NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED520652
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 148
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1240-6231-0
Redefining Merit Scholar Selection: Merit-Aware Screening Alternatives and Implications for Diversity
Mettler, James R.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Claremont Graduate University
According to many higher education experts, merit scholarship screening methods discriminate against a disproportionate number of underrepresented minority (URM) students. The screening methods, however, favored individuals with the highest achievement test scores and above-average GPAs. The assumption in the common selection model is that test scores and high school GPAs possess a higher predictive ability for undergraduate academic success than the research indicates. Additionally, the current study argued that academic merit, which is a cumulative effort on the part of the individual throughout high school, is not addressed in the traditional screening model. The existing research found evidence of strong relationships between the superior academic and testing preparation of middle- and upper-income students and the competitive advantage for merit scholarships. Conversely, the research findings indicated that URM individuals from at-risk educational and socioeconomic backgrounds were at a competitive disadvantage for merit scholarships. URM applicants, however, completed bachelor's degrees at impressive rates. The current study compared traditional and alternative screening methods to observe possible increases in the number of talented URM candidates in all stages of a merit scholarship competition. The research used a sample of 1,258 merit scholarship applicants at Cal State Fullerton from 2001-2003. The research included a series of multiple regression analyses to determine the predictive ability of independent academic and testing variables on bachelor's degree completion. Finally, a retrospective analysis looked at URM applicants who were removed from a scholarship competition, and traced their success rates to degree completion. The research findings indicated that alternative methods successfully increased the number of URM candidates in all stages of a merit scholarship competition. Additional findings revealed that the independent academic and testing variables explained a marginal amount of the variance of bachelor's degree completion. Finally, the retrospective analysis showed that most overlooked URMs completed bachelor's degrees at impressive rates despite the traditional determination that their lower test scores and GPAs predicted otherwise. The findings underscored the urgency to revisit current methods of applicant screening for university admissions and for merit scholarships. Until alternatives are fully tested and implemented, American college and university merit scholarship programs will continue to exclude large numbers of eligible URM men and women, and will continue to result in an enormous loss of undergraduate talent and diversity. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California