sunday morning sociology, affirmative action edition


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Legacy admissions, which are not remotely racially neutral, have more support than considering race in admissions. From this WaPo piece on racial politics in the Trump administration and the renewed assault on affirmative action. Caveat: Polling on affirmative action is very sensitive to question wording, though within a given wording attitudes have been shockingly stable over time, see e.g. GSS.

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Author: Dan Hirschman

I am a sociologist interested in the use of numbers in organizations, markets, and policy. For more info, see here.

One thought on “sunday morning sociology, affirmative action edition”

  1. What is the point of including the highly-selective figure on support for particular factors in college admissions decisions?

    The linked-to WaPo article offered this passage on the figure: “In other words, affirmative action for those from college-educated families — families that, as above, are more likely to be white — was viewed as more acceptable than affirmative action for black or Hispanic students.” However, this omits the Gallup poll finding that there was more support as a major factor in college admissions for whether the student would be the first person in the family to attend college (31 percent) than for parental alumni status (11 percent). Therefore, affirmative action for applicants from college-educated families received less support than affirmative action for applicants from non-college-educated families. If affirmative action for those from college-educated families is racialized, then presumably affirmative action for those from non-college-educated families is also racialized.

    Moreover, high school grades received more support as a major factor in admissions decisions (73 percent) than standardized test scores did (55 percent), and placing more emphasis on high school grades than on standardized test scores better reflects a Top Ten Percent type of plan that is more likely to benefit underrepresented minorities, compared to placing more relative emphasis on standardized test scores.


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