From Inside Higher Ed this morning: US College rejigs admissions to get more white men accepted. That might not have been their explicit goal, but it’s clearly their implicit goal; they’re accepting applicants who did badly at school but did better than average on the SAT. That sounds fairly reasonable, almost as generous as my undergraduate institution, which purposely let its admissions minimum trail that of other institutions (yay Carleton!) because, hey, high school represents a particular form of learning, and not one all of us excel under (yours truly very much included). But that’s not quite what’s going on at Towson University. By opting to privilege the SAT, they are knowingly privileging a test that has a well-known gender bias.
This is a classic case of test score misuse,â€ said Robert Schaeffer, public education director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing. â€œTowson University is relying on the well-known gender bias of the SAT, which underpredicts college performance for females and overpredicts for males, to recruit young men who have failed to compile strong high school records. Towsonâ€™s message to teenagers is wrong-headed: Itâ€™s OK to slack off in the classroom, so long as you do well on a four-hour test.â€
And not only that:
from the Fair Test Fact sheet:
African American, Latino, new Asian immigrant and many other minority test-takers score significantly lower than white students. Rigid use of SATs for admissions will produce freshman classes with very few minorities and with no appreciable gain in academic quality. The SAT is very effective at eliminating academically promising minority (and low-income) students who apply with strong academic records but relatively low SAT scores. Colleges that have made the SAT I optional report that their applicant pools are more diverse and that there has been no drop off in academic quality.
So why are they doing this? Why are they purposely skewing admissions to get more underperforming white men?
Brian Stelter, a senior who is editor in chief of The Towerlight, the student newspaper, said that he earned a 3.4 GPA in high school and so wouldnâ€™t have needed the new program, but he also said he wasnâ€™t bothered by it. He said that the gender gap is a big issue for students on the campus, so heâ€™s in favor of efforts to do something about it. â€œIf you ask girls on this campus what they think, their top question is: Where are the men?â€ he said.
So that the girls will have a marriage pool of underperforming white men. Good to know that universities have their priorities straight (no pun intended, ahem).