"Instead, it will try to capture a student’s social and economic background in a broad array of data points. The new tactic is called Landscape and doesn’t combine the metrics into a single score."
So they didn't really drop it. They just revised it a bit and gave it a new name.
Asians are a minority but out-score whites. So, if you were responsible for assigning an adversity score:
1. Would you say that Asians should get a lower score (since they tend to do better) or a higher score (since they're a minority)?
2. How much of an income difference between an Asian student's family and a white student's family to result in the same score?
If you choose to penalize Asian individuals for their racial group doing better on average, how could you justify this to Asians who feel discriminated against? What would you say when they point out that you're penalizing them compared to white people despite being historically discriminated against?
If you choose to penalize white individuals despite their racial group doing poorer on average, how could you justify this to whites who feel discriminated against? What would you say when they point out that your system increases, rather than decreases, racial gaps in colleges?
To be clear, I agree with you -- this revised system has many of the same problems as the original proposal. But, now some of these tough questions aren't on their shoulders.
I'd recommend reading The Color of Law, https://www.epi.org/publication/the-color-of-law-a-forgotten...
> In the Sausalito case, the state said the district had violated the equal protection clause of the California Constitution.
> The settlement, filed in state court in San Francisco...
Sounds like it was (a) not overt (if it took a two-year investigation to establish it), (b) illegal, and (c) eventually punished under preexisting law.
Prevention, through detection (which goes to your point of "(a) not overt (if it took a two-year investigation to establish it)" seems like the better thing for these sorts of circumstances, but is a lot more difficult to achieve. Part of me, possibly naively, believes that transparency is the answer, so that those of us who care can determine things without a 2 year investigation, but that feels... too simplistic. Not sure what a better answer is, though.
> when disadvantages put on Asian individuals are explicitly laid out as systemic and on the basis of their race.
What exactly have I been disadvantaged in?
The areas Asians are disadvantaged in are college admissions and hiring practices. There is an active lawsuit against YouTube for issuing freezes on hiring white and Asian males, on the premise that they needed to hire more people from other racial/ethnic groups. This is simply not something that would happen to another minority group. The people that tend to otherwise fixate on racial identity and collective privilege will typically also conveniently ignore Asians, whose successes in this "white supremacist" nation throw a bit of a wrench in their world view.
I've interviewed with Google multiple times without issue
> whose successes in this "white supremacist" nation throw a bit of a wrench in their world view.
Interesting that you should mention that, because perceived/actual white supremacy is a reason why Asians are voting overwhelmingly against Republicans today.
What if you did that day? Is there a need for a long term self-identification to qualify as the minority of your choosing?
If you actually see yourself differently then you can actually change what you identify as.
This means you need to actually see yourself differently to not be lying and you can't just pick and choose based on a whim. For example I'm a huge nerd and even if I tell people I don't identify as one it doesn't change how I see myself so it's just a lie. Though as time goes on I'm doing less and less nerdy hobbies so I feel less a part of that group so in the future I might not feel like a nerd at all so if I say I don't identify as a nerd then I'm telling the truth. Doing what you are saying requires being able to actually believe you are part of those different groups.
"It's not a lie if you believe it."
- George Constanza
One could feel Asian because you're in a Chinese immersion program speaking Chinese 24/7, but if you don't have any ancestors from Asia more recent than Ghengis Khan, you can't really self-identify as Asian for the purposes of the question as commonly understood. It's not like one's family heritage changes if one's circumstances change.
Please justify your assertion that self identification of being Asian should be cut off based on ancestry at 1227. It seems awfully arbitrary. Do you actually have a logical reason for picking that year, or are you just making things up to suit your own preferences?
I never said 1227 and don't know why you are picking that year. I picked Genghis Khan because supposedly most everyone has some of his genes.
Self-identification is a weird metric. I mean, I'm pretty sure bigotry's about how others see a person rather than how a person sees themself.
By the way, I know it shouldn't matter but I'm latino (Dominican). Looks like nowadays you have to have an specific race to have an opinion.
We must stop looking at arbitrary and superficial physical attributes to determine a person's character if we are to ever get past all of this racial nonsense.
