Preferences versus Preparation: UC Regents Return to Race-Based Admissions. Briefing.Report as inadecuate

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The University of California Regents have instituted a "Comprehensive Review" system for admission that purports to consider the whole student instead of merely grades and test scores. An examination of the Comprehensive Review reveals a back door attempt to reinstate racial preferences in college admission, a practice the Regents banned in 1996 and the voters nabbed in Proposition 209. Comprehensive Review will further degrade standards and achievement by sacrificing academic excellence to political correctness and a narrow concept of diversity. Under Comprehensive Review, students are judged on 14 criteria, and campuses are free to emphasize any of these criteria, to any degree. The University of California, Berkeley, has been testing a comprehensive review since 1998. Under this system, Comprehensive Review means that Black and Latino students can be admitted with academic credentials far lower than their White and Asian counterparts. The personal essay will be the decisive factor in determining who gains admission to the university system's most competitive campuses, and essay scoring is marked by ambiguity in scoring methods and uncertainty about who actually wrote the essay. At the University of California, Los Angeles, students receive a "Life Challenges" score which can be used as a proxy for achievement. There are legal problems associated with the Comprehensive Review process, and it is apparent that admission reform in the University of California system is being driven by diversity and identity politics. (Contains 27 endnotes.) (SLD)

Descriptors: Admission Criteria, Affirmative Action, College Admission, Higher Education, Legal Problems, Minority Groups, Racial Differences, Selective Admission, Student Characteristics

Author: Cox, Matt


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