The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce recently recently conducted a survey on how an SAT-only admissions policy — a process in which students would be admitted to colleges based solely on their SAT scores — would impact the demographics of these very colleges. Well, the results are in: if our nation’s elite colleges admitted applicants based only on their SAT scores, their student bodies would include more white men from privileged backgrounds. Of course, the fact that the privileged would be advantaged in a system in which a test is the lone factor in the decision-making process should come as no surprise. After all, the privileged can afford first-rate tutoring and, yes, the SAT is an absolutely coachable exam no matter what its maker, The College Board, may suggest to the contrary. The fact that these privileged young people would also happen to be white should also come as no surprise — since white people comprise the majority of privileged households in America. Even nowadays in 2019.
Georgetown Shouldn’t Have Published This Lame Study on a Test-Only Admissions Policy
So what exactly was the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce’s point in publishing this lame study? To fan the flames of racism? To ignite tension between the haves and the have nots? To assert, with data, that men would do better than women in the admissions process if the process were based only on a test? Who knows. Who cares. Maybe the study’s authors, like the authors of The Bell Curve, just weren’t thinking all that clearly in conducting and ultimately publishing their research. It seems to us that they weren’t thinking at all. Now we’re not against publishing research just because the results may be controversial. Steven Levitt, the world renowned University of Chicago economist and co-author of Freakonomics, once co-authored a study that found the legalization of abortion in the 1970’s led to a crime drop in the 1990’s…because the unwanted children who would have grown up to become criminals were never born. But we find it’s important to understand factors that can lead to crime reduction in America, even if the results aren’t across-the-board popular. However, it’s not, in our view, important to understand why an SAT-only admissions policy would favor privileged white males.
Shame on Georgetown University
Shame on the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce for publishing this study. Shame on Georgetown University, an institution that has in recent years tried to atone for its sins in contributing to the slave trade, for not squashing this research before its publication. And shame on The New American for running the misleading headline, “With Merit-based College Admissions, ‘53% of Incoming Students Would be Replaced’.” An SAT-only admissions policy is not exactly the equivalent of merit-based college admissions — not when the privileged can pay for expert tutoring to significantly boost their scores. And the assertion of as much only weakens the fabric of our nation by serving to ignite racial and socio-economic tension.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts by posting a Comment below. Why do we have a feeling a bunch of folks who disagree with us are about to write in with some very strong language?
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