Another blow at the meritocracy: California to eliminate all standardized tests for college admissions

January 14, 2021 • 1:15 pm

Part of the Woke Program is dispelling meritocracy, as demonstrations of “merit” are often seen as byproducts of “privilege”, while lower assessments of merit, especially when instantiated by minority groups, are seen as instantiations of bigotry. It’s well known, for example, that the standard ACT and SAT tests show dramatically different average scores among racial groups. Below is a table of 2018 scores from the National Center for Education Statistics, with data drawn from the U.S. Department of Education. The standard deviations in the U.S. overall are about 200; this figure would be lower for separate groups because that estimate comes from combined data of groups having different means.

As is well known, there are big differences between groups—on the order of half to a full standard deviation, with Asians at the top followed by whites, mixed-race students, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders and then Native Americans and blacks nearly tied on the lowest rung.

The ordering is seen as reflecting racism, and that may well be true if you take “racism” as meaning “the historical oppression of minority groups which had created at present an impoverished cultural environment with bad schools.” And that would be my own explanation for the differences. A culture of pushing for achievement and high grades would then account for Asians getting the highest scores on average.

Some people, however, attribute racism more directly, arguing that the questions themselves are racially biased, favoring white and Asian “knowledge” over the knowledge held by other groups.  I don’t think such an explanation holds much water, especially for math; and the SAT company has made efforts to examine the possibility of bias and eliminate those questions that smack of it.

Because of the racial disparities, people have argued successfully to eliminate SATs and ACTs (another standardized test) as requirements for college admission. I can’t see a good reason for that. SATs, in particular, are just as correlated with success in college as are high-school grade point averages, but the latter are specific to schools. Why would you not want to put all students on the same scale, evaluated by the same test, when you’re judging students? The best thing to do, as I’ve argued, is use a multivariate index, combining grades and standardized-test scores.

The reason schools are eliminating tests, of course, is largely because racial disparities in scores don’t look good on their face (I’d argue that they highlight a problem of inequality), and, if used as one criterion for college admission, would reduce the chances of minorities like blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans getting into selective colleges, exacerbating inequities (inequality of representation). But there’s a solution: colleges wanting more racial balance can use various legal affirmative-action strategies, strategies that, in general, I approve of. Also, there’s a benefit for minorities taking standardized tests: it enables colleges to pick out those students who are likely to do well (remember the correlation between SAT scores and college success) but didn’t have high grade-point averages, perhaps because they were bored or not turned on by the curriculum.

But you can only push affirmative action so far before unequal admissions treatment starts getting people upset. That’s why a group of Asian students sued Harvard (and lost, at least for the time being), claiming that Harvard deliberately downgraded their assessments to avoid having too many Asians on campus. If you have standardized-test numbers to attach to different groups, the disparities are glaring and not only can incite resentment, but can lead to lawsuits arguing that schools are using a “quota system,” a strategy ruled out in the Bakke case.

Recently, the University of California decided to eliminate tests like SATs as requirements for in-state applicants, making them optional for the next two years. Then, in 2023, students will not be allowed to even submit those scores. This happened despite the recommendation of both its own Chancellor and a panel convened by the University system itself, both of which recommended that SAT-like tests be retained as mandatory for applicants. The only reason that the University could possibly have for overriding its own panel’s recommendation is that test scores highlight racial disparities and could exacerbate at the U of C if considered in a largely meritocratic admissions system.

For reasons I can’t fathom, the University of California, after ditching the SATs and ACTs, recommended that the system devise its own standardized test, to be implemented in 2025. But according to this article from the Los Angeles Times (click on screenshot, and inquire for a copy if paywalled), they’ve decided they can’t do that in a timely fashion, and so the U of C is likely to ditch all standardized tests—for good.  This has already happened in over 1,000 other colleges and universities (roughly a quarter of higher-education institutions in the U.S.), a wholesale dismantling of the meritocracy. (n.b.: I don’t think that test-scores or grades should be the sole criterion for college admissions, as there are other criteria of achievement that aren’t measured by these statistics.)

See if you can open this, and ask if you can’t:

Because the proposed UC-specific test isn’t practicable, they’ve explored another alternative:

The UC Board of Regents unanimously voted last year to eliminate the SAT and ACT — as more than 1,000 other colleges and universities have done — amid decades of research showing test performance is heavily influenced by race, income and parent education levels.

