Joanne (see blogroll at left) has a great post that includes a discussion of academic affirmative action. Here are some important points:
California passed an identical measure 10 years ago. Universities responded by letting students argue they've overcome barriers such as poverty, discrimination and disability. It's served as a de facto substitute for racial and ethnic preferences but hasn't equalized the numbers of low-income, black or Hispanic students admitted to the University of California system.
Last week a UC committee suggested revising the eligibility system that reserves the top-tier universities for students who graduate in the top 12.5 percent of the class based on grades and test scores. They want to let C+ students try to persuade admissions officers that their motivation, inititiative and leadership skills will make them successful.
I read a UC-Davis study they cite: UC students who get special consideration for overcoming hardships or showing initiative do worse than their below-average grades and test scores would predict, not better. The exception is students who admissions officials have decided show strong leadership skills. Leaders do better than their academic index number (grades and scores) would predict but not as well as students admitted solely on grades and scores. Students admitted in the bottom quartile of the academic index are significantly less likely to graduate in five years than students in the top half of the class or even the third quartile. (boldface mine--Darren)
You don't say. And John from Discriminations (see blogroll at left) makes a guest appearance in Joanne's post as well.