Sunday, March 3, 2013

Grad Schools: Lower Admission Standards For Blacks and Less Results

You know that there are two different standards for black and white admissions for the professional schools of Medicine, Law and Management, right??  

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (JBHE), details in their article The Widening Racial Scoring Gap on Standardized Tests for Admission to Graduate School the extent of the racial gap in graduate/professional school admissions tests. Not only is there a significant gap, but the article is concerned that the gap is widening. This after 40 years of affirmative action programs. The article comments frankly that without affirmative action dual standards, "the numbers and percentages of blacks in our leading graduate and professional schools would drop to very low, nearly nonexistent  levels." This is not surprising, see my blog Blacks Score Lower On All Academic Tests.

The article mentions that "there would be very few black doctors without the affirmative action standards and that could lead to a severe shortage of doctors who would be willing to relocate to black neighborhoods." But is that really true?  Do black doctors really relocate to black ghettos? Or do they go for more affluent clientele?  

A lower pass rate for black graduates for the medical doctor licensing exams and bar exams expose that the racial differences do not go away however. Significant numbers of black students do not pass the Bar exam or the Medical Licensing exams after graduation. Although it's a good thing that many pass these exams, it leaves open the question of excluding the more qualified candidates--ones that would pass their professional license exams.  In the 2003 Grutter Supreme Court decision, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor stipulated a 25-year lifetime for the continuation of affirmative action in college and university admissions.  That's only 15 years away. What then?

Law School Admissions


In fact, without dual admissions standards, there'd be nearly no black students in Law Schools.  From the above article,
"In 2004, 10,370 blacks took the LSAT examination. Only 29 blacks, or 0.3 percent of all LSAT test takers, scored 170 or above. In contrast, more than 1,900 white test takers scored 170 or above on the LSAT. They made up 3.1 percent of all white test takers. Thus whites were more than 10 times as likely as blacks to score 170 or above on the LSAT. There were 66 times as many whites as blacks who scored 170 or above on the test.
Even if we drop the scoring level to 165, a level equal to the mean score of students enrolling  t law schools ranked in the top 10 nationwide but not at the very top, we still find very few blacks. There were 108 blacks scoring 165 or better on the LSAT in 2004. They made up 1 percent of all black test takers. For whites, there were 6,689 test takers who scored 165 or above. They made up 10.6 percent of all white students who took the LSAT examination.
The nation's top law schools could fill their classes exclusively with students who scored 165 or above on the LSAT. But if they were to do so, these law schools would have almost no black students."

Medical School Admissions


The same gap is evident for medical school admissions and examinations.  From the same article:

"In 2005 the mean combined score for black students who took the Medical College Admission Test was 21.2. (Each of the three sections of the MCAT test is scored on a scale of 1 to 15.) For whites, the mean score on the combined three portions of the MCAT test was 28.5. Therefore, the white score was about 18 percent higher than the mean score for blacks. The racial gap in MCAT scores has been virtually unchanged for the past decade.
The mean total college grade point average for black applicants to medical school in 2005 was 3.18. For whites, the average GPA was 3.54. If we examine grades in the all-important science courses, the mean black GPA was 2.99. For whites, the figure is 3.44."

Bar Exam And Medical License Pass Rates Significantly Lower For Blacks


The JBHE journal article The Widening Racial Scoring Gap on Standardized Tests for Admission to Graduate School proudly reports that nearly all of the admitted black students to Law and Medical schools graduate as evidence that the different admissions standards are justified. This is indeed good news, but when it comes to later and truly objective measures, the good news doesn't quite hold up.

Both the law and medical professions have exams to certify lawyers and doctors as competent: lawyers must pass the bar exam and doctors must pass the NBME (National Board of Medical Examiners) exam to obtain licenses to practice.

From the New York Law Journal in 1996,
The Law School Admission Council issued its report in 1998, finding that 92 percent of white law-school graduates passed the bar exam on the first attempt, as did 61 percent of black graduates. [This implies a black-white mean difference of 1.13 SD continuing the persistent racial difference as discussed in my blog Blacks Score Lower On Every Academic Exam.]
The Council also reported the results of repeated attempts at the bar exam. It found that eventually 97 percent of white and 78 percent of black law graduates passed, corresponding to a black-white mean difference of 1.11 SD.
Not only do the final licensing exams show a 1.1 standard deviation on the bar exam and NBME exam, the same differences as found in the MCAT and LSAT admissions tests.

From JAMA in 1994,
The most comprehensive study of NBME pass rates was published in 1994 by Beth Dawson et al (JAMA 1994 272:9 674-9). The authors examined the performance of every medical student in the US taking the June exam for the first time over the years 1986, 1987 and 1988. Dawson and her colleagues found that white medical students passed the NBME test at a rate of 87.7 percent and blacks at 48.9 percent. These pass rates equivalent to a black-white mean difference of 1.19 SD. Mean differences for the bar and NBME exams are conspicuously similar.
The students that ultimately fail to be professionally licensed displace students that could have been licensed and were better qualified to begin with. This is the problem with affirmative action and why the many States are ending preferential admissions standards based on race (for example, see Michigan's Civil Rights Initiative.

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