William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Race Norming At Universities And The Doctrine Of Unintended Consequences

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The Los Angeles Times had a story about how hard East Asians have to work to be admitted to college. Problem is these kids are too smart, an attitude which is not in the best spirit of Diversity.

The most interesting (to us) part comes in discussing a study:

Lee’s next slide shows three columns of numbers from a Princeton University study that tried to measure how race and ethnicity affect admissions by using SAT scores as a benchmark. It uses the term “bonus” to describe how many extra SAT points an applicant’s race is worth…

African Americans received a “bonus” of 230 points, Lee says…

“Hispanics received a bonus of 185 points.”…

Asian Americans, Lee says, are penalized by 50 points — in other words, they had to do that much better to win admission.

No word about whites, but presumably their scores are remain unadjusted, a natural assumption given that more East Asians score higher on IQ tests than whites, and that more Hispanics and blacks score lower. Plus, one group has to be the comparator or “base”.

IQ and SAT are related, of course, and it’s of some interest to understand how knowledge of a person’s SAT score gives information about his IQ.

There are several sites that give “maps” of SAT to IQ, but since I’m not especially familiar with the literature on this topic, I’m taking—and you should take—their guidance with a grain or two of salt.

One site (which uses a table found in several places) says an SAT change of 50 points corresponds to an IQ change of about 4 points, whereas a change of 185 points corresponds to an IQ change of some 13 points, and a change of 230 points corresponds to about 18 points.

These conversions seem in the ballpark given Rushton and Jensen, who, using data from 2000, report (Table 3) blacks have an average IQ of 85, whites 102, and East Asians 106.

In other words, the study quoted in the LA Times looks to have it about right.

Consequence? Accepting Rushton and Jensen’s figures and the IQ-SAT map, the average East Asian kid has an IQ 21 points higher than the average black. That’s in the street. In the incoming Elite U. freshman class, Asians have to be smarter than average, thus they’ll have IQs not 21 but about 25 points higher than Blacks. The exact numbers are open to question, but not the direction of effect: Asians have to score higher.

Race norming thus exacerbates any real-life intellectual discrepancy, putting things even more in favor of the East Asian college student. Meaning, any acrimony caused by differences in intellectual achievement will be magnified by these do-gooding (yes, do-gooding) policies.

Isn’t that curious?

This is also premised on more-or-less constant percentages of each racial group in elite colleges, i.e. quotas. On the other hand, if a given university wants to up its percentage of blacks and Hispanics, the discrepancies will become wider, and whites and East Asians will do even better in comparison. And, if a college education has any meaning, these wider discrepancies will carry forward past college to, say, hiring decisions. This in turn puts pressure on society, which wants to maintain population-percentage-based quotas, to indulge in more affirmative action do-gooding.

Mitigating these effects is the expansion in the percentage of kids going to college, which has the effect of lowering the average IQ of incoming students. Why? In the days of yore when college was a special treat for a certain layer of society, the average IQ was high. Contrast this to our rapidly approaching Egalitarian Future where every single kid will or must enroll. The average IQ must necessarily shrink.

Colleges have been tackling the diminishing intellectual capital problem by creating easier courses and novel majors. These include “African American Studies”, “Science in Society”, “Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies” and so forth.

For instance, Barnard College “is considering slashing its foreign-language and science requirements while requiring students to complete a new requirement on ‘diversity'”. Why? “During hearings last fall, several students had complained that taking mid-level classes to fulfill the language requirement was ‘too hard.'” Poor things. And don’t forget a “diversity” requirement brings thrill of allowing “students to escape an exclusively ‘Western’ worldview.”

If you find yourself short of breath upon reading this, recall that any member of any race can have any possible IQ, and that we have done much hand waving.

17 Comments

  1. I imagine the only place you’ll see much criticism of the Western tradition is in the West. I would be shocked if Japanese universities hesitated to teach calculus because Newton et al were European. I also imagine the last place you’d find Afrocentric curriculum would be African universities.

  2. I’d hazard a surmise that a significant determiner of IQ is how hard and how long a student has worked at academic tasks.

  3. My “friends” complained that my studies interfered with my drinking. I complained that drinking interfered with my studies. Eventually we compromised to where the complaints were somewhat equal. (I still refused to take part in St. Patrick’s Day debauchery because it invariably occurred during Finals.

    The only outlier to all this was the time I was working on a Math problem that my professor thought “unsolvable” (too difficult). After a week of cogitating (trying to solve it brute force) and (maybe) the day before the assignment was due, I sat down in a kinda diner where they served 3.2 beer and ordered a pitcher of beer. I started to approach the problem in a general way, and by the end of two pitchers, managed to solve the stated cases. (Couldn’t come up with the general solution. It probably got me a “B” for the course.)

