Low SAT scores were the determining factor in rejecting many students, althoughthey may not be the fairest way to eliminate candidatesEven if the SAT generally predicts college outcomes pretty well, if we dig a littledeeper, an intriguing pattern emerges:oThe SAT accurately predicts the college outcomes for only white students anddoesn’t do as well in predicting outcomes such as college GPA for black andHispanic studentsResearchers question how meritocratic the SAT actually isoSAT scores are consistently correlated with race, ethnicity, and classRVCHAPTER 13: EDUCATION
oAfrican Americans and Hispanics systematically score lower than whitestudents, and higher-class students (who, among other thing, can pay for SATprep classes, which do increase scores) systematically score higher thanlower-class studentsThe SAT is biased toward certain groups of studentsMuch of the predictive power of the SAT stems from the correlation between the testand family background oWhen studies control for family background (meaning they calculate howmuch the SAT would predict if all students came from the same background),the SAT’s predictive power diminishesThe SAT might appear to predict college grades, but part of the effect derivesfrom the fact that students from families with higher incomes generally getbetter grades andhigher SAT scoresJesse Rothsteinpoints out that college admissions officers would choose the best-prepared class by explicitly admitting higher-class students from wealthier schools,rather than just using SATs as a proxy for these background characteristicsPart of the reason colleges us the SAT as an admissions practice may be that forcolleges that receive many applicants, using a numerical cutoff substantially lessenstheir workloadAffirmative Action: Myths and RealityAffirmative actionrefers to a set of policies that grant preferential treatment to anumber of particular subgroups within the population—typically women andhistorically disadvantaged minoritiesIt is intended to level the playing field for historically underrepresented groups, suchas certain racial minorities and women Often, affirmative action is thought to be the only form of preferential treatmentIn reality, there are preferences for things being a legacy, minority, or athlete, but alsofor exhibiting leadership experience, living in a certain place such as a ruralcommunity, or even having unusual life circumstancesoIn many cases, these preferences are equal to or higher than those given toAfrican American and Hispanic studentsAnother myth is that affirmative action takes away opportunities from deservingwhite students oResearch (Kane, 1998) has found that affirmative action is an issue only atselective institutions that represent only 1/5 of American colleges A third myth is that African American and Hispanic students who gain entrance to
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