But the regents accepted a faculty recommendation to explore whether a new UC test without those biases could be developed, saying it would have to be ready in time for fall 2025 applicants.

The UC panels, in their reports released Monday, said it was not feasible for UC to develop its own test because it would take too long and recommended that the university instead explore using a modified version of the state’s high school assessment — but only as an optional “data point” in comprehensive applicant reviews.

The new replacement:

The group of UC faculty, admissions directors, testing experts and other educational and community representatives focused on whether Smarter Balanced, the California assessment given annually to 11th graders, could be retooled for UC use. Any use of a modified state test, however, should be optional and limited so as not to create the inequities and high-stakes pressures associated with the SAT and ACT, according to the recommendation to UC President Michael V. Drake from a second panel.

This is just replacing one standardized test with another, and one that can’t be used to compare in-state applicants with out-of-state applicants who don’t take “Smarter Balanced.” Note the concern with “inequities and high-stakes pressures”.  Well, you’re still going to get those, because Smarter Balanced testing produces the same disparities as does the SAT:

But members from both groups also expressed concerns about racial and ethnic disparities in state test results. For instance, about 70% of students classified as Asian meet or exceed the 11th-grade standard for math compared with 45% of whites and 20% of Black and Latino students, the work group said.

So you’ve still got those substantial inequities in exactly the same direction. Proponents of the California-specific test, however, argue that it has a few advantages over SATs. For one thing, it’s free, while I believe it costs a lot to take the standardized SAT and ACT tests. Also, proponents argue that a California-specific test will somehow “better align [the University of California] with the K-12 system, leading to better educational preparation for university work.”

But do you really want California-wide uniformity of educational desiderata, especially when assessed with a test not available to those outside California? It all sounds too cumbersome to me. 

And, in the end, the committees assessing this issue decided that, for the time being, the University system should not use Smarter Balanced as an admission criterion, instead using the test scores “for related purposes, such as validating GPA [JAC: that is a criterion by the way], providing context about the school’s educational environment or helping determine placement in freshman courses and summer preparation programs.”

In the end, I think that a mandatory standardized test for all applicants, including those from outside the state, is useful, and I can’t see any good arguments against it save the cost, which can be obviated. As I wrote last year, concurring with Scott Aaronson that standardized tests have real value in singling out smart kids who didn’t get good grades (Aaronson was one of those):

If you want greater racial equity, though, it seems to me best not to eliminate test scores, but to calculate a multivariate index of “academic achievement,” and then use other criteria, like “diversity points” to increase racial balance. This is, in effect, what is being done now by schools like Harvard. The reason, as I’ve said before, is as a form of reparations for those held back by their sociopolitical history in America.

You can have greater equity and some meritocratic criteria at the same time. What you cannot have is greater equity and purely meritocratic admissions, assuming that you base the merit on grades, test scores, and criteria like achievements not measured by grades and scores. (I don’t recommend using Harvard’s “personality index”!) Eventually, when equality of opportunity is achieved for all groups—and that is the real goal, but one that will take decades to achieve—there will be no good arguments against using standardized tests as criteria for college admission.

h/t: Luana

54 thoughts on “Another blow at the meritocracy: California to eliminate all standardized tests for college admissions

  1. I have a question for the crowd. The Black Votes Should Count Twice idea that Jerry highlighted in a recent post (can’t find the post) made me think about this. I think this question is germane here as well:

    Who will be considered black and eligible for [a special benefit]? Many options exist, including (and it’s not obvious at all IMO):

    • Should we apply the venerable “one-drop” rule? (If any ancestor was considered to be black then you are too. And: How does one determine this? By DNA testing? By appearance? Should we be using color swatches to compare with people’s skins? What part of their skin, during what time of year? (color varies) By extant legal records such as birth certificates? And on, and on.)

    • Should your vote be valued based on the percentage of black heritage you have? E.g. if you have 75% black heritage (three of your four grandparents are considered to be black), then your vote is counted 1.0 + 1.0 X 0.75 = 1.75 votes. (Again, how would this percentage be determined? Same questions as above. Would someone with “one drop” just get a tiny added weight to their vote, say 1%?)

    • Should it be anyone who “identifies” as black? (Anyone who just says that they consider themselves to be black.)

