Affirmative Action Quotas Forced Admission of the Academically Unqualified

(p. A13) As Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor Jr. demonstrated in “Mismatch,” their 2012 book on affirmative action, there are very few black students in the top academic cohorts from which highly selective colleges draw most of their students. Black high-school seniors are one-tenth as likely to be in the top tenth of college applicants nationwide as nonblack applicants. The average black SAT score in 2022 was 926 on a 1600 point scale. The average Asian score was 1229 and the average white score was 1098.

. . .

Harvard’s own research in 2013 showed that the black share of its undergraduate population would drop from 10% to less than 1% if it admitted students according to academic skills only. Harvard has the pick of the black U.S. high-school population, but even it can’t fill its desired quota without double standards.

. . .

The result isn’t a benefit to these students but a burden. Research shows they are more likely to end up in the bottom of their classes, if not to drop out of college and professional education entirely. This academic mismatch doesn’t dispel racial stereotypes; it reinforces them.

For the full commentary, see:

Heather Mac Donald. “Racial Preferences Bred 50 Years of ‘Mismatch’.” The Wall Street Journal (Wednesday, July 11, 2023): A13.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary was updated July 10, 2023, and has the title “Affirmative Action Bred 50 Years of ‘Mismatch’.”)

The affirmative action book cited in the passage quoted above is:

Sander, Richard, and Stuart Taylor, Jr. Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It’s Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won’t Admit It. New York: Basic Books, 2012.

“Harvard’s own research” from 2013 mentioned above was reported in Slate in 2018:

Mak, Aaron. “Admitting Bias; Harvard Had Proof Its Admissions Process Was Hurting Asian Americans. How Will Its Dean Explain Why He Did Nothing About It?”, Oct. 15, 2018.

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