Universities The World Over Eliminating Testing

It isn’t fair, dear readers, that Yours Truly is taller, stronger, more virile, intelligent, handsome, humorous, magnificent and humbler than you. I was born that way.

These esteemed and desirable traits naturally give me advantages you won’t share. Such as in the ability to mouth off and pay the price.

Or to do well on tests.

Naturally, those who do not possess the same traits, or have them to the same glorious degree, will not tend to do as well on these tests.

And that isn’t fair. Not if we desire to correct and insure against “inequities”.

One way to guarantee the better do worse is the Kurt Vonnegut Harrison-Bergeron solution of weighing the better down—using literal weights. Fog their brains through medication. Put obstacles in their path. Dissuade and penalize them officially.

It’s not that these tactics are spurned, or even disliked. But they do require effort and aren’t cheap to implement.

A better solution is to eliminate tests, grades, and any sort of contest where the better can lord it over others. Define standards down or eliminate them entirely.

Example one: “UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ just announced her support of dropping the SAT and ACT as an admissions requirement. Says research has convinced her the tests ‘really contribute to the inequities’ of the system.”

This Carol lady is right. The SAT and ACT when used as admissions requirements do indeed tend to contribute in a rough but direct causal way to the ‘inequities’ of the system. Better people will on average achieve higher scores and more admissions. Measures taken of the system when standards are in place will not show the required Diversity and Equality.

One can, as Harvard does, penalize better people à la Vonnegut. This keeps East Asians matriculations down to manageable levels. But penalizing causes noticing, and noticing causes lawsuits and other publicity difficulties. Expensive, even if Harvard wins.

How much simpler to dump the tests altogether!

Example two: Meritocracy’s Waterloo?

Social-justice organizations last week threatened the University of California with a lawsuit unless it halts the use of standardized testing in admissions, claiming the tests discriminate against minorities…

Standardized tests have been a target of the left for decades, but in 2018 something changed. Dozens of colleges, most significantly the University of Chicago, have been dropping their standardized-test requirements. The number of students who take the SAT and ACT has been holding steady because enough schools still use them. Yet the UC is by far the largest university system in the country, and if it throws out testing the admissions landscape would fundamentally change.

Several UC regents are on record criticizing the test as unfair to the underprivileged. Governor Gavin Newsom, who appoints most regents, said last month that tests exacerbate “the inequities for underrepresented students.” A UC faculty task force will give recommendations early next year.

Anti-testing campaigners have been unable to explain how they would academically compare students across schools with different grading standards. They want to stamp out performance disparities on tests, but tackling the achievement gap requires improving education in poor areas. Standardized tests can seem frustrating and arbitrary, but so is the entire college admissions tournament, which weighs activities, personal characteristics, “character” and often race. Testing is at least objective.

SJWs, the irksome Newsom, the University of Chicago bosses, like that lady Carol, are right. Their argument is unassailable. Testing—contests in the any shape or form—causes disparities and inequities.

Tests (contests) are designed to produced disparities and inequities!

Ensuring, highlighting, demarcating, recording, broadcasting and using disparities and inequities is the very nature of contests. This is why we have them.

This is why there is no argument whatsoever that can be used against SJWs about keeping testing. They will win every one, eventually. They will get their way and eliminate standards of every kind. They will cause entropy, which is death.

If you want to beat death, then you must argue for disparities and inequities. You must argue against the false gods of Diversity and Equality. You must acknowledge and fight for the idea that inequality is better than equality, that disparities are not a great evil but a great good.

Now the title promised worldwide. This is a true statement. Western Europe was a given. But how about thought-to-be-based Singapore? NTU aims to admit 50% of its students using broader criteria.

“NTUS’s new holistic approach means that our professors are investing more time, resources and manpower to interview and assess individual students.”

This tendency to eliminate standards is already well with us, but the use heretofore has been to deny declining standards. Now standards themselves are declared immoral.

Statistical Bonus!

A bad argument against testing is that it does not correlate against eventual success, like class grades. This is dumb. Suppose we only allow the top 1% of test takers into a university. The class grades of these people will indeed show little correlation with their entrance test scores. Test instead everybody, entrants and the barred, and presto!, the correlation comes roaring back. I leave it as a homework problem to explain this.

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13 Thoughts

  1. Well I can only do “verbal statistics”, but I think I got this. The 1% is a normal distribution curve with a cut-off at 1% from the right. The shape of the curve implies that most people who got in are exactly at 1%. Slightly less people at 0.99%, slightly less at 0.98%. Most of them just barely cleared the threshold. This is not my idea, it is extrapolation from an idea from Jim of Jim’s blog and the explanation of that offered to me by another gentleman. But indeed just looking at a normal distribution curve it is obvious and I should have figured this long ago.

    But for people who just barely cleared the threshold, randomness does play a role because nobody will leave questions unanswered, people guess on those questions they do not know the answer to. If it is multiple choice. In essay answers, they will bullshit. People much under the threshold clearly have less than the required level of ability or knowledge and people much above it clearly have enough of it, but they are rare. For people just about at the threshold, and they are the majority, lucky guesses did play a role. Some had knowledge only at the 1.5% level, but had all his guesses turn lucky so he got in at the 0.97% level. Someone got in with 0.99% but all his guesses were unlucky, with similar levels of luck he would be in the 0.70% level or something.

