SAT is biased; time for UC to drop its use
I read with great pleasure the Dec 18 article that discussed the UC proposal to drop the SAT. Its about time UC officials addressed the significant and persistent test score gaps between whites and most minorities, and examined the fairness and validity of the SAT.
The passing of Proposition 209 in 1996 ended affirmative action in California, and since then minority enrollments in the UC system have plummeted. In 1998 the number of blacks in UC-Berkeley’s freshman class dropped 60% from the prior year, and Hispanic admissions were down 40%. At UCL, UC-San Diego, Davis, Irvine, and Santa Barbara, black admissions had dropped between 14 and 46 percent, and Hispanic admissions had declined anywhere from 9 to 33 percent. And yet UC Regent Ward Connerly (who led the fight in UC to drop affirmative action) maintains the system "is not broken"?
A simple and effective solution to the problem of declining minority admissions would be to drop the SAT as an admission requirement. The fact of the matter is that the SAT does an extremely poor job predicting grades for all students, whatever their race.
Crouse and Trushem, authors of The Case Against the SAT, argue that the improvement in prediction from adding scores to high school grades is so small it is meaningless.
If first year grades are used as a measure of success, their figures show that using both class rank and SAT scores means only 1 – 3 percent fewer errors in prediction than using class rank alone.
If graduation from university is the standard, adding the test scores makes a difference of less than one percent.
So the SAT adds nothing to admissions decisions. But what does it take away? Crouse and Trushiem write:
"The SAT affects colleges’ admissions outcomes much like the random rejection of additional blacks. It therefore acts with respect to actual admissions outcomes very much like a supplement to high school rank with zero validity that increases rejections of blacks. This is exactly the meaning of the test having an adverse impact on blacks when used to supplement high school rank."(page 108)
Bias against Hispanic students takes a somewhat different form. Not only do Hispanic students tend to score lower, but an August 1993 article in the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences reported that the scores also underpredict grades for Hispanic students.
Yes, the admissions system is broken, but eliminating the SAT would go a long way toward fixing it.
Fat Lady won’t sing after Bush’s inauguration
Nationwide popular vote to dictate how the electoral college will go is time-honored, legally-established practice. Vote by the college, grudgingly tolerated, has been viewed as a mere meaningless out-dated formality to rubber stamp and redundantly certify the popular vote of the people.
Al Gore indisputably won the national popular vote. Consequently, there should surely have been among those sent to cast votes for George W. Bush in the electoral college at least a handful who did not set party loyalty above a higher duty to serve honestly the whole nation, and would therefore break ranks to distinguish themselves nobly in the nation’s history as they accorded their winning votes to Al Gore, thereby supplanting the choice of a befuddled court with the people’s choice and reaffirming modern presidential election by popular vote.
For shame George W. Bush and your electors! And for shame, Americans, if you accept this gunslingers’ thieving injustice!
But remember, the fat lady can’t sing until after the inauguration. May a bannered calvacade of millions of the fair-minded - lawyers, doctors, students, families, war veterans, veterans of the Civil Rights struggle, etc. - descend on Washington for inauguration day and prevent the taking of the presidential oath by anyone but Al Gore.
Not for a decade has there been a more worthy national reason for overwhelming numbers to best misguided authority. If need be, we can do without a president for a few days while we put our national house in fair order to match the voted will of the people.
Judith Segard Hunt
Don’t condemn before judicial verdict
Ms. Diana Russell, professor at Mills College, has anointed herself judge, jury, and prosecutor in the case against Berkeley landlord, L.B. Reddy and his family.
Proclaiming herself as a spokesperson for Women Against Sexual Slavery, while seeking a City Council resolution to boycott Pasand Madras Cuisine, she in effect was leading the charge in trampling a fundamental American principle, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law by a jury of peers.
To underscore this point, on November 24, 1963, eighty million of us saw Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald live on television. But, until Ruby was tried, convicted, and sentenced in a court of law, he was referred to in the media as the alleged killer of Oswald. Mr. Reddy should be accorded the same constitutional protection as Jack Ruby.
To their credit and our pride, Council members Polly Armstrong and Miriam Hawley dissented in the resolution to boycott Pasand's restaurant. Resisting the pressures of an emotionally charged atmosphere, they voted instead to defend a fundamental American principle.