It's been five academic years since the people of California overwhelmingly voted to prohibit our public universities from using race as a criteria for admitting students. In response, the University of California developed a "comprehensive review" system that considers many intangible factors, in addition to the mainstays such as GPA and SAT scores. A recent examination of the new method has shown that it's less discriminatory than the previous criteria, but it may not have eliminated racism entirely.

After a four-month examination of freshman admissions, University of California officials released data Monday that didn't yield an absolute answer as to whether race still plays a role.

The admissions probe was ordered last fall after John Moores, chairman of the UC Board of Regents, issued a report that found hundreds of students with low SAT scores were admitted to Berkeley in fall 2002, while more than 3,000 with stellar scores were not. ...

In its complex analysis, UC found that in 2003, African Americans and Latinos were admitted at higher rates than predicted at its six selective campuses - Berkeley, UCLA, Davis, San Diego, Irvine and Santa Barbara. Fewer Asian American students were admitted than predicted at those campuses, except UCLA.

It's important to note that Mr. Moores' report only dealt with SAT scores, while admission to the UC as a whole is determined by:
... a complicated model that accounted for grades, SAT scores, income level and other quantifiable factors to predict admission. Prediction rates did not include intangible admissions criteria, such as leadership potential and overcoming personal hardship.
I have no problem with such intangible admissions criteria -- in theory -- as long as they aren't used as a cover or excuse for racism. In my tentative opinion, the numbers from this study show a vast improvement over the situation in 1997, when racial criteria were initially banned.
At UC Berkeley for example, the analysis predicted that 234 African American students would have been admitted in 2003, while 355 actually were. By contrast, 4,433 Asian American students were predicted to have been given an offer to Berkeley; 4,214 were. At UC Davis, 1,953 Latino students were predicted to have been admitted; 2,020 were. ...

Those differences however, are much smaller compared to data from 1997, the last year UC could use race. That year, for example, UCLA admitted 456 African American students, nearly triple the 160 predicted by the model.



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