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ERIC Number: ED504921
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 55
How We Justify and Perpetuate the Wealthy, White, Male Academic Status Quo through the Use of Biased Admissions Requirements
Micceri, Theodore
Online Submission, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Florida Association for Institutional Research (Cocoa Beach, FL, Feb 25-27, 2009)
Prompted by some disturbing trends of reducing enrollment among females and minorities in an earlier study (Borman, Workman, Miller & Micceri, 2006), this study, using data from over 600,000 Florida State University System (SUS) applicants, demonstrates empirically how a trend that began during World War II helps ensure that males and society's upper class of wealth and power (usually whites) gain unjustified advantages when it comes to enrolling in prestigious public universities as a result of standardized admissions tests. Higher education has historically been, at least until the proletariat revolutions of the 20th Century, almost the exclusive territory of the aristocracy's young males. This was a place they could send their young and avoid the danger of interacting with city workers. For example, between 1890 and 1900, fewer than 5% of Americans aged 18 to 21 years attended higher education institutions (Goldin & Katz, 1999, p. 41). By 1970, this percentage had risen to 70%, meaning that large numbers of "commoners" were rubbing elbows with the elite, partly because the 1965 Higher Education Act stated that colleges couldn't turn away applicants because their families were poor. Such interaction with society's riffraff had traditionally been avoided by the aristocracy through the use of exclusive (expensive) private colleges. Theoretically, public universities, which are paid for by the taxes of all, should offer those of the lower classes equal opportunity for higher education. However, in the latter part of the 20th Century and the early years of the 21st Century, as the United States experiences increasing wealth disparity (Sahadi, 2006; Witte & Henderson, 2004), we see a disturbing tendency to exclude "commoners." Haycock & Gerald (2006, p. 3) state, regarding public flagship institutions: "Even as the number of low-income and minority high school graduates in their states grows, often by leaps and bounds, these institutions are becoming disproportionately whiter and richer." Numerous others echo such statements (Heller & Marin, 2002; Astin & Oseguera, 2004; Sacks, 2007). Probably the most important tool used by higher education to discriminate against riffraff is a selection bias inherent in "stringent admissions requirements," or perhaps better stated: higher test score requirements (Astin & Oseguera, 2004). In the Florida State University System (SUS) the "more stringent requirements" apparently resulted from a 70% increase in First Time in College (FTIC) matriculations during a time when constant dollar funding only increased by 11% (1996 to 2003 using HEPI). Although standardized tests were initially pushed to the fore as an admissions requirement in an attempt to reduce class bias, in reality, they increase the class bias effect. Stimulated by earlier research conducted in an attempt to understand the recent movement of underrepresented minorities from direct entry into the SUS to transfer from community colleges, in addition to Gibson's (2001, p 1.) claim that: "...The SAT measures, above all else, class, sex, and race..." This study addresses the research question: Do consistent score differences occur on standardized tests between different sexes or race/ethnicities (an affluence proxy) for students exhibiting the same historic academic performance levels as measured by High School Grade Point Average (GPA)? (Contains 4 footnotes, 1 table, and 2 figures.)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States