Asians Whites Asians Whites
1995 86 94 98 99
2006 81 94 93 95
2010 77 94 92 94
2012 75 93 91 94

(Cite for 2006, 2012).

Weird. SAT scores are generally pretty stable. Until I started researching this, I had no idea that the Asian increase was that dramatic, and it is part of a series of discoveries over past year making me wonder if the big gap between Asian and white test prep use (and time spent in test prep) is doing more than just giving Asians a slight edge. This piece is long enough without bringing up the ACT, but I believe that a 700 M corresponds to a 32—or it used to, anyway—and notice that a 32 is only 85%ile for Asians. I have been working on these two essays for ten days or so, and I haven’t yet been able to find ACT percentiles by race over the past ten years or so. Reading and English appear to be roughly the same. However, almost three times as many Asians take the SAT as take the ACT.

One other thing to keep in mind—the number of native Chinese and Koreans taking the test has exploded. Are they fluent in English? Ask any university freshman at an elite school with a Chinese or Korean grad student instructor. So by any stretch, the Asian mean should have been dropping slightly, shouldn’t it? Which means either Asian Americans have gotten phenomenally better, the Chinese/Korean nationals are also getting high Verbal SAT scores, or….what? What explains this jump?

Whites had increased scores in reading, which I believe supports my contention that the 2005 changes were easier. Why did white math scores stay stable? That’s part of a longer post that’s all intuition on my part. Suffice it to say that the SAT math section is both shorter and easier. This helps people with high attention to detail who aren’t as intuitively strong in math. (yes, I know, the SAT supposedly tests higher math since 2005. Too long for this post, but I would disagree.) However, I do understand there could be other factors at work.

I’ll write more about various things that might be the cause of the extremely strange boost in Asian math and verbal scores in the next post, but for now, let’s leave it at this: UC had a big problem. The changes they had hoped might improve scores for blacks and Hispanics (my interpretation) had instead led to unimaginable increases in high Asian scores in the SAT.

More Subject Tests! No, wait. No Subject Tests!

The College Board obligingly did UC’s bidding in making the test easier (my read), but UC continued to follow Atkinson’s directive by requiring two optional subject tests. Previously, applicants had to take two required tests that were much easier than the others (Writing and Math 1C), and then one optional test. Now, the Writing and Math 1C tests were disallowed, and students had to choose two of the “harder” subject tests to take. This requirement handed Asians an enormous advantage over whites. To see why, just check out the percentile rankings of the subject tests—but before you do, close your eyes and stereotype like mad. What subject tests do you think Asians are more likely to take? Okay, now look. Get a load of those Chinese and Korean tests! Roughly half of all takers get an 800–and check out how many of the testers are native speakers. My goodness gracious.

Notice, too, the skew on the Math 2c test. I’ve tutored students in both the Math 2c and English Lit tests for around a decade. It is far easier to prep students for the Math 2c than it is the English Literature test. The test is considerably more difficult as well, because high schools directly cover the math subject matter, but don’t cover the English Lit subject matter, which relies far more on, dare I say, innate literary analysis skills.

In general, subject tests aren’t subjected (hahahaha) to the same scrutiny as the SAT. It’s well known, for example, that the score distributions are wacky, and that in certain tests–Physics, I’m looking at you–the lowest score is higher than the usual 200. I’m not a psychometrician, but I’d love to have someone make the College Board explain this document. Why, if more people finish the English test and get the same amount right, are the scores so much lower? Why, given the much higher accuracy rate of the Korean and Chinese listening tests, aren’t the tests made more difficult? But I digress.

And so, just a decade after Richard Atkinson called for an end to the SAT as an admissions tool and complete reliance on the Subject tests, UC does a complete 180, ending the use of subject tests in admissions. Asians knew instantly this was All About Them, and there was little attempt to deny it:

It was also noted that white students seem to be the winners under the new guarantee; this should be of concern to Council. BOARS Chair Rashid acknowledged that the percentage of white students does indeed go up and the percentage of Asian students goes down. The reason for this is that Asian students seem to be very good at figuring out the technical requirements of UC eligibility. If the subject exam is removed, even more white and Asian students meet the requirements of eligibility. Political perception is another concern. This proposal should also not be viewed as the ultimate solution to diversity. It was also noted that the numbers of females goes up under either scenario.

