In order to create more diversity within their own student bodies, colleges and universities are tweaking admissions and curriculum requirements.
The changes include the lowering standards, as implications show that students from certain backgrounds cannot achieve high, or as high test scores as their peers.
Criticism arose from many students and parents, given that these new standards create unfair advantages to students who don’t fit the “diversity” bill.
The CEO of College Board has decided to use a system called “Landscape.”
Landscape does not assign a “diversity score,” but has a similar goal, considering socioeconomic factors in standardized test scores, like the SAT and ACT.
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The factors considered are housing stability, median family income, household structure, college attendance, education levels, and crime.
Harvard found itself in the middle of a major scandal this year, after being accused of bias against Asian Americans via the university’s affirmative action admissions program. A federal judge ultimately sided with Harvard and suggested that a mandatory bias training for the school’s admissions officers should be implemented to give every student a fair chance.
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Edward Blum, President of plaintiff group Students for Fair Admissions, says he will be taking this case to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, as he believes Harvard does indeed have a history of discriminating against Asian American applicants in its effort to ensure the admission of applicants of other minority ethnicities.
This year Stanford pushed a separate physics course to ensure retention of “underrepresented” physics majors. The course is a modified version of a standard required course, with additional class time and “learning assistants” hired to offer extra help with coursework.
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The school stated that “students from underrepresented groups often don’t have the same level of preparation from high school as their majority peers,” and that “the difference in preparation is large enough that it may lead students to drop out of the major but small enough that the kind of support offered by this course can be enough to keep them in.”
To increase diversity, Colorado College has decided to make it “optional” to submit SAT/ACT scores. “Standardized test scores do not always reflect the academic potential of students from disadvantaged backgrounds,” said one professor.
The school suggests these tests limit minorities, and therefore that removing this requirement makes it easier to reach those with a disadvantaged background. By removing the SAT/ACT requirement, the school claims that their numbers of freshmen have doubled. These numbers do not say, however, the academic success the institution is experiencing with this change.