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Harvard Prof Claims Merit Based Admissions Policies ‘Reproduce Inequality’

Harvard Prof Claims Merit Based Admissions Policies ‘Reproduce Inequality’

“most actors in elite institutions espouse views that reproduce their elite status”

If rewarding merit is bad, why do we even bother with things like grades and tests?

Campus Reform reports:

Harvard Prof: Merit-based admissions ‘reproduce inequality’

A Harvard University professor claims in a new academic study that merit-based admission processes at elite universities “reproduce inequality.”

Harvard education professor Natasha Warikoo draws on interviews with 98 white, native-born students at Harvard, Brown University, and the University of Oxford in “What Meritocracy Means to its Winners: Admissions, Race, and Inequality,” published in the journal Social Sciences.

During interviews Warikoo conducted between 2009 and 2011, these students were asked to sound-off on whether they felt their school had meritocratic admissions and if they supported affirmative action. Many answered the second question affirmatively and hailed the benefits of a diverse student body.

But Warikoo seems concerned with students’ responses. Analyzing data from these interviews years later, Warikoo points out that students’ approaches to diversity suggest that they’ve “internalized” the tokenistic rhetoric of the school admissions office, even if they had disagreed with policies like athletic recruitment or legacy admissions before coming to campus.

“Unlike in other campus domains in which there is a history of social protest among college students, in the realm of admissions, students seem to agree quite strongly with their universities, and come to even more agreement rather than critique upon arriving to campus,” she writes. “They suggest that most actors in elite institutions espouse views that reproduce their elite status, rather than engaging in symbolic politics or protest.”


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Well of course they agree with Admissions, after all they were admitted. Admissions must have made the right choice, eh?

This whole idea of “elite institutions reproduce inequality” is wrong for another reason. These institutions, elite or not, are what they are. Harvard has a certain set of professors, and the nearby local college has another set of faculty. Each one teaches whatever it teaches, to the students it selects. Why do we need “churn”? Even without affirmative action or any such stuff, some bright kids will be selected for a chance to go to Harvard. This is not in dispute. And some scions of rich families, idiot sons and daughters by their reckoning, will be relegated to the local college. Churn happens naturally, and there’s no principled reason I can see to speed it up artificially.

Voice_of_Reason | September 11, 2018 at 7:40 am

OF COURSE merit based admissions policies reproduce inequality – inequality of outcomes.

why, look at the merit based admissions policies of the National Basketball Association.

or look at the merit based admissions policies of the olympic gold medal for the 100m sprint. is there a racist conspiracy to discriminate against whites, asians, etc.?

there was an article a few years ago that should the highest SAT scores of any black admitted into an ivy league school (i think it was harvard) were lower than the lowest scores of any asian who was admitted. many asians were turned away who were more academically qualified than the most qualified black oerson who was admitted.

    Voice_of_Reason in reply to Voice_of_Reason. | September 11, 2018 at 7:42 am

    “showed” not “should”

    I doubt the SAT scores were exactly as you say. A couple years ago, some black kid got 800/800/800 and of course got admitted to every school including all Ivies. SAT is more of a speed and endurance test if you’re moderately competent, at least now, so I would not be surprised if there are black kids close to full score every year. Just very few of them.

    And some Asian will be admitted with lower scores, if his father buys them a building or something.