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The University of California is currently debating whether to modify its admission requirements to put more emphases on "subjective" overall evaluations (of essays, backgrounds, etc.) rather than on strictly on grades and test scores. This of course is causing a reaction from conservatives who feel that standards will be let down.
Here is some interesting background information on the issue (provided by Jodie Wales, a doctoral student at UCI). In 1999-2000, the average grade point average for those admitted to and planning to attend UCLA was 4.15 out of a maximum of 4.0. That means that thousands of people who got perfect 4.0 grades in high school were not admitted. (At UC Berkeley alone, 8000 students with perfect 4.0 grades were not admitted that year).
How did students get HIGHER grades than 4.0? They did that by taking advanced placement (AP) courses--special advanced courses that offer college credit to high school students. And up until now (this is being challenged, though), the University of California has deemed advanced placement courses as worth a total of 5 grade points rather than just 4.
Now, here's the clincher. Rich schools offer a lot of AP courses. Poor schools do not. Beverly Hills High School, with 9% Latinos and Blacks in one of the wealthiest cities in the US, offers 32 AP courses. Inglewood High School, with 97% Latinos and Blacks in a low-income community (less than 12 miles/20 km from Beverly Hills), offers only 3 such courses! (And Inglewood has a slightly larger student population). Fewer AP courses, fewer chances to get that 4+ grade point average, fewer chances to get admitted to university.
Now, I have a special request--since it's holiday time here and the UCI staff/students I would rely on to help me find this information are not available for a couple of weeks. Anybody out there have access to the medium income for these two California cities: Beverly Hills and Inglewood. The type of income (household, family, or individual) isn't important, nor is the year. I'm just trying to find comparable data from a reliable source on this. I would need to know the medium incomes, the type of income (household, etc.), and the full reference info on the source.
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