U. of California Faculty Endorses SAT/ACT Testing
Print Friendly and PDF

Not all zeitgeist trends are overwhelmingly powerful. From the Los Angeles Times:

UC should keep SAT and ACT as admission requirements, faculty report says
SAT to be revamped

FEB. 3, 2020 6:04 PM

University of California faculty leaders are recommending the continued use of the controversial SAT and ACT as an admission requirement for now, citing UC data showing the standardized tests may actually help boost enrollment of disadvantaged students, according to a highly anticipated report released Monday.

The preliminary recommendation by the Academic Senate’s executive committee comes amid enormous legal and political pressure to drop the tests, which opponents say fail to adequately predict college success and unfairly discriminate on the basis of race, income and parent education levels.

… Any rejection of the faculty’s final recommendations by the board, which is set to vote on the issue in May, would overturn traditional practice and spark a political firestorm.

The new yearlong faculty review found evidence that most UC admissions officers offset much of the bias against disadvantaged students by evaluating standardized test scores in the context of their high schools and neighborhoods. Applicants’ tests scores, for instance, are compared both to those statewide and at the local high school, enabling UC officers to identify standouts among students with similar socioeconomic backgrounds.

In other words, U of C engages in intentional discrimination that violates the California constitution, as amended by Proposition 209 in 1996:

That process results in higher admission rates for less-advantaged applicants for any given test score, a finding that faculty review committee members said surprised them. Among students with SAT scores of 1000 — the 40th percentile — half of Latinos were admitted compared to less than one-third of whites. The review found similar advantages for students who are low-income and the first in their families to attend college. …

The report also found that test scores are a better predictor of college performance than high school grades but that UC weighs grades more heavily in admission decisions.

From the report:

The SAT explains 21% of the variance in freshman grades at U of California campuses, compared to only 16% for high school grade point averages. The SAT (or, presumably, ACT) are better than GPA at distinguishing promising applicants among most groups other than whites and the affluent, where the GPA is better.

Combining high school GPA and SAT scores increases the variance “explained” to 26%.

For instance, among students admitted with SAT scores below 700, 35% left UC after only one year and only 50% graduated within seven years; among students admitted with SAT scores above 1400, only 3% were not retained past freshman year and 92% graduated within seven years.

Predictive validity: Standardized test scores provide information beyond what is available in HSGPA. Contrary to the narrative that is commonly expressed, the information available in test scores is not redundant with the information available in grades. Even among students with similar high school academic records, we still see a substantial relationship between test scores and college retention, grades, and graduation. For any given high school GPA, a student admitted with a low SAT score is between two and five times more likely to drop out after one year, and up to three times less likely to complete their degree compared to a student with a high score

It looks like the highest GPA at graduation is earned by whites with SAT scores over 1450 and GPAs of 4.25 or higher. They appear to do slightly better than Asians with similar credentials. Or maybe they take easier classes?

[Comment at Unz.com]

Print Friendly and PDF