    • Should it be by committee? A group of people gathers (who should be in this committee? why?) and views a person and decides (since their appearance is what matters, right?). Would there be an appeal process?

    • Shall we break out the old Jim Crow laws in each state and apply those field-tested rules for identifying who is “black”?

    • Should it be conferred on first-generation immigrants from Africa (whose lineage goes back to the ur-human, always on the African continent)?

    • Should it be conferred on immigrants of Melanesian heritage? They look black.

    • Should it be conferred on individuals like Will Smith, Denzel Washington, LeBron James, people who have done better than 99% of white Americans? [This was specific to votes counting twice]

    • Should it be based on a person’s poverty (in which case race isn’t the factor under consideration)?

    • And, to the answer for every question: Why?

    These questions will arise with any proposal for reparations.

    1. Answer to pretty much all:

      -Every Uni can be different (though the state systems need to conform to state policies)
      -As long as the system they use is reasonably transparent, a prospective student can make an informed consent on whether to apply there. Don’t like one drop? Don’t apply to a school that advertises that system.

      This doesn’t mean I like or personally agree with all of your suggestions, but “let many flowers bloom” and let everyone pick the flower they like seems maybe more reasonable to me than coercing all colleges and Universities to conform to the exact same set of racial admission criteria.

  2. Why not use IQ tests?
    They are very accurate.
    For example, they can be used to measure the IQ of people on Death Row to stay execution if the IQ is less than 70.

    If IQ tests can be used scientifically to see who lives and who dies, surely they can be used for entrance to college?

    1. Yes, but not everybody takes an IQ test. They could, of course, but you’d have to look at the correlation of IQ with success in college, and, perhaps most important, IQ tests are in very bad odor these days, though they shouldn’t be. To many people they smack of eugenics and even more of “sorting” than do SATs.

    2. IQ tests are the most meritocratic, but also the least equitable admission standard. There are huge racial/ethnic differences in intelligence (Ashkenazis average 115, African Americans 85). This fact is not only largely responsible for the demonization of IQ testing but probably the greatest intellectual taboo of our time. (If someone sees your real name online when discussing anything related to it, you run the risk of getting cancelled without any realistic hope for redemption.)

      > For example, they can be used to measure the IQ of people on Death Row to stay execution if the IQ is less than 70.

      This is probably an example of hypocrisy (criminologists usually loathe biological explanations for crime) unrelated to the odds of implementing your proposal. I guess proponents of the low-IQ defense want to abolish the death penalty anyway and simply welcome every chance to avoid it.

    3. The SAT at one time was a surrogate IQ test; in fact I believe MENSA still accepts members based on SAT scores if they’re old enough. The people who object to the SAT object doubly so to IQ

    4. Your IQ test questions for the day:
      Fact #1. You’ve got one test whose correlation with success in college (generally, graduation in 4-5 years) has never been studied, so you don’t know if it measures success.
      Fact #2. You’ve got another test which is known to correlate with success in college.

      Question 1: Which is more rational to pick as a college entry test?
      Question 2: which of those is SAT, which of those is IQ?
      Question 3: So is it rational to suggest using an IQ test?

  3. LA Times: ” … amid decades of research showing test performance is heavily influenced by race, income and parent education levels.”

    That, of course, should say “correlated with” not “influenced by”. We don’t fully know what the “influences” causing the disparities actually are.

    Eventually, when equality of opportunity is achieved for all groups—and that is the real goal, but one that will take decades to achieve …

    It’s possible that America is not that far off genuine equality of opportunity. After all, things like twin studies and adoption studies show that “shared environment” (the thing that would most correlate with equality of opportunity) usually has a minor effect on outcomes.

  4. Your questions outline exactly why I am against reparations.

    I’m not against reparations in theory. It’s just that it would be a nightmare to administer.

    Just to take one example: Barack and Michelle Obama’s daughters: They are 1/4 white, 1/4 Black foreign national, and 1/2 descended from slaves. What are they owed, and what do they owe?

    M ancestors did not get here until late nineteenth century on one side, and early 20th on the other, well past the age of slavery. Yest, they were all a pack of racists. But they were poor peasants, and to say that they benefitted from their whiteness is a real stretch, especially for the Italian side. They experienced discrimination, and were not really financially successful until after WWII, and then only moderately. My Swiss relatives were doing fine until my great-grandfather was killed in an industrial accident, at which point they fell into extreme poverty. What do I owe, and why?

