Bribing administrators and having people take tests for your kids is one way to cheat in college admissions. Another way is to have the College Board cheat for you.
I should have written about this days ago, I know. I haven’t been feeling well, though, and this story literally makes me sick.
The SATs are adding a so-called “adversity score” that will artificially raise the test scores of some students beyond what they actually deserve on a level playing field competition. This is, we are told, “to help colleges and universities account for the various educational and socioeconomic factors that may negatively impact students’ scores.”
Let me translate: this is a cynical and dishonest device to give cover to colleges and universities as they try to base their admissions on race and ethnicity while avoiding legal prohibitions on discrimination based on race and ethnicity. That is all it is, and exactly what it is.
Spins the Times:
“Colleges have long been concerned with scoring patterns on the SAT that seem unfavorable to certain racial and economic groups.Higher scores have been found to correlate with the student coming from a higher-income family, having better-educated parents, and being white or Asian rather than black or Hispanic.”
Allow me to clarify again. Correlation is not causation. Nobody has been able to prove or show why certain groups perform consistently poorly on the tests, especially because the group disparities are consistent across socio-economic categories. It might be that certain cultures don’t keep books around the house, or don’t have stable families, or don’t promote learning rather than toxic behaviors. Whatever it is, slapping a bonus score on the SATs that rewards students and families for such things is as offensive as it is unjust.
The adversity score would be a number between 1 and 100, with an average student receiving a 50. It would be calculated using 15 factors, like the relative quality of the student’s high school and the crime rate and poverty level of the student’s home neighborhood. The score would not be reported to the student, only to college officials.
Once, I would say that fair and intelligent college officials would then remove the scores, since they will be 99 and 44/100s % bullshit. No longer. How is this phony bonus system different in intent and results than Harvard College slapping negative factors on Asian applicants, like noting that they are “cold” and “stand-offish”? It isn’t.
“Admissions officers have struggled for years to find ways of gauging the hardships that students have had to overcome, and to predict which students will do well in college despite lower test scores.”
But since they have no data that proves that lower test scores are really based on “adversity,” the College Board decided to fake it, and just artificially inflate scores using numbers, guesswork and traditional liberal cant as a substitute for fairness and integrity.
“We’ve got to admit the truth, that wealth inequality has progressed to such a degree that it isn’t fair to look at test scores alone,” [David Coleman, chief executive of the College Board] recently told The Associated Press. “You must look at them in context of the adversity students face.”
And then make up numbers to falsely suggest precision and certainty when the exercise is pure bootstrapping and supposition.
Naturally, the usual suspects—those who believe that success should be parceled out by quotas rather than earned—approve of this dishonesty. Here’s the Talking Point Memo, for example, rationalizing the cheat:
“Colleges have long tried to bring diversity of all sorts to their student bodies, and they have raised concerns over whether the SAT, once seen as a test of merit, can be gamed by families who hire expensive consultants and tutors. Higher scores have been found to correlate with students from wealthier families and those with better-educated parents.”
What disingenuous garbage. (The title tells us how logical the essay is going to be: “SAT Changes Show Just How Rigged It Was To Begin With,” which is practically Orwellian. The fact that the SAT is now rigging its test proves that it must have been rigged before. I wonder what the author, Carolyn Heinrich, scored on her SATs…)
1) Colleges can try to have all the diversity they want, as long as qualified applicants aren’t penalized for what color they are and who their parents are. That the way a student was raised resulted in the student being more skilled than a student raised in an environment not conducive to educational success should not be a handicap or a bar to advancement. 2) The colleges usually ask whether a student has taken a prep course (they do not cost “thousands,’ as Carolyn writes) and factor that into the evaluation of the test scores. Will the SAT’s also add points for white, middle class students, like me, who never took a prep course? Prep courses are a straw man. 3) Again, this is correlation as a substitute for causation. Higher scores have been found to correlate with being white or Asian too. Does Talking Points Memo really want to go there?
The “adversity scores” are a dishonest and illegal effort to penalize whites and Asian-Americans based on race, and all the spin and double talk about “wealth disparity” can’t hide it. I assume the lawsuits will fly thick and fast, and if there is any common sense or justice at all, the College Boards will be declared untrustworthy, incompetent, and useless. And, one hopes, bankrupt.
They have insulted the nation’s intelligence by attempting this transparent effort at rigging admissions.