This is a really difficult problem, trying to help increase opportunity. We run into reverse racism of a kind, with today's "too many qualified Asians" (because they are good students) in Harvard problem where they are trying for a diverse student body, but what does diverse really mean? Before this there was similar descriptions of too many Jewish people at colleges (in the 1950s I have read). No one ever wanted more of my kind of person either (white guy, a single parent but middle class) in my whole career and life - yet I should also state most of my coworkers my whole life in tech have mostly been middle class white guys. My parents were not about to be able to donate a million bucks to Harvard so I could go, they didn't go there, and neither did I. If Harvard allowed the best prepared students to go there, then there would be more rich legacy white kids and more Asians.
So, for example, when NYC has special schools for the smartest minority of students, these schools end up with mostly Asians and whites. This is racist.
Maybe that is why I got downvoted. ;-)
These policies attempt to achieve equality of outcome based on the implicit presumption that given equality of opportunity outcomes will be equal among various demographics. Thus any systematic inequalities are, without much in the way of hard evidence (a limitation of the related fields of psychology, economics, and the like) immediately explained by uncompetitive social norms of successful groups, i.e. racism/discrimination - unlocking the justification for penalizing those on top to equalize outcomes for those on the bottom.
The result of this implicit and fundamentally unproven assumption is the conflation of equality of outcome with equality of opportunity by the modern American left. This is a point of consternation for those near the center and leaning right primarily because it punishes success without allowing for the possibility of personal/internal explanations for discrepancies, i.e. cultural factors independent of poverty which limit economic success, and/or things like proven heritability of intelligence. Further, one could argue that such a conflation optimizes economic equality over merit, which is probably worse for society overall.
I don’t think that’s fair. Saying “this student is from a 6th decile income and 9th decile funding school district” is different from combining those data into a single measure. The former presents information. The latter analyses it.
Agreed. But it’s less reductive than a private company deciding on its own what does and doesn’t constitute adversity (and to what degree).
I definitely don't like them making these kind of files on students and I think they should be required to get informed consent from the students--the data subjects--to do so, especially since students are the customers and pay for the tests. However, I do think there is some real improvement in acknowledging that this is a limited metric and no longer claiming that it somehow represents a comprehensive score.
People are already giving up guardianship of their kids to get into schools: https://www.npr.org/2019/07/30/746687110/some-parents-are-gi...
Since it can't be based on a thorough review of data and people's actual background for scaling reasons, it's all going to be about the initial presentation and gaming the system will continue to increase the more entrance is disconnected from academic ability.
Hopefully the end result is less companies blindly hiring people based on their university degree, which is already happening, but there will always be perks from the name recognition alone regardless which is what I guess people are betting on when they are trying to tip the scales.
Non-programming job are going to shrink soon enough, there won't be anyone hiring 'blindly' in those field, or largely at all.
That's some real Newspeak right there.
They aren't going out in the field to interview friends and family.
A single nice family home in the suburbs could have one kid turn out to be a successful judge and the other a drug addict drop-out (even Trump's older brother died an alcoholic). Good luck measuring that honestly from a college entrance office.
What about a single metric for scholastic aptitude, though? :)
The change moves the onus of metric aggregation from the College Board to individual colleges. We'll institutionalize injustice / poor decision making, but you'll have a choice of which institution will apply the injustice.
Blind admissions. We may even incentivize kids to actually study for college, instead of waltzing in with a seventh grade reading level. If we don't like that recent immigrants outperform natives [of all colors!], perhaps we could perform a serious root cause analysis and address it, instead of papering over the metrics.
https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=6174: The average college freshman reads at 7th grade level
If only these systems in place focused on this rather than race. I know race in the USA correlates strongly with socioeconomic status and outcomes, but its turned out to be such a divisive issue that consistently antagonizes stakeholders and leads to controversial policy decisions.
Sure poverty disproportionately affects some ethnic groups more than others, but it nonetheless has pervasive effects on the health and economic outcomes of people of all races. Hopefully the next system to replace the last takes into account the economic handicaps of students and not their race.