    Another point against reparations is that a lot of genealogy would have to be done. Some Blacks might welcome that, but others might see it as an invasion of privacy. Then what?

    Finally, I don’t think we can talk about reparations without including Native Americans.

    L

    1. I agree with you. The problem with reparations is that they treat people as members of groups, not according to their individual capabilities and circumstances, and that is the root of the problem, not the solution to it.

      Affirmative action generally benefits people like the Obama daughters (who don’t really need it) just because they are “of color”, and declines to benefit a boy from a trailer park with a drug-addict, unemployed mother and no dad (who does really need it) just because he is “white”.

      We know that the dispersion in needs/outcomes within any given group is much greater than the disparity between groups, and that refutes any case for targeting assistance based on group identity, rather than on individual need.

    2. Well put Linda.

      Do we know Michelle Obama’s ancestors were all held in slavery? That adds another level of complexity.

      The only clear “social justice” measure I’ve seen articulated (I’d love to get references to others!) is the “Black Votes Should Be Counted Twice.” Which I had discussed above. Pretty much unworkable, IMO.

      My ancestors on my Dad’s side came to the USA from Norway in the 1890s, long after slavery. My ancestors on my Mom’s side are from the Deep South (some as far back as the 1650s) and very likely owned slaves (though I don’t know this for sure; who knows if there are even records).

      But, for Critical Race Theory, none of this matters. It’s perfectly OK to punish (extract wealth) from one race to give to another race without regard to culpability in past wrongs. Duh! All whites are racist and have advantages because they are white, therefore it’s OK to take from the one to give to the other. Lurking behind all of the CRT stuff is the desire to enforce equality of outcomes: Neo-Marxism. (We know how well Marxism worked out.)

      1. AFAIK, Michelle Obama’s ancestry is descended from slaves on both sides. I read her memoir a couple years ago, and she traced one line of her family to the slaves who built the White House. I thought that was pretty cool. She wrote about her feelings about living there as First Lady, knowing that she had ancestors who helped build the place.

        L

  5. it enables colleges to pick out those students who are likely to do well (remember the correlation between SAT scores and college success) but didn’t have high grade-point averages

    This was me. Not boredom – I moved to the US from Australia in my junior year, and Australian schools (at the time) were much harsher on grading. My 3.3 GPA in Australia put me in the top 5% of my class. My SAT scores in the U.S. put me in the top 5% overall. But when my 3.3 GPA was compared to my US classmates’ GPA, that put me in the top 30% or so. Hellloooo, backup school.

    There was no ‘institutional bias’ in my getting the grades I did (at least AFAIK). But my HS being middle class, my teachers recognized the issue and helped me deal with it. I can easily imagine that a more overworked school, with much bigger problems than one transfer student’s already-above-average grades, would not have done that. And there’s a bit of real institutional bias – middle class kids are surrounded by adults who had the time and resources to fix problems like this, poorer students, probably not so much.

    For reasons I can’t fathom, the University of California, after ditching the SATs and ACTs, recommended that the system devise its own standardized test

    this always sounded hinky to me. I think they said it as political cover – to pacify objectors – and never had any serious intention of creating their own test.

    1. Political cover: Yes. It looms large around education. Many, many examples around return to school during COVID. I call it “Putting Out More Flags” (Hat-tip to Evelyn Waugh).

      As I told my wife (public school 2nd grade teacher): They have to fly all the flags like they are charging back to school and they will pull back when they have cover from the COVID numbers and the procedures from the state.

      1. Ha! Sadly I lost my accent very quickly (this was not my first move). So no ‘exotic student’ social cred for me.

  6. To maximize equity, abolishing objective admission standards is more effective than modifying them. It frees decisionmakers from being held accountable and thus allows them to abuse their position to a greater extent than their overseers would tolerate.

  7. What is meant by ‘racial equality’ here? If they mean that the % of college students should be equally divided by race 6 ways, then they have a pretty serious problem.
    But if the % of college students, divided by race are approximately equal to the % of races in a state, then I’d say that is not necessarily a problem.

  8. Questions:

    Has anyone seen specific SAT questions tagged as “racist” or “sexist”?

