The University of California recently dropped the SAT and ACT requirement from the applicant packet. It’s no surprise. Many schools across the country have already made this move.
The rationale comes down to one thing: Black and Latino students score lower than white and Asian students. The average SAT score in math for blacks is 428, for Latinos 457. Whites reach 534 and Asians 598 — a sobering difference.
When we look at the elite end of the scoring (750-800), 60 percent of the pool are Asians, 33 percent are whites, 5 percent Latinos, and 2 percent black (these are numbers from the 2017 study linked above).
There’s the problem, loud and clear. UC Berkeley and UCLA draw from the very top high school students. If test scores are part of the application, it is impossible to create a suitably diverse Class of 2025.
Kill the messenger — that’s the answer. It’s so simple, so easy. …
They don’t even have to make credible arguments. The mere fact of a gap is proof of the tests’ immorality. We have reached the point where the bare existence of disparate outcomes demonstrates an injustice at work. We don’t have to identify the specific source of the problem, just call it “systemic.” From there, we adjust or expel select elements of the system, such as the tests. …
Too many college leaders are wholly willing to go along. … They know that the woke brigades are a material threat, [while] the defenders of objectivity and color blindness a bunch of pussycats. …
The mismatch problem will get worse:
Students admitted to top schools thanks to lowered hurdles may be smart, diligent, and ambitious, but they’ve landed among students who are super smart, nonstop diligent, and hyper-ambitious.
The minority student who falls into the 87th percentile on the SAT math test has reason to have confidence in his abilities. He’s been a star through high school and been recruited aggressively by tier one schools. But now, as a pre-med freshman, he’s in Physics 101 with 62 kids who fell into the 96th percentile on the SAT math spectrum. (Note: The course is majority Asian, not majority white.) Suddenly, early in his college career, he’s at the bottom of the class, because the course is graded on a curve. He is mismatched with his peers, trying to compete well above his weight class. He knows that med school admissions are even tougher than undergrad admissions, and he knows his beginning grades are crucial, but he’s outgunned. Medical schools use those early courses as a filtering process, and he doesn’t make the cut. If that 87th-percentile student were in a less selective institution, he would survive the process. But at Stanford or Princeton, he struggles and sinks.
The outcome is predictable. It often leaves him embarrassed, bitter, angry, ready to march on the president’s office. With the removal of the test, more such cases of mismatch will arise, more allegations of systemic bigotry. …
Five years from now, let’s look again at the [University of California] system and assess the result. Tensions will likely be worse, as has so often happened with progressive reforms, and officials will scramble and fumble for another answer, a fresh tactic. And at the back of their minds will be a terrible dread that tomorrow’s demand may be: “You must resign!”
The next response will be to lower standards so as to reduce the mismatch problem. Then the smart kids just party at university because it is so easy, and the mismatched kids still resent them. Society of course becomes less skillful and less well trained. Ending filter tests like SAT will accelerate a trend that has been in play since the 1960s.
It starts in California, then spreads to the whole USA, then to the rest of the West. Too often we just laugh at a stupid Californian move, and don’t do enough to prevent it reaching our shores — “you can’t be serious, it will never happen here.” But it usually does.
hat-tip Stephen Neil