Case in point, "racism". Implying, among other things, KKK and lynchings. Would you submit that the root cause for differentials in college-level education attainment in 2019 between racial groups is endemic lynchings? If not, I would kindly submit that we need a different word to start a conversation.
Edit: Small rephrase to hopefully address u/krastanov concerns.
> Case in point, "racism". Implying KKK and lynchings.
Is there really a group of people that participate in intellectually honest debates that actually think the use of the word "racism" in 2019 implies "KKK and lynching"!? This sounds incredibly out of proportion to me - yes, KKK/lynching are near one of the extremes of the spectrum of racism, but it is (or used to be) incredibly far from the main realization of racism today.
Not a productive remark; painting all who disagree with you as "racists" devalues the legitimate use of the term and prevents honest discourse.
In the case of maternal deaths, obviously obesity, diet, drug use, etc, are variables. And simple biological propensity to survive childbirth. And the physiology of Africans, let alone the complexities of X% African + (100-X)% Anglo physiology, being harder to deal with.
As an example: Say you are trying to give out bank loans to white and black people, and to men and women. You have a metric that you give loans out: namley their credit score. You are not guaranteed to be able to give out bank loans to all people fairly. Say that black women, via the randomness of life, have lower credit scores than white women. So, because you give out loans via credit scores, you disadvantage black women. This is not okay. So, you then include some factor in the bank loaning process that accounts for that the race of the person applying for the loan. This then corrects the racial disparity in the loans to balck and whote women. However, what did you do to the rates of applications to black men and white men? Your new metrics have likely affected those rates, maybe negatively affecting women as a whole as comapred to men. Maybe it results in lowered rates to black men as comapred to white men. Who knows. You repeat this process of sdjustment until all loans are given out fairly. Then you look at what was done to Native American populations, homosexuals, asians, poor people, etc.
I'm not saying that you are forbidden from being able to iteratively get to fairness in bank loans, but a single rule change is very unlikely to result in total fairness amoung all possible divisions of people. Additionally, to get to fairness in all bank loans, the rule set is likely to be somewhat complex  and then it'll have to change with time.
 The handshake problem maybe? n(n-1)/2 complexity? With just 7 racial categories alone you get 21 total interactions that need to be adjusted for, Add in 3 gender categories and you then have 210 interactions. Now put in 4 monetary classes, you get 3486 interactions to deal with. Now add in pregnant people, veterans, the disabled, political views, religious groups, etc. It roughly grows as N^2 and gets hairy really quick.
You'd probably also have to reform family life for many individuals as well, not just elementary school. Are they from a single parent household? Do they have books at home? Do their parents read to them? Do their parents help out with homework and make sure their children are doing their homework?
School is not the only aspect contributing to someone's education. Parental involvement is also a huge factor and cultural differences contribute here.
See my previous comment about the importance of culture and values and their impact on success here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20810810
Personally, I think on-line schooling is a better option. Internet is becoming broadly available, and it seems that serving every one the same curriculum (albeit with some adaptivity to what a student is doing better or worse on) seems the most viable way to make sure each student gets the same education, I would think. Then maybe provide a smaller staff at local schools with tutoring and counseling.
Online education does a good job , and has had good results, even in the third world  . It of course needs further development, but I see no reason why it couldn't be a strong contender to mitigate this issue.
: https://dyske.com/paper/1258, https://www.jstor.org/stable/2547418
Why? Why should anyone attempt to intentionally manipulate the ethnic backgrounds of college students? If you award admission bonuses for the symptoms of racism like being worse off financially or going to a poorly-rated high school, wouldn't you be adjusting for adversity in exact proportion to actual hardship instead of assigning an arbitrary value to skin color? This entire process can be completely race-agnostic and still compensate for systemic racism at the same time.
I'm also curious what stops me from putting whatever I want in the race field on my application. I don't recall my university running a blood test to check if I was fibbing.
Higher education - particularly for elite and Ivy League universities - is best understood more as a finishing school for acculturating youths into upper-middle and upper classes. By admitting a more balanced distribution of ethnic minorities, it allows these institutions to retain the perception of legitimacy for bestowing class status on graduates, rather that being seen as captured by the parents of the class the institution bestows.
Do you have any kind of reference, or even a decent collection of anecdotes supporting this?
