SAT Fraud Connected to Diversity Programs?

The scandal involving falsified SAT scores at top-ranked Claremont McKenna College has been headline news this week in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and other major media outlets. Thus far, reports have framed the fraud as a likely effort to boost the school’s rankings in U.S. News and World Report. However, newly released data about about the altered statistics suggest that the fraudulant score reports may have been part of an effort to compensate for lower test scores among students who were admitted as part of two programs designed to enhance racial and economic diversity:

in 2004, Claremont began admitting its first of four classes from the Posse Foundation, a full-scholarship program for inner-city students from Los Angeles. Ten students were admitted per year into a class of about 250 students, for a total of 40 students over four years. The students were personally interviewed by Vos and Gann, according to a press release from the college’s website in late December 2003, but in his 2005 report to U.S. News–the first year Posse students were admitted–Vos began falsifying SAT scores. The actual and manipulated mean SAT verbal and math scores are below; the median are accessible here.

In 2007, Claremont began admitting students from QuestBridge, another scholarship program for students from poor and largely minority backgrounds. Posse has partnered with such schools as Bowdoin, Brandeis, Bryn Mawr, Colby, DePauw, Grinnell, Middlebury, and Vanderbilt; QuestBridge has partnered with some thirty-one other colleges, including most of the Ivy League, M.I.T., Pomona, Oberlin, Stanford, the University of Chicago, and Williams.

Although we do not know the statistics for the Posse students, we do have reason to doubt their academic qualifications as a group. At least one student flunked out and several took leaves of absence for academic reasons. A 1998 evaluation of the Posse program at Vanderbilt University found that athletes entered with an average of 1042 SAT score and maintained an average GPA of 3.13, while Posse students came in with a 900 average SAT and finished with a 2.93 average GPA. Due to the low grades of Posse students in their engineering programs, Rice and Lehigh canceled their involvement with Posse, according to the L.A. Times in 2004.

At Claremont, the class of 2011, admitted in 2007, is the only class admitted in its history to have members of both QuestBridge and Posse in its ranks. It was also the class that saw its mean math scores inflated the most – by 28 points.

For more details, check out CMC alumnus Charles C. Johnson’s full story at

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More