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Author Topic: what do you all think about this?  (Read 4005 times)

giffy

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Re: what do you all think about this?
« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2005, 05:23:21 PM »
Hey, I somehow missed the columbia money. Or maybe I just temporarily forgot. But that sure muddies up your ability to make a decision, I'd imagine ... !

It does, largely because i talked to the dean of columbia on the phone and he went on and on about the long history of columbia grads at the NAACP LDF and the number of NAACP LDF people now on the Columbia faculty. He said the 8 magic letters for someone interested in civil rights law =] On the other hand, with the LRAP programs at Stanford and Yale, the financial difference between those schools and a full tuition scholarship is not quite as great as it seems. For example, if I were to get a public interest job paying $50k/year right out of law school, Stanford and Yale's LRAP programs would each provide approximately $70k over ten years. So it's a difference of $50k, not $120k.

You are one lucky/talented SOB for having that choice to make.  ;D

nekko

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Re: what do you all think about this?
« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2005, 05:23:44 PM »
Headlesschicken
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(4) the big issue with sander's article is the story he draws from these numbers. he argues that the low gpas and bar passage rates of black law students are a result of a "mismatch" between black law students and the schools they attend. however, there is a compelling counter argument that there are features of the educational climate at law schools themselves that play a role in the lowering of gpas and bar passage rates. if this is true, then the effects of the "mismatch" are either reduced or nonexistent.
What is the compelling counter-argument? I ask this because if it were something else and not primarily the academic mismatch problem then why (as noted in the study) do black students who don't have the academic mismatch issue (i.e. have GPA/LSAT scores comparable to their law school peers) perform on an equal level with white students? If there were particular issues which specifically prevented black achievement wouldn't we see this effect not just on the mismatch group but blacks as a whole?

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also, his argument that low gpas RESULT in low bar passage rates is based on a theory that is highly contestable. the low bar passage rates may be related to problems with the bar exam or with the climate at US law schools rather than to the low gpas of black law students. he has to spin a pretty complex theory in order to explain how a student who will not pass the bar with affirmative action in place WILL pass the bar if, in the absence of affirmative action, he or she attends a lower ranked school and attains a higher gpa.
Once again if the issue is something other than the mismatch then why do black students who are matched equally with their peers performing on an equal level? Also I'm not sure why you describeit as a complex theory. Students overmatched in school learn less and get bad grades. Students who aren't overmatched are better able to learn which results in better grades. Obviously if you learn more you should be better prepared for the bar and consequently do better than if you struggled and weren't able to absorb the information. It certainly doesn't seem to me as though this is counter-intuitive.

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many argue that the drastic reduction in black law students at the top schools would have an effect throughout the world of legal education and could dramatically impact the willing of young black men and women to even apply to law school.
This general argument seems to be the most compelling. In that while there are many people who go to law school because they really want to practice law, most go to law school for the purpose of higher earning potential which is strongly correlated to the quality of the school. It doesn't make much sense to me that the number of black applicants would remain the same when the expected reward from applying is reduced. Going to law school if you get into UCLA may seem worthwhile, substantially less so if you go to Random ABA approved school X.

headlesschicken

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Re: what do you all think about this?
« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2005, 06:45:32 PM »
according to a number of law professors, there is empirical evidence that black law students with the same UGPA and LSAT scores at the same institutions do somewhat worse than their white counterparts. See this rebuttal for more on that topic. If Sander's contention that white and black students at similar institutions with similar UGPAs and LSAT scores do similarly is incorrect, then the black achievement gap may be partly the result of post-matriculation factors such as law school environment, biases built into the curriculum or the testing procedures, etc. I believe the authors of the linked article lay out some of the possible post-matriculation factors that may influence black achievement. (For an interesting debate re: the article, check out http://www.legalaffairs.org/webexclusive/debateclub_sander0105.msp).

the problem with sander's contention re: bar passage is that it does not go without saying that being in a more challenging academic environment that lowers one's grades reduces the amount one learns. Sander needs to provide a complex model (he admits in the paper that it's highly theoretical and based on new theories of learning that are only just emerging and have not been fully tested as of yet) for explaining how "Students overmatched in school learn less ... Students who aren't overmatched are better able to learn .... " This is not simple fact: It's the core of Sander's thesis. Couldn't one learn the same amount or more in a challening academic environment while one's grades nonetheless suffered due to the strength of one's peers? I would argue that grades are not always/usually directly related to the amount one learns.
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nekko

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Re: what do you all think about this?
« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2005, 07:46:23 PM »
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according to a number of law professors, there is empirical evidence that black law students with the same UGPA and LSAT scores at the same institutions do somewhat worse than their white counterparts.
I don't see where they argue that. On page 17 of the response you linked where they discuss this, my interpretation is that their argument is that because of the limited pool of black applicants with higher grades and test scores blacks will more frequently have lesser credentials than whites and thus earn lower grades than their white counterparts. This is something entirely different than saying blacks and whites with the same UGPA/LSAT typically results in blacks underperforming whites. In Sander's study he states,
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when we control for the LSAT
and UGPA variables, none of the “race” variables (or the gender variable) is
even close to being statistically significant (all the p-values are well above .05).
This means that when we control for academic credentials, blacks, whites,
Hispanics, and Asians all get pretty much the same grades.174
In other words, the collectively poor performance of black students at elite
schools does not seem to be due to their being “black” (or any other individual
characteristic, like weaker educational background, that might be correlated
with race). The poor performance seems to be simply a function of disparate
entering credentials,


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Couldn't one learn the same amount or more in a challening academic environment while one's grades nonetheless suffered due to the strength of one's peers? I would argue that grades are not always/usually directly related to the amount one learns.
Yes and no. Yes, in that I think someone could learn the same amount or more in a challenging environment but that the strength of the peer group could still leave you at the bottom 10%. That being said though I think a situation where everyone is relatively equal and a situation where there are signficant disparities in preparedness are distinct. It all depends on why you're at the bottom 10%. If you're at the bottom 10% because you don't work very hard then shifting to a less challenging situation will not necessarilly improve your situation. If you're at the bottom 10% because you're simply not getting the material then it's a different situation entirely. If you're not working very hard then you might be learning just as much as everyone else but just aren't applying yourself.

If you're just not getting it you're in an increasingly worse situation. Didn't get a concept? Well now you have a new concept to learn that builds on the one you didn't understand in the first place. Not able to get last weeks reading done? Well now you have that reading plus 200 more pages and it's just going to get worse if you don't catch up. If you're in this situation you're a lot better off being in a slower paced environment. You may not end up with the same amount of breadth since more time would be spent on each topic but you'd know each topic much better.