Furthermore, the model explains some other behavior, such as colleges attempting limit the number of certain minorities that would otherwise be over-represented based on test scores. Specifically, Harvard's quota on Jewish applicants in 1922 and their current lawsuit alleging anti-asian discrimination.
Black and Latino students have worse academic outcomes than their peers in the same school and income bracket. Though low quality-of-life metrics may be symptomatic of racism, high quality-of-life metrics do not indicate an absence of racism.
Nothing, as we found out with Elizabeth Warren being "Indian". As you said, no test. Of course, I'm not sure I'd be comfortable handing my DNA over to every school to which I wanted to apply.
Of course, on an admissions form, a whole different machine kicks in. I think falsifying your admissions form would have consequences.
As more things require it, it will become unavoidable.
By the way, I hadn't seen that movie. Thanks for mentioning it; looks like it might be good to watch.
2. Socioeconomic status.
Callibrating a score on race would be a problem, because you are explicitly reinforcing virtues that lead to suboptimal performance. However calibrating a score on (2) makes sense because kids with unequal resources should have access to the same opportunities, and it is reasonable to me that a top performer in a lower socioeconomic neighborhood would do better than someone who performed similarly were they raised in a more affluent neighborhood.
Where you run into problems is that lower socioeconomic neighborhoods are associated strongly with black/Latino populations and so it is indirectly biasing for select racial groups. I don’t think there’s a perfect solution, or one that is 100% equitable to all parties but I think we can do better than we are now, in fact I think it is crucial.
Further down in the article, it lists what the scores are based on:
> Those factors are college attendance, household structure, median family income, housing stability, education levels and crime.
Which all sound like tests of the living conditions and environment that the students had to learn within - and if those strongly correlate with race, then maybe there's other issues that need to be addressed
1. These students will struggle and be much more likely to fail out, depending on how much of a boost they're given by the so called adversity score
2. Standards will be lowered and as a result graduates will be less competent and schools lose prestige and/or society suffers in the long run from workers who previously would not have qualified for their degrees.
You cannot undo the damage of 12 years of poor schooling by simply throwing a student into a more rigorous curriculum, no matter how admirable the intent.
And arguably point 2 has already been happening for some time anyway given the swelling of college ranks over the last few years and the corresponding devaluation of the college degree. More people may hold degrees, but the normal distribution of intelligence has not changed, which must indicate that the rigor of the average degree has dropped substantially in the last few decades given the proportion of the population that is now educated.
plenty of kids failed out along the way, but it was more because they didn't put in enough time than being hopelessly underprepared for the rigor.
you do kinda have to give up on the "undergrad takes exactly four years" thing if you want this to work though. some people will need to do more than 120 credits to fulfill the requirements of the degree. not everyone will be able to take a full-time course load every semester or even any semester. that doesn't make the end result worse when they finally graduate (though it may be more expensive).
2) Even if this is true, this is a feature not a bug
As it turns out, college really isn’t all that difficult in most cases, and never has been. If anything standards have increased!
Personally I think providing separate scores for adversity is a good thing. Ultimately getting into ones state school isn’t that difficult, and even if it was your SAT is a small part of that.
To let people into big-league colleges with any 'fudge factor' isn't doing them any favors. It's just an easy path to failure. (Also: even if the schools provide hand-holding and personal tutoring, the school had better make sure what is provided sticks. Very well. Else they may graduate some 'charity cases', but it won't be doing the graduates any favors when they hit the workforce.)
The US method on the other hand where colleges try to assess “leadership” and other qualities of that nature makes no sense to me. What in the world do “leadership”, extracurricular activities, sports ability, etc. have to do with academic ability?
I guess it’s because in the US, college is seen as a way of sorting people into social classes, just as much as a place to actually learn something (or more). But a sane system shouldn’t care about having “well-rounded” students — it should optimize for having the best 100 students in physics in the country studying together from the best physicists, the best in history from the best historians, etc.
> Are these exams usually/mostly multiple choice?
Colleges would be far worse off in their current and next round of admissions scandals/lawsuits if the test were as clear as something like the ASVAB (where you score is literally the % of people you've beaten).