Sunday, May 06, 2007

"Holistic" Approach

When affirmative action were first introduced in the 1960s in America it was presented as a temporary measure to compensate for past injustice against Blacks. That logic was initself faulty for several reasons even then, but now more than four decaded later its absurdity is all too apparent. Especially since recently immigrated Hispanics are also included in this privilege system along with Blacks, while recently immigrated Asians are also displaced along with Whites by this system.

As a result, resentment among both Whites and Asians have increased and so referendums in for example California and Michigan have decided that affirmative action should be ended.

However, the "legacy of slavery"-nonsense have now been replaced by a new nonsense called "diversity" in which supposedly proportional representation of all racial groups are considered vital for the learning environment. A theory which have also spread into some parts of corporate America. Never mind that there is no evidence at all to support that either racial homogenity or diversity somehow promotes learning.

But as it have turned into a quasi-religion that diversity for its own sake is vital and more important than meritocracy and as any heretic who insists on the meritocratic principle treating individuals on their individual merits is considered a "racist", universities in America remain undeterred by the popular votes demanding an end to affirmative action.

After these referendums, universities are unable to explicitly discrimate against Whites and Asians. Instead, they now resort to a "holistic" approach in admissions. In practice that means that they continue with affirmative action by taking background in Black or Hispanic neighborhoods as a unofficial ground for admission.

Not surprisingly, the result of the "holistic" approach is to increase the number of Black and Hispanic students.

"High schools in California are rated according to the Academic Performance Index, a 10-point scale with higher scores awarded to higher-performing schools.

From fall 2006 to fall 2007, the admit rate for black students coming from high schools with API scores of 1 or 2 jumped from 12 percent to 27 percent.

The rate for Latino applicants from these schools rose from 25 to 27 percent in the same time frame.

Ramon said these figures are testaments to the success of holistic review.

“That’s a sign of how the holistic admissions is working,” she said. “You have to really take into account all these other (non-academic) factors ... so that your students have a true college experience ... where they’re learning from each other.”

Not suprisingly, this was followed by a increasing gap in real merits:

"In fall 2006, before UCLA switched to holistic admissions, black and Latino applicants’ average SAT scores were 255 and 246 points lower than the average for their white and Asian counterparts.

That gap seemed largely unaffected by holistic review – in fall 2007, black applicants’ SAT scores were on average 293 points lower than those of white and Asian students, and Latino applicants’ scores came up 249 points short."

The clueless reporter didn't seem to notice that the gap was in fact affected-increased that is. Which is what you expect from a "holistic" approach that says other things than proven intellectual ability is important.

The racial character of the "holistic" approach is even more evident when you consider this:

"But at the same time, the admit rates for white and Asian students from low-performing high schools fell.

In fall 2006, 35 percent of Asian students and 41 percent of white students from California high schools with API scores of 1 or 2 were admitted to UCLA.

In fall 2007, those numbers dropped to 31 percent and 33 percent, respectively."

Just how these "holistically" admitted students will perform remains to be seen, but past experience is for students admitted through affirmative action to drop out and fail at a much higher rate than others.


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