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Home / Carpe Diem / Heather Mac Donald on how the new ‘adversity score’ = a backdoor to racial quotas in college admissions – Publications – AEI

Heather Mac Donald on how the new ‘adversity score’ = a backdoor to racial quotas in college admissions – Publications – AEI

Summary:
AEI Heather Mac Donald on how the new ‘adversity score’ = a backdoor to racial quotas in college admissions From Heather Mac Donald’s City Journal article “Grievance Proxies” (italics added): For decades, the College Board defended the SAT, which it writes and administers, against charges that the test gives an unfair advantage to middle-class white students. No longer. Under relentless pressure from the racial-preferences lobby, the Board has now caved to the anti-meritocratic ideology of ‘diversity.’ The Board will calculate for each SAT-taker an ‘adversity score’ that purports to measure a student’s socioeconomic position, according to the Wall Street Journal. Colleges can use this adversity index to boost the admissions ranking of allegedly disadvantaged students who otherwise would

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Heather Mac Donald on how the new ‘adversity score’ = a backdoor to racial quotas in college admissions

Heather Mac Donald on how the new ‘adversity score’ = a backdoor to racial quotas in college admissions - Publications – AEI

From Heather Mac Donald’s City Journal article “Grievance Proxies” (italics added):

For decades, the College Board defended the SAT, which it writes and administers, against charges that the test gives an unfair advantage to middle-class white students. No longer. Under relentless pressure from the racial-preferences lobby, the Board has now caved to the anti-meritocratic ideology of ‘diversity.’ The Board will calculate for each SAT-taker an ‘adversity score’ that purports to measure a student’s socioeconomic position, according to the Wall Street Journal. Colleges can use this adversity index to boost the admissions ranking of allegedly disadvantaged students who otherwise would score too poorly to be considered for admission.

Advocates of this change claim that it is not about race. That is a fiction. In fact, the SAT adversity score is simply the latest response on the part of mainstream institutions to the seeming intractability of the racial academic-achievement gap. If that gap did not exist, the entire discourse about “diversity” would evaporate overnight. The average white score on the 2018 SAT (1,123 out of a possible 1,600) was 177 points higher than the average black score (946), approximately a standard deviation of difference. This gap has persisted for decades (see chart above). It is not explained by socioeconomic disparities

…….

Those who rail against “white privilege” as a determinant of academic achievement have a nagging problem: Asians. Asian students outscore white students on the SAT by 100 points; they outscore blacks by 277 points (see chart). It is not Asian families’ economic capital that vaults them to the top of the academic totem pole; it is their emphasis on scholarly effort and self-discipline. Every year in New York City, Asian elementary school students vastly outperform every other racial and ethnic group on the admissions test for the city’s competitive public high schools, even though a disproportionate number of them come from poor immigrant families.

……

Colleges pay lip service to socioeconomic diversity, but that concept is inevitably a surrogate for race. Colleges have repeatedly rejected admissions schemes that purport to substitute socioeconomic preferences for racial preferences, on the ground that those socioeconomic schemes do not yield enough “underrepresented minorities.”

At present, thanks to racial preferences, many black high school students know that they don’t need to put in as much scholarly effort as non-“students of color” to be admitted to highly competitive colleges. The adversity score will only reinforce that knowledge. That is not a reality conducive to life achievement. The only guaranteed beneficiaries of this new scheme are the campus diversity bureaucrats. They have been given another assurance of academically handicapped students who can be leveraged into grievance, more diversity sinecures, and lowered academic standards.

Heather Mac Donald on how the new ‘adversity score’ = a backdoor to racial quotas in college admissions
Mark Perry

Mark Perry
Mark J. Perry is concurrently a scholar at AEI and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus. He is best known as the creator and editor of the popular economics blog Carpe Diem. At AEI, Perry writes about economic and financial issues for American.com and the AEIdeas blog.

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