(emphasis mine.)

Please note that bolded comment. They aren’t saying drats, Asians are smarter. Or drats, we need diversity.

Read the rest of the memo to see the various hoops they jumped through in order to get this cover.

Back where it all started
You know what would have been much easier? Require four Subject tests: English Lit, Math 2c, American History, and a Science. Asians would still do well, but it would have been harder. Dump the SAT, dump or devalue grades. If nothing else, we’d be giving smart kids of all races a chance to show their stuff purely through test scores, imperfect as they may be, rather than the vagaries of teacher assessment.

But that gets UC right back to the problem it started with, the reason it emphasized GPA over test scores in the first place, the problem that it created just to give them a cover story for ignoring the will of the California voters (and, eventually, the constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court). A test-score only admissions process would eliminate almost all blacks and Hispanics from consideration. The problem: every attempt to bring in more blacks and Hispanics leads to more Asians.

Problem? Why is it a problem? Shouldn’t the universities just let the chips fall where they may? If the schools are overwhelmingly Asian, so what?

Well, for starters, relying exclusively on grades leads to Kashawn Campbell at the low end—hell, Kashawn’s story singlehandedly reveals the need for test scores, the fraudulence of high school grades, and the sketchy nature of college grades in one neat little package.

But more importantly, a huge number of the Asians admitted are either nationals or first and second generation Chinese, Koreans, and Indians.

None of what I’ve written or will write is intended in any way to rationalize the discrimination against Asians. Quite the contrary. Any fair admissions process would lead to overrepresentation of Asians. But I hope to persuade readers that college admissions in its current form, in both private and public schools, is so corrupt that getting outraged about discrimination for or against any one demographic is pointless. Any outrage you find is counterbalanced by another, and no, it’s not as if it all works out.

About educationrealist

41 responses to “College Admissions, Race, and Unintended Consequences

  • JayMan

    Great post! I can tell this was a lot of work. I hope it will serve as a reference for all those curious about the subject.

  • misdreavus


  • misdreavus

    Also, what’s with the new SAT? I took it a couple years ago, without test prep or prior coaching, and I was almost disgusted by how easy it was. Came within a hair’s width of a perfect score — which says a lot more about its difficulty than my level of intelligence.

  • Jim

    In a multi-racial multicultural society any admission policy will be regarded by almost all groups as discriminatory. Such societies are prone to internal conflict and it is worst if they are democratic since democracy exacerbates internal conflict.

  • The fourth doorman of the apocalypse

    More statistical sleight of hand:

    Claiming black high-school graduation rates has improved by including GED holders.

  • Don Strong

    Don’t have time to essay, but this is false: “…public universities are under tremendous pressure to pass as many wholly unqualified blacks and Hispanics as they can.” Having taught large and small science classes, undergrad and grad, at UC for 20 years and at another pretty elite university 20 before that, I have never, not ever, heard myself or heard of anyone (administrator, dept. chair, university president, or any other person) or any policy that even gets close to even mentioning such a need. Again, your assertion is totally false.

    • educationrealist

      Don, I would not for a moment assert that there’s an official policy. But you also know that UCs must publish their 6 year graduation rate, yes? And that they break it down by race? And that they pride themselves on keeping the black and Hispanic graduation rate as high as possible. Anecdotally, you read about the pressure instructors are under all the time.

      Do I think that all blacks and Hispanics are unqualified? Absolutely not. But Berkeley and UCLA have football teams, and I find it hard to believe that professors/instructors aren’t under pressure to give passing grades–again, nothing explicit.

      Finally, I imagine you read the story of Kashawn Campbell. Twice, his instructor gave him an “incomplete” rather than failing him, despite a persistent failure to improve.

      Let me ask: would you agree that *in some cases*, standards are lowered by professors/instructors who want to help achieve diversity at their schools? Let me say again that I don’t think all admissions fall in this category.