    Will this mean that teachers will have to teach so as to revert to the mean or possibly less? I can’t see a bright future for honors courses.

    Won’t all this ultimately fall on employers and that a college degree may become less meaningful?

    1. I think there were questions inherently biased toward certain socio-economic groups that were shown to exist on such standardized tests in the Sixties, and even into the Seventies, but I think the standardized testing companies and associations worked diligently to eliminate such inherently biased questions once such questions were demonstrated to exist and were brought to their attention.

      Whether such inherent socio-economic bias has been eliminated entirely (or even whether it can be) may remain an open question, but undeniably there has been vast improvement in this regard.

      1. It probably can’t be. it is difficult to parse useful and realistic background knowledge and then ask questions about it without making some sort of assumption about the kid’s cultural background. If you pick miles, you assume they know the imperial system. But if you pick km, you assume they know the metric system. But you gotta pick one to talk about units of distance. A question mentioning kids playing baseball presumes some familiarity with baseball. A question about trains moving along tracks presumes some familiarity with trains. A question like “Bob drives to the store…” may be more familiar (and thus easier to mentally image) for kids whose parents drive everywhere, rather than take the bus. And so on. Adding to that, culture changes over time. Last year’s questions might be easier for a Senior than a Junior. Then there’s the “trigger” notion, which is much older than the woke term itself. Back a couple of decades ago, there was a scufffle over whether to use the word “fat” in reading comprehension stories, because that might cause some fat kids to tune out the details, increasing their chance of getting the answers wrong. Nobody was making the (ridiculous) argument that they would be physically hurt by it, they were making the argument that if a story makes one student feel shame and not another student, the student feeling shame is going to have a tougher time thinking objectively about the question.

        Now it is reasonable to argue “all US high school juniors should be expected to know and think objectively about about…” and create a list. But even if we agree on a lot of that list, the SAT is big. It’s going to have to include more than just that core. So inevitably, we’re going to have to pick some knowledge from the “gray area” where people disagree on whether kids should be expected to know X or not.

        Personally I don’t see this as a deal-breaker. The tests should still be used, even if ‘eliminating cultural bias’ is a constant and never-finishing task. Good is not the enemy of perfect, and the SAt is a good indicator…one which will never be perfect. C’est la vie. But it means we should take complaints seriously and try to address them.

        1. If I just compare the environment my son has grown up in (I won’t use the term “enrichment” but that is what is used): Multiple trips to Europe and many trips all over the USA, surrounded by books, parents who are reading addicts and indulge every day, given zillions of books, given camera equipment and books to learn an art at an early age (along with more traditional art supplies and encouragement), music in school, with a whole variety of instruments to play at home and in school (I have told him I’d buy him any instrument he’s serious about playing, within reason (no pipe-organs!)) with the environment of some of my wife’s (1st and 2nd grade public school) students.

          Many of her students move multiple times per year, are ill fed, ill clothed, have no bedtimes, have unrestricted access to cable TV and video games, are often farmed out to relatives. Are never read to. Have no books in the home. Never see adults reading. Are physically abused. Have parents with zero engagement with their education (never respond to communications, don’t return homework, don’t come to conferences) etc., etc.

          It would take a mightily exceptional child to rise above that and compete with my son (who is bright in any case).

          The solution that is often proposed, though not acknowledged is surrogate parenting of these kids by school teachers or other publicly employed professionals.

          See: The movie “Finding Superman”. (Seriously, just the fact that you need “superman” to perform the miracle on these kids ought to tell one how likely such an outcome is.)

          One of my colleagues has a daughter who was one of those “super teachers” who bring “kids of color” along in an impoverished school system (in the US deep south, she is from Minnesota). This was her main motivation for going into teaching.

          She would work 12-14 hour days 6-7 days per week. Go to the kids homes and do their homework with them. Note that these kids lived in bad neighborhoods where she was taking significant personal risk in going there alone. She showed great success. She got to meet Barack Obama in 2012, along with her kids.

          Now, ask yourself: How many young, just out of college professionals (with college debt, most of them) at starting teachers’ salary (roughly $15-$18/hour, if they worked a standard work year of 2080 hours, which they don’t — they work much longer hours than that, not even including the insane hours she was working) are you going to find that are willing to devote their life to raising other peoples’ kids like this? This is surrogate parenting. This is not viable model.

