Gas station without pumps

2020 May 29

Misleading by UC’s President

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 10:46
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It is clear in Janet Napolitano’s latest e-mail to the faculty that she is first and foremost a politician and not an academic leader.  It is a good thing that she is retiring, though I have no faith that the recruitment process for her successor will find anyone better.  In her email, she says:

Changing the standardized testing requirement for undergraduates

Earlier this month, the UC Board of Regents unanimously approved my recommendation that UC suspend the standardized test requirement (ACT/SAT) for all California freshman applicants until fall 2024.

This is the culmination of an intense, two-year, research-based effort to evaluate the value and use of standardized tests in admissions, beginning in 2018 when I asked the Academic Senate to evaluate the issue. I am grateful for the dedicated and diligent efforts of the members of the Standardized Testing Task Force, and all involved in this effort.

What she doesn’t say is that her recommendation was the exact opposite  of what the task force recommended.  She completely ignored the “research-based effort” and went with her gut.  One would almost think she was a Republican.

The task force studied the data carefully and found that the way the SAT was being used for UC admissions resulted in it being a useful predictor of retention and college completion, that it was more predictive for under-represented minorities, and that it helped under-represented minorities gain admission.  Essentially all the arguments against using the SAT turned out not to be supported by the data. (Disclaimer: I’ve only read summaries of the report, not the report itself, so I may have gotten a distorted view of it.)

But Janet Napolitano ignored the task force report and went for a purely political gesture—one that makes the UC admissions process more opaque and more subject to manipulation by admissions officers to admit students based on their prejudices and whims.  If the elimination of the SAT is not rescinded by the next UC president, we are likely to see even more selection for white students than currently, as most of the alternatives to the SAT (like extracurricular activities and essay evaluation) are even more correlated with socio-economic status than the SAT is.

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