      • vijay

        I think the opposite is true; they use holistic admissions policy to admit more minorities, but expect the minorities to catch up on the courses, or move to less demanding majors. The pressure to admit more minorities is much more stronger than the pressure to graduate them in 4/5/6 years. You can see that in graduation rates of minorities in colleges.

      • Don Strong

        I stand by my assertion that your statement is completely false. Your ad hoc, indirect justification of it in your answer to me gives no evidence for it. It is simply not true that ““…public universities are under tremendous pressure to pass as many wholly unqualified blacks and Hispanics as they can.”

      • educationrealist

        It is simply not true? Seriously?

        Every year the University of California publishes an Accountability Report.

        A huge part of that report is how it is doing in admitting and graduating underrepresented minorities. I’m sure I could find it for any other public university.

        I’m sorry, but this is simply a fact. It is a pressure the universities welcome and indeed put upon themselves. but it’s there.

      • educationrealist

        I’m not sure why you are offended, though.

        I can think of two possibilities: First, you might be inferring that I think all blacks and Hispanics are unqualified. I do not.

        Second, you are upset because I am impugning the academic quality and priorities of the public university. If this, then yes. I am impugning them. I believe that the universities do this from the best of motives. But the Kashawn Campbell story is not an outlier; we can see these stories throughout the country. And the very fact that Kashawn is not only admitted, but able to keep a GPA above 2.0, suggests that standards are lowered at one of the flagships of the UC system.

      • krs

        RE: Cal and UCLA football (Davis fields a team, too, but is in the FCS subdivision; I’m not sure if they are required to meet the same standards), note the paragraph in this article:

        “They also started a new penalty system that bans schools from postseason play when they don’t reach certain standards. The NCAA releases their yearly Academic Progress Report in the spring and these sanctions are based on the results of this report. Schools need to get an APR score of at least 925, which equates to a 50 percent graduation rate. If this number is not met, then the school loses eligibility in tournaments and other postseason play in the sport where the number is not reached.[…] Other penalties include the loss of scholarships and practice time restrictions. If the school fails to meet the standards for four years running it’s possible that they could lose their Division I standing.”

        A loss of scholarships is virtually impossible for any coach to overcome. Add in the fact that football is the primary revenue source for most athletic departments, and the cynic in me assumes that grades are inflated by anything but studying….

    • Scharlach

      Dan Strong is in the sciences, so he probably doesn’t see many URMs to begin with, especially if he teaches upper-division courses. Of course he hasn’t had to pass along any URMs. That’s the job of adjuncts teaching basic writing, college algebra, and various liberal arts requirements that go toward the non-STEM majors that most URMs end up pursuing. I, too, work in academia, and I can assure you that Education Realist is correct here. But I can see how someone in the sciences would be immune to the reality.

  • vijay

    as an example, see data
    Table 1: Enrollment and Graduation Rates Are Up for All
    Students at Four-Year Colleges and Universities
    Fall Undergraduate Enrollment
    Black Hispanic White
    2009 1,271,636 949,304 5,928,302
    2010 1,337,325 1,053,700 6,058,845
    2011 1,379,680 1,158,268 6,090,212
    Change +8.5% +22.0% +2.7%
    Six-Year Graduation Rate
    Black Hispanic White
    2009 39.1% 48.7% 60.8%
    2010 39.5% 50.1% 61.5%
    2011 39.9% 51.0% 62.1%
    Change +2.0% +4.7% +2.1%

    Increase of 22% in enrollment, but 5% for 6 year graduatoion!

  • vijay

    Sorry for posting three times; the above 2 emails were supposed to be one. In addition, the graduation rates are overstated. They account for student attrition due to death, prison or going to military; but, they do not account for accretion due to incoming community college transfers. I suspect the data to be optimistic.

  • educationrealist

    That’s interesting, Vijay. Thanks. Maybe they are flunking more than I think. Which is good, if so.

    • vijay

      Both, Don Strong, ad Education Realist are correct; and they are both in error. How so? Here goes my long explanation, and I apologize for my verbosity.
      The admissions process and education process in universities are decoupled in a sense. The goal of dean of admissions is to show a an admission rate that reflects the population distribution of the state or the nation. This results in the admission of people of differing cognitive abilities (reference: Kashawn Campbell entry of this blog. Ed Realist and his commenters spend hours discussing his disabilities, but there are 1000s of Kashawns with no disabilities admitted to the system).

