Short Take: Americans Consider Grades, Test Scores Top Factors in College Admissions

“When will the ever learn?  When will they ever learn?”

                        - Pete Seeger

With any luck, never. 

By “they”, I refer to everyday Americans.  By “learn” I mean “absorb the latest intellectual fad embraced by progressives.”  This latest survey by Pew Research encourages me to hope that the resistance by We the People will remain intact.  So far, it’s holding up quite nicely.  I sincerely hope we never learn what they’re teaching.

In March, Pew asked what should be the most important factors in college admissions.  That survey of course comes against a backdrop of colleges and universities abandoning high school grades and SAT scores in favor of vague notions created for the sole purpose of getting more minorities into the freshman class.  Twice in the last 26 years, California voters have rejected referenda seeking to make race a permissible consideration in college admissions.  As the excellent Heather MacDonald has pointed out, that clear preference for objective standards of excellence over biological traits has only driven progressives to ever more elaborate methods to avoid the will of the people.  The abandonment of standardized tests is a facially-neutral way of thwarting that will in order to promote one item on the progressive agenda.

But, when I say “minorities, I mean, well, some minorities.  As many Asian students are quick to point out, the abandonment of balanced measures of scholastic aptitude tends to reduce their admissions to the best colleges and universities.  That of course is the point.  For somewhat elusive reasons, Asians find themselves part of the group, along with whites, to be discriminated against.  Remember that the next time a progressive blathers on about “anti-racism.”  Some of those Asian students have even sued Harvard due to its quite frank and intentional exclusion of them.

So what do run-of-the-mill Americans think?  Some 93% of Pew’s respondents say high school grades should be either a major or a minor factor in college admissions; 86% say standardized test scores should be and 67% say community service involvement should be.  By contrast, just 26% say race/ethnicity should play a role and 18% say gender should.

Those figures hold true across all lines of race and ethnicity and party affiliation although only 34% of Democrats say test scores should be a major factor, compared with 47% of Republicans.  It’s almost as if Americans still hold the weird notion that talent and accomplishments matter.

I suppose it’s ironic that a post that ends by supporting educational achievement should begin with the fervent hope that Americans don’t learn.  But, hey, some things shouldn’t be learned – things like the flatness of the earth, that the Holocaust didn’t happen and current progressive ideology.

Well done, Americans, well done.

1 comment

Sean Kullman

SAT and ACT scores are a great equalizer. Grade norming, the notion that teachers are grading equally across classrooms, rarely happens in a single high school let alone across schools throughout the country. How can we know one teacher’s B in Florida is not another teacher’s A in California? We don’t. And with the advent of equity grading, the situation is only worsening and the grade inflation mounting. The losers are the students who get placed in the wrong colleges. Charles Murray’s Facing Reality is an honest look at this issue with essential and important data.

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