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Author Topic: New Stanford Law Review Article about black law students  (Read 5157 times)

navyseal69

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New Stanford Law Review Article about black law students
« on: October 19, 2005, 01:05:09 PM »
http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2004_11_00.shtml#1099588591

"Affirmative Action Hurts Black Law Students, Study Finds": The Chronicle of Higher Education (article available to nonsubscribers free for the next five days; for subscribers, its permanent home is here) writes:

Affirmative action hurts black law students more than it helps them, by bumping applicants up into law schools where they are more likely to earn poor grades, drop out, and fail their states' bar exams, according to a forthcoming study by a law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles.

The author, Richard H. Sander, argues that ending racial preferences in law-school admissions would increase the number of black lawyers because it would help ensure that students attend law schools where they are more likely to succeed.

A report of the study, scheduled to appear in the November issue of the Stanford Law Review, has sparked a contentious debate among supporters and critics of affirmative action. . . .

His report, "A Systemic Analysis of Affirmative Action in American Law Schools," says that:

After the first year of law school, 51 percent of black students have grade-point averages that place them in the bottom tenth of their classes, compared with 5 percent of white students. "Evidence suggests that when you're doing that badly, you're learning less than if you were in the middle of a class" at a less-prestigious law school, Mr. Sander says.
Among students who entered law school in 1991, about 80 percent of white students graduated and passed the bar on their first attempt, compared with just 45 percent of black students. In a race-blind admissions system, the number of black graduates passing the bar the first time would jump to 74 percent, he says, based on his statistical analysis of how higher grades in less competitive schools would result in higher bar scores. Black students are nearly six times as likely as whites not to pass state bar exams after multiple attempts.
Ending affirmative action would increase the number of new black lawyers by 8.8 percent because students would attend law schools where they would struggle less and learn more, and earn higher grades.
With the exception of the most-elite law schools, good grades matter more to employers than the law school's prestige.

segundo

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Re: New Stanford Law Review Article about black law students
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2005, 03:36:34 PM »
Wow. That is pretty shocking. Can you post the link to the article?
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thenextstep

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Re: New Stanford Law Review Article about black law students
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2005, 04:43:46 PM »
This article is from Nov of last year, not that new.  Anyway I am trying to find a hard copy of the article because the analysis you copied is not statistically making sense (I teach sociological statistics and it sounds fishy).  So if I find a copy I will link it here.  I don't think that the person doing the study tried to fudge the results or anything, it's just that it doesn't look like they actually compared students from different schools in a way that would show that the black students at the low end of the curve at a high-ranked school are comparable to the black students in the middle to higher end of the curve at lower-ranked schools.  It just doesn't make sense what the conclusions supposedly are.  I'll be back if I figure out more...

navyseal69

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John Galt

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Re: New Stanford Law Review Article about black law students
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2005, 06:14:40 PM »
I wonder if anyone here has actually read Sander's study. First he doesn't establish that the 51% in the bottom half of the classes are the ones failing the bar disproportionately. In fact, there is the alternative that the black students with higher grades were the ones who did poorly on the bar. Without establishing this simple correlation, his study fails. Second, Sanders fails to point out that on a curve system such as most law schools, it is not necessarily the overall quality of work that results in lower grades, but just in comparison to the other students. At a high caliber schools, brilliant students with exceptional quality of work are going to find themselves in the bottom 10% simply because someone has to occupy the bottom. Where are the other 49% of black students falling? If blacks were so unqualified to be in such an institution in the first place, I would expect the proportion in the bottom 10% to be higher. Third, he doesn't account for the fact that blacks by virtue of mainly living in large cities take harder bar exams. Lumping a group that largely takes the CA bar, NY bar, DC bar, ect with a group that has its members in very large group dispersed across the entire country is hardly valid. I'd like to see the white bar passage rate in states where blacks actually take the bar in high numbers. I doubt a lot of blacks take the bar in Minn or Kansas for example. Fourth, I really don't see how failing the bar the first time you take it is indicative of AA hurting students. In fact, the most elite law schools don't profess to teach you how to pass the bar. One has to study on his/her own for that and it is outside the scope of what law schools actually teach. Finally, he doesn't establish that the students at the highest caliber law schools are the black students failing the bar.

snikrep

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Re: New Stanford Law Review Article about black law students
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2005, 06:29:23 PM »
http://www.law.ucla.edu/sander/Systemic/final/SanderFINAL.pdf

There's the link I think - Galt, those arguments seem pretty trivial, if this article made it into the Stanford Law Review I'm guessing basic mistakes like you're highlighting are accounted for (could be wrong, I'm off to read the article right now).

For such a divisive issue, hard data is always good to have - abstract arguments on the philosophical pros/cons of affirmative action never seem to get anywhere.

King80s

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Re: New Stanford Law Review Article about black law students
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2005, 06:48:19 PM »
I wonder if anyone here has actually read Sander's study. First he doesn't establish that the 51% in the bottom half of the classes are the ones failing the bar disproportionately. In fact, there is the alternative that the black students with higher grades were the ones who did poorly on the bar. Without establishing this simple correlation, his study fails. Second, Sanders fails to point out that on a curve system such as most law schools, it is not necessarily the overall quality of work that results in lower grades, but just in comparison to the other students. At a high caliber schools, brilliant students with exceptional quality of work are going to find themselves in the bottom 10% simply because someone has to occupy the bottom. Where are the other 49% of black students falling? If blacks were so unqualified to be in such an institution in the first place, I would expect the proportion in the bottom 10% to be higher. Third, he doesn't account for the fact that blacks by virtue of mainly living in large cities take harder bar exams. Lumping a group that largely takes the CA bar, NY bar, DC bar, ect with a group that has its members in very large group dispersed across the entire country is hardly valid. I'd like to see the white bar passage rate in states where blacks actually take the bar in high numbers. I doubt a lot of blacks take the bar in Minn or Kansas for example. Fourth, I really don't see how failing the bar the first time you take it is indicative of AA hurting students. In fact, the most elite law schools don't profess to teach you how to pass the bar. One has to study on his/her own for that and it is outside the scope of what law schools actually teach. Finally, he doesn't establish that the students at the highest caliber law schools are the black students failing the bar.



JohnGalt... if you were a betting man, would you wager the ones failing the bar were in fact those with higher class ranking?

Brothasmooth

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Re: New Stanford Law Review Article about black law students
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2005, 06:52:09 PM »
http://www.law.ucla.edu/sander/Systemic/final/SanderFINAL.pdf

There's the link I think - Galt, those arguments seem pretty trivial, if this article made it into the Stanford Law Review I'm guessing basic mistakes like you're highlighting are accounted for (could be wrong, I'm off to read the article right now).

For such a divisive issue, hard data is always good to have - abstract arguments on the philosophical pros/cons of affirmative action never seem to get anywhere.

this is