          In the end, she burned out after about 2 years and went into a different line of work. 50% of teachers leave the profession in their first 5 years. It’s a really tough job. (Try to find another professional job with such high attrition rates.)

        2. If SAT tests are so culturally bound to American culture, we should expect students descended from families that have been in the US for 200 years or more to do way better than students whose families emigrated from Vietnam in about 1998 or so.

  9. That’s good news. I’m happy to see the decline of meritocracy.

    As Hannah Arendt once wrote: “Meritocracy contradicts the principle of equality, of an equalitarian democracy, no less than any other oligarchy.” (from The Crisis in Education)

    Certainly merit is not something distributed independent of existing wealth, gender, and racial hierarchies in society. Using merit as the sole, or even primary, method of allocating educational opportunity or other resources will surely help to preserve existing inequality.

    1. So I gather you want NO meritocracy? Suppose success as a doctor was correlated with your MCAT scores, which it probably is. Would you care about the quality of someone doing a serious operation on you? Would you want the doctor rated the best, or would you simply take any doctor with a license to operate. How about the pilot flying your airplane. Do you want an experienced, tested pilot or somebody doingtheir first flight?

      Somehow I think that in at least some areas of your existence, you want a meritocracy. And no, meritocracy does not contradict the principle of equality so long as “equality” means “equality of OPPORTUNITY”. We don’t have that yet, but that’s what we’re striving for.

    2. So your ideal society would be what exactly?

      From each according to whatever they feel like putting in, to each according to whatever they feel like taking out?

    3. “Certainly merit is not something distributed independent of existing wealth, gender, and racial hierarchies in society.”

      Agreed. For example, women now outnumber men in higher education…in some schools the ratio is 60/40 favoring women. It could be that women are significantly more intelligent than men, on average. In fact, that’s probably the main driver here. As women still face a non-trivial degree of sexism in education, and yet still outperform men, they must have some significant cognitive advantage. They are running with a heavy backpack, and still coming in first.

      So given a level playing field, with equal opportunity for both sexes in education, we may still have many more women getting degrees than men, out of proportion to the representation of the sexes in the general population.

      And what would be wrong with that? Are we supposed to admit more duller males, at the expense of sharper female students, just to meet some approved gender ratio?

      1. “For example, women now outnumber men in higher education…in some schools the ratio is 60/40 favoring women.”

        Your conclusion (women are smarter than men) doesn’t follow from this statistic.

        The more likely conclusion (IMO) is that women are more motivated to get a college degree as there are fewer “traditional” jobs for women without a degree that pay really well.

  10. I wonder if this will ever be implemented in college sport team and playtime selections. What about if your high school sport performance would not be taken into account, and some people would get “diversity points” to increase racial balance in the team and playtime.

    1. It won’t. High level college basketball and American football programs will still be overrepresented by Black players. Asian athletes at this level for these sports will be about as rare as hen’s teeth. No one on the Left will worry for one millisecond about this disparity.

      Meritocracies are only an issue if they result in Blacks being underrepresented.

      Overrepresentation of black and brown people in any domain is essentially not deemed a problem by the Woke. I repeat; the Woke resistance to measures of merit is not a consistent principle. It is a tactic that is used selectively in service of the goal of reducing white and asian representation in areas that they deem it to be too high.

      1. Is there (as our host set out the issue in the post above) some “historical oppression of [white people] which ha[s] created at present an impoverished cultural environment” that you feel requires redressment?

        1. I’m not sure what you’re talking about. The answer to your question is “no”, but I have no idea how it relates to the point I raised.

          To put it succinctly, the Left does not really care about diversity as a core principle. It is perfectly fine with lack of diversity, so long as that lack of diversity favors black and brown people.

          The left also does not care really about correcting under-representation as a core principle.
          It is perfectly fine when groups are over-represented, so long as that over-representation favors black and brown people.

          They also have the same position about men. Who cares if women now outnumber men in college, what’s the problem? What’s that you say…men are overrepresented in certain STEM
          subjects…we must fix this now!

          And maybe these are sound positions to have, I don’t know. Let’s tilt the playing field for a few generations against men, whites and those other historical oppressors, Asians, and maybe this will make everything better.

          I just wish they weren’t so transparently disingenuous about it. Stop hiding behind lies about “diversity” and “representation”.