    Still resented “having” to go out “New Year’s Eve”. Hated that.

  4. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

    March 9, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Mitigating these effects is the expansion in the percentage of kids going to college, which has the effect of lowering the average IQ of incoming students. Why? In the days of yore when college was a special treat for a certain layer of society, the average IQ was high. Contrast this to our rapidly approaching Egalitarian Future where every single kid will or must enroll. The average IQ must necessarily shrink.

    The same effect occurs for the same reason on college and university Faculty as a whole.

  5. I’d hazard a surmise that a significant determiner of IQ is how hard and how long a student has worked at academic tasks.

    Not sure how significant this is, really. Often very smart people are able to work quickly and figure stuff out without spending hours and hours. In my experience, the students that work the hardest tend to be of middling intellect (which is why they work so hard in the first place).

  6. Alan Watt makes a great point. The faculty then becomes part of the intelligentsia that influences students on social issues thus completing the cycle of dumbing with each successive cycle becoming slightly dumber than the previous. We’ll end up with “Idiocracy”.

  7. The beneficiaries have proof (their point bonus) they’ve been disadvantaged by life and by America. Not only do they internalize that they can’t compete but they are told that hard work will be fruitless. A chip on the shoulder and righteous vengeance is justified, and the politics of race and class follow.

  8. Dr. Briggs,
    Slightly off topic but I thought you would enjoy this because you were in the Air Force..
    http://freebeacon.com/national-security/air-force-announces-diversity-and-inclusion-initiatives-to-recruit-more-women/

  9. Are the things being measured – race & intelligence – actually the thing’s being measures, or, are they correlates…proxies for something else?

    Asian culture is well known for pushing students to excel academically (e.g. recall/review the controversial “Tiger Mom” Amy Chua rigor: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/confessions-of-a-tiger-mom-why-chinese-parenting-is-best/article4247325/ where, as a not uncommon example, kids are pushed relentlessly to excel [and some studies indicate the resulting academic prowess isn’t necessarily matched by creativity needed to excel on the job).

    Other sub-groups in US Society put values on different things, with some putting notorious emphasis on perpetual welfare support programs.

    Kids emulate their parents & their immediate culture.

    Where the culture puts value on striving, hard, for success the kids tend to be successful.
    Where the culture values passivity & dependence, individual success is less.

    The “elephant in the study” is the avoidance of the sub-group cultural values—values that underlie individual performance values—for race-based proxies as if those proxies actually measure the things asserted.

    “Multiculturalism” & “Unintended Consequences” comes to mind….

  10. As an ex-teacher, here’s the UK perspective.
    The Asian children are generally encouraged to work had at school by their parents.
    The Black ones generally weren’t & the Whites were a mixture of the two!

  11. Recall President Bush’s remark:

    “…the soft bigotry of low expectations…”

    and consider where those low expectations are enforced….

  12. The other risk is that if this becomes widely known to hiring firms, Asians will be preferred over Whites and Whites over Blacks, automatically, if all else seems approximately equal with the candidate’s qualifications. Let’s say numerous candidates are competing for lucrative employment. Who is most likely to get the position now?

  13. Noblesse Oblige

    March 10, 2015 at 2:15 am

    Have you noticed how Times science writer was excoriated for his book which dispassionately and tentatively put forth the idea that races are real and that there are differences which are the proper subject of research, without danger of racism. http://www.amazon.com/Troublesome-Inheritance-Genes-Human-History/dp/1594204462/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425967793&sr=8-1&keywords=nicholas+wade Well I got news for you folks. The American Anthropology Association Statement on Race tells us
    http://www.aaanet.org/stmts/racepp.htm
    “Racial beliefs constitute myths about the diversity in the human species and about the abilities and behavior of people homogenized into “racial” categories. The myths fused behavior and physical features together in the public mind, impeding our comprehension of both biological variations and cultural behavior, implying that both are genetically determined. Racial myths bear no relationship to the reality of human capabilities or behavior. Scientists today find that reliance on such folk beliefs about human differences in research has led to countless errors. ”
    So get over it. It’s all a fiction.

  14. There is likely a thing called ‘race’ or at least, genetically distinct human populations, as certain groups are more prone to certain types of diseases, etc. The American Anthropology Association is most likely trying to be politically correct. On the other hand, in the grand scheme of things, racial differences are extremely minor in human populations, and when it comes to measurements of ‘success’, cultural factors vastly outweigh all other considerations.

  15. Racial myths bear no relationship to the reality of human capabilities or behavior

    Hmm.
    What goes Bolt, Bolt, Gatlin, Greene, Bailey, Christie, Lewis, Lewis, Wells?

  16. do you really have to declare your ethnicity when applying to University (or college or whatever)?

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