      What happens to people in the lower end of the cognitive ability distribution once they enter college? There is a large body of literature that is available; Peter Arcidiacono of Duke, as an example, says they switch to easier courses. To maintain financial aid stipulations, and to remain enrolled, students witch courses after failing harder, first year english, STEM, and economics courses. The students shop easier courses and those who graduate, do so in easier majors such as AAS, Chicano studies. Barring which they drop out.

      What is the net result? Opting Out: Losing the Potential of America’s Young Black Elite (University of Chicago Press),a book discusses what happens to URM grads after graduation in majors of lower demand. ” Black employees, in contrast, trend toward “service-oriented, racialized jobs” including counselors, education administrators, preschool and kindergarten teachers and community and social service specialists. Taken together, the differences in employment result in: chief executives being the fifth most common white-collar occupation among whites, but 35th among blacks; lawyers being 10th among whites but 27th among blacks; and physicians being 19th among whites but 31st among blacks.Thus, Beasley concludes that a persistent lack of black employees within certain fields is the source of “significant economic and status disparities” between black and white populations in America.”

      In summary, URM students face:

      1. Lower graduation rates (more flunking)
      2. Graduation in degrees which are less demanding and in lower demand.
      3. Employment outcomes in service-oriented jobs.

      This long-winded rant supports your statements on college admission, race and unintended consequences, all the way through life.


      1. University Differences in the Graduation of Minorities in
      STEM Fields: Evidence from California, Peter Arcidiacono et al, May 2013.

      2. Opting Out: Losing the Potential of America’s Young Black Elite (University of Chicago Press), Maya A. Beasley (2011).

      • momof4

        I remember reading something just recently – can’t remember where – that said that blacks (like women) are more risk-averse than white or Asian males. Combined with the likelihood of blacks having softer/lower demand degrees, this supports their lower presence in high-risk (but high-reward for the successful) careers.

  • Racial manipulation of UC admissions can’t help but go haywire | CalWatchDog

    […] trying to prop up enrollment of some — but not all — minorities? Check out this post on the Education Realist blog run by an anonymous but very insightful California […]

  • The fourth doorman of the apocalypse

    There is very good evidence that African American average IQ is 85 and the variance is 12. There is also evidence that suggests that East Asian IQs average around 105, not sure what the variance is, but there is reason to believe it is lower than the white variance …

    To complete a college degree requires an IQ of around 105, surely. (And Linda Gottfredson claims that it is so as well.)

    That suggests that only about 4% of AfAms would be capable of completing a college degree.

    Secondly, those numbers upstream suggest that either whites are underrepresented in college admissions or blacks are overrepresented.

  • vijay

    This reply is a response to KRS on student athletes getting easy grades. There are 360 male and 318 female athletes in UCLA (Reference 1)in a campus of 28,000 (Reference 2). Of the athletes, scholarships are predominatly for football, baseball, track men and add to about 70+51+25+5 = 180; women get an equal, approximately 140 scholarships. Even if every one of them were awarded all As illegally, still it makes no impact on the grading for all students. In addition, approximately 125 of the 360 male athletes are African american. If you wish to race-bait, do it right, not through athletes.

    Reference 1.

    Reference 2

  • George Purcell

    GPA has a lot of problems, however you are incorrect that high school performance is not predictive of success in higher education. The proper measure of high school performance to use is class rank, which ends up being a much stronger predictor than SAT/ACT score.

  • vermicide

    It seems that you have lumped Asian Americans and Asian nationals into the same group and I suspect this presents a skewed picture. At public universities International students generally pay the out of state tuition, which merely translates to extra money. Additionally their education at home is significantly different from that of their American counterparts. Is there a reason for this?

    • educationrealist

      Well, remember that the colleges themselves lump together Asian Americans and Asian nationals–except sometimes. And yes, I agree that this creates a skewed picture.

      So there are two different issues: One, cultural, where recent immigrants and nationals are quite similar. Two, education, where nationals and Americans have very different outcomes. I’ll be writing more on this distinction.