          1. More than that. For the woke religion, it is literally impossible to be racist towards uncolored (white) people. Doesn’t matter what you do. You can, as one student’s mother did at my wife’s school, walk through the halls shouting at the top of your lungs, “I hate all white people!” over and over; and, according to Orwellian world of wokeness, CRT, etc.: That is not racism. By definition.

      2. Over representation of blacks in college sports won’t continue because of wokeness, it’ll continue because of greed.

        1. Agreed, but the lack of attention from the Woke on this issue is quite incredible, don’t you think, given their obsession with diversity?

          There are few groups less diverse than a college football or basketball team at a major university.

          1. > Agreed, but the lack of attention from the Woke on this issue is quite incredible, don’t you think, given their obsession with diversity?

            In the US, there is a push to get more black faces into the NFL. After all, whites are overrepresented among quarterbacks and coaches.

            Apart from that, there is probably a little racial bias in sports due to statistical reasoning and peer pressure. If a black and a white basketball players are equally good, it seems safer to pick the black one (“no one ever got fired for buying IBM”).

  11. Well think about it for a second. If you let everybody in, how many will survive the first semester ? So try it and see what happens.

  12. Of course a college can have greater equity and a purely meritocratic admission system, if it defines merit as being in the top X percent of one’s high school class. And then aggressively advertises itself in any communities from which it currently lacks many students.

    How to define merit is the rub. In practice, it is usually those who hire college graduates who get to be the biggest deciders of that, indirectly or (occasionally) directly.

  13. Dear California…Ok, so let’s say these new non-SAT minorities pass all of their classes… What if they score very poorly on the MCAT or the BAR…then what? Get rid of that too?…. Why is the SAT racist?… Name the racist questions….Is it illegal to sell SAT material to minorities?… K-12 Guidance counselors or teachers aren’t allowed to talk about the SAT to minorities?…Why is one test more racist then any other test?…. What about that geometry test I took in 1996, in 9th grade, for Chp. 5, was that test racist too?… If the SAT was so racist, why are Asians scoring the highest?… I guess coming from Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot is a wonderland….. What? Me study like them all the time? Like a dumb stupid nerd? Yeah, ok…I have an idea… let’s get rid of all tutoring from K-12…. anything that has to do with academics, after school, lets get rid of it… no more reading and if someone does, call them the most gay derogatory term or just beat the hell out of them, like they use to do in my high school in the 90’s in Miami… let’s solely focus on getting laid and spending 200 billion hours playing baseball, basketball, football, video games, going online, doing delinquent stuff… let’s all not study, raise hell in class, and pray to the lord tonight because, somehow, some way, everything will be alright and that all of us will be doctors……. I am Hispanic… we score very low on all subjects from K-12, along with the blacks… and as you can see, in the SAT as well… In my sub-culture… their was never any studying… you could’ve had the best teachers in the world, it wouldn’t have mattered…. parents weren’t on top of us about our grades…. it was the same world I mentioned above… my sub-culture didn’t focus on studies, so that’s what you get (but I am Cuban, so if we played baseball, I would kick all of your asses, haha)… as you can see from my writing, I’m as dumb as they come….. To those that do well on the SAT, no matter who you are, you deserve to be in…. To Mr. Coyne, thank you so much for what you do and happy late birthday…. Ciao…

  14. I wonder how long Asians and Hispanics will keep voting Democrat once they realise that one main aim of the Democrat party is to promote the interests of Black people.

  15. If I was a college that wanted to improve my average reported SAT scores that I send to ranking organizations (e.g., US News) I would make them voluntary. Those who would have otherwise applied, but had low SAT scores, would decline to submit them thus raising the average.

    However, to be fair I don’t think this is what motivates most of these colleges. For example, the University of Chicago had, if not the top average SAT scores in the country close to it, before it instituted the policy of not requiring the submission of SAT scores.

  16. Has anyone considered rational explanations (other than bias) for why parental education has a strong influence on test scores, say supportive environment and, dare one say it, good genes? I’m long since retired so I can pose this question without fear of having my career destroyed.

  17. Getting rid of standardized tests is horrible. They keep dumbing down education to the point that high school has become a participation sport. It’s been leaking into college for the past decade. It’s all about money. And not just the individuals who pay but those who get free rides off government tax dollars. It’s disgusting. What happened to hard work?

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