Phi Beta Cons

Funniest Headline Ever

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Elite Colleges’ Scramble to Enroll High SAT Scorers May Undermine Diversity

No kidding.
In fact, there’s no “may” about it — different ethnic groups score differently on the SAT, on average. As anyone remotely familiar with statistics knows, even small differences become pronounced at the extremes. Elite colleges seek out the extreme high-scorers, so any racial gaps in American society will be particularly obvious there.
Headline aside, the trend the article talks about is interesting. It turns out that colleges are not only “scrambling” to enroll high-scorers, but that they’re apparently putting more emphasis on scores than they have in the past. This raises the question, though: What did they emphasize before, and just how much do they emphasize the SAT now? If we’re moving away from legacies and subjective measures of performance, this is probably a good thing for colleges overall.
We should bear in mind, however, that the SAT I is not a particularly good measure of performance, regardless of how bad the racial argument against it is.
UPDATE: I should have thought of this before, but one of the points the piece makes is that a demand for higher SAT scores “prices” elite schools out of letting in minorities. The thing, though, is that the whole point of a diversity crusade is to ignore, or at least race-norm, minorities’ scores. As there’s no indication that minority enrollment has declined, there’s actually no reason to assume a connection between (A) diversity and (B) the scores demanded of whites and Asians. However, this could widen the on-campus gaps in scores.

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