      At public universities International students generally pay the out of state tuition, which merely translates to extra money.

      MERELY? That’s the whole reason for the growth of Chinese and Korean nationals.

  • edtitan77

    Well we already know what happens when elite schools rely solely on test scores for admittance. All one has to do is look at selective NYC Public High Schools. The percentage of Blacks and Hispanics have been declining substantially. So much so the NAACP threatened a lawsuit which was immediately pushed back on by Asians and Bloomberg. I believe the number of Blacks admitted into this year’s incoming freshman class at Stuyvesant is in the single digits. This in a class of 700 and a city a quarter Black.

    The Democrat coalition will implode and this is one of the reasons why. If you want more Blacks and Browns to get into selective institutions of higher learning you have to restrict people who on average have IQs that would put them at the upper echelons of Black IQ levels. However the Left will hear none of it. Any attempt to curtail immigration is denounced as racist as Jason Richwine found out.

    Even attempts to curtail birthright citizenship, which Asians are craftily manipulating with residential birthing clinics for pregnant tourists, are denounced as racist.

    Blacks and Hispanics cannot hope to compete with the children of wealthy overseas Chinese much less the domestic variety. Wealthy Blacks can’t even outscore poor Whites. Things are about to get a lot more interesting in the decades to come.

  • cathyf

    Just a pointer to something you should look at:

    When my son was taking tests (he is a college sophomore now) he got the historical data for ACT scores over the previous 10 years. The math ACT distribution is fascinating at first glance — CLEARLY bimodal, and if you look closely there is probably a 3rd mode up at the 34-35 level. It is totally persistent from year to year. And the verbal, reading, and science score distributions are clearly NOT bimodal — they have the typical somewhat-bumpy-but-still-obviously-normal look that real world data has.

    An hour or so with Mathematica and he separated out the data into two basically-normal distributions. What is striking is that they simply don’t overlap much. In the higher distribution, about 2 STDs down is around 18, while on the lower distribution, about 2 STDs up is around 19. What it seems to show is that there are 2 quite distinct populations — Doesn’tGetMath and GetsMath. Even the pretty stupid members of the GetsMath group get math better than the pretty smart members of the Doesn’tGetMath group.

    As somebody interacting with both groups every day, I’m sure you know this — you should be interested to see it measured, however.

  • Piper

    Nah, the problem is the bigotry of low expectations, particularly teachers’ low expectations of black students:

  • Jim

    The Liz Peek article placed all of the blame for the black/white test gap on bad teachers. However there were some comments pointing out the one standard deviation IQ difference between blacks and whites.

    • Anthony

      Given that the gap has been pretty persistent over the past 70 years, I’d like someone like Liz Peek to explain why today’s enlightened, caring, mostly liberal teachers aren’t doing any better than the mean, old, racist teachers of 1955.

  • 200,000 Views in 20 Months | educationrealist

    […] College Admissions, Race, and Unintended Consequences […]

  • 2013: Taking Stock and Looking Forward | educationrealist

    […] College Admissions, Race, and Unintended Consequences […]

  • Taylor

    Good stuff. However, for all it’s faults, I’d rather have UC’s admissions policy than what the rest of the country has. They have a good foundation for admissions and are trying to screw it up. Other schools have a fundamentally convoluted admissions process that they are trying to tidy up.

  • 200 Posts | educationrealist

    […] College Admissions, Race, and Unintended Consequences—I like this slightly better than the most heavily visited essay on the site (see below). […]

  • 2014: Half a million satisfied page views | educationrealist

    […] College Admissions, Race, and Unintended Consequences […]

  • Getting Smarter, or Getting Better at Using Smarts? | educationrealist

    […] scoring a 650, in the 86th percentile (although I’ve always distrusted the scoring on English lit tests). Two of the misses were analysis and both were careless errors I’d never make in a real […]

  • Dropping Admissions Tests: CalTech | educationrealist

    […] of the restrictions imposed by California’s 1997 affirmative action ban for two decades: declaring a ban on the SAT unless the College Board redesigned it and made everyone else pay, focusing more on the subject […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: