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Kevin Claiborne

Student - B.S. Mathematics, National Society of Black Engineers

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How do you define "merit" in regards to College Admissions? - Should race/gender be a factor?

There is clearly an issue as to what constitutes "merit" when analyzing who is "college-ready". In my opinion, high school grades are considered the best way to predict college success but grades do not always give a clear representation about a person's character, creativity, or other non-cognitive data, so how does one measure "merit"?
If Standardized testing is to be the only criteria in determining merit, the confirmed bias of SAT tests has to be addressed:
"The confirmation of unfair test results throws into question the validity of the test and, consequently, all decisions based on its results. All admissions decisions based exclusively or predominantly on SAT performance -- and therefore access to higher education institutions and subsequent job placement and professional success -- appear to be biased against the African American minority group and could be exposed to legal challenge," – Harvard Educational Review (http://www.hepg.org/her/abstract/769 )
Read More: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/06/21/sat

Should race play a role in the college admissions process? (for example: affirmative action) Other related questions to consider: Should colleges lower the bar just to have a more diverse student population? What type of effect will this have on college students? (Will minority students at prestigious universities be looked at like they were only accepted into the Ivory Tower because of affirmative action rather than cognitive ability?) If race is to be removed from college applications, shouldn't students’ names and genders be removed also to make the process completely unbiased?

Read more >>: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/01/18/admissions-leaders-and-legal-experts-debate-how-define-merit#ixzz2IKygSVTx

I feel that if other criteria are going to be looked at to determine whether or not students are good enough for college, those criteria should be applied & used for all applicants not just minority applicants. What are your thoughts?


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    Jan 20 2013: "The real consequences of meritocracy are to leave intact the vast inequalities of a traditional class society, while convincing both the winners and losers that they deserve their lot in life. " - Michael Young 1958

    The content of merit is defined by the "powerful"

    "The cultural capital of white and wealthy families masquerades as meritorious "natural" ability, rather than as a function of social privilege. " - Oakes, Rogers, Lipton, Morrell
    • Jan 20 2013: Michael Young is brilliant in that quote.

      In my opinion, equality starts with opportunity. We don't all start off equal in life (in terms of opportunity), and sometimes that is unfortunate, but we can ensure that educational opportunities are available to all. Rather than contemplate what merit is, I prefer to simply make higher education available for all.

      We need to make sure community colleges with open admissions are well funded. Continuing on after completing a core curriculum (hence, proving a readiness for college) should be automatic at the 4 year school level.

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