    (The original story I got this from was about a bit of a different thing. There are two populations, A and B, with clear differences in ability, so B has a normal distribution shifted to the right as compared to A. If you take the top 1% of both populations, respectively, or top 10%, due to the shape of the curves, i.e. that in both cases most people have barely passed the threshold, you can be sure that practically all students from A population are significantly below the level of B of practically all B students with little overlap at all. )

  2. “Such as in the ability to mouth off and pay the price.” Okay, I’ll buy the intelligence part, but not the rest. I always went with said ability correlating to being born with enough backbone and intelligence to stand up to people, plus not needing any worthless piece of crap SJW or anyone else to approve of what one does. One is born with that ability and it correlates to not needing the approval of the unwashed masses. (Or it’s reincarnation and one has heard this all before and recognizes it for the crap it is. Just kidding.)

    As I have said before, why bother to even have a school or hold classes??? Just hand out diplomas. Oh, and why are there class action suits against huge corporations? After all, they are all evil and the fact that a bunch of braindead, jeaolous, idiots will take money from one for causing “excess deaths—a fantasy term” isn’t fair. Elizabeth Warren is right—TAKE IT ALL. No corporation makes more money than any other. Gates, Bloomberg, Zuckerberg all taxed at 100% (Elizabeth does math like AOC). For a great preview of how this turns out, https://www.breitbart.com/latin-america/2019/11/24/my-socialist-hell-mourning-the-victims-of-venezuelas-healthcare-miracle/. Nothing that socialism and “equality” can’t fix. Since the youth and middle-aged Americans hate their children, they will not care when their offspring die from this insanity—medical mistakes, dead by cholera, dysentery, the plague, doctors who got their participation degrees, and other things none of them will understand or even care about. Societies based on greed (which is what “equality” really is—maybe one should make that homework, to explain that) die a ugly, slow, horrible death, as do apathetic ones. Welcome to the dark ages. Again, humans are begging for this. They will get what they beg for, absolutely. Enjoy.

  3. It’s fun when the Left, itself, talks about how blacks and Latinos are dumber than whites.

    It is odd that Asians never count as minorities, isn’t it? Even though they reliably vote Democrat. I guess the Left will just never forgive rooftop Koreans.

  4. If you only allow the top 1% of test takers in, you’ve severely limited the variance in measured intelligence among the students, so there will be limited correlation between test scores and grades. Not to mention that most universities have also already eliminated variance in grades anyway. There’s no correlation between grades and anything when you hand all students As just for showing up.

    If anything, it seems as if they are opening the door for more discrimination by removing the one objective measure they had on applicants. I assume we’ll hear complaints from STEM professors about how woefully prepared the students are at Berkeley in a few years.

    One last thought: standardized tests are a reasonably efficient way to demonstrate intelligence in the sense that it’s a streamlined effort to provide the testing and thus not too expensive. But students competing for spots in selective schools like Berkeley will feel compelled to demonstrate their intelligence *somehow* on their applications, so they will find less efficient, more expensive alternatives of doing so. This will in turn be harder for poorer students to afford, and we will have calls to return to standardized testing for its efficiency.

  5. I’ll also add that in addition to limiting variance in measured intelligence by admitting only students with top scores, the conclusions from low correlations to grades should not apply to broader ranges of scores.

  6. “It is odd that Asians never count as minorities, isn’t it? ”
    When I was in college the Asian students were honorary whites and helped us maintain our white supremacy.
    Long ago the University of Texas (iirc) required a 650 math sat to enter the engineering school. This was found to adversely affect minorities and women so the test was eliminated. The administration was surprised when there was no big increase in women and minorities in engineering. I’m an engineer and had to take calculus, differential equations, complex variables, vector analysis, statistics, numerical analysis and partial differential equations. An engineer has to be able to do math. The math sat simply indicates you can do math. My school didn’t require a certain math sat score to be admitted to the engineering college, they just required you to take and pass the two semester freshman calculus course.

  7. A few years ago the College Board (producers of the SAT) empirically devised an Academic Rigor Index that had some moderate predictive skill for performance and retention in college. Interestingly, it did not use high school grades (actual performance) but instead mere enrollment in high school classes as input data.

  8. off-topic … how did that lady manage to become UC Chancellor when her very name is considered hate speech by many?

  9. “They will cause entropy, which is death.”

    Discriminating against the dead, eh? Well, some of the most loyal Democrat voters are dead people.

    Voter suppression is what you’re advocating! Political sabotage! High treason, even! I’m SO “triggered.”

    Oh, wait, we were talking about lower enrollment and graduation standards, weren’t we. Oh, I just can’t wait for the first crop of doctors out of that glorious new system. And, if you’re complaining about that, at least our health care will be “free.”

  10. In an odd coincidence, I just came across a reference by T. Dalrymple to Harold Skimpole. Not recognizing this HS, I turned to google, which led me to a First Things article entitled “The Skimpole Syndrome”, wherein was quoted ‘Feminist thealogian’ (sic) Carol Christ, who ‘sees the God of the Bible as a “God of war [who] stands for too much that I stand against.”’

    Same CC? I’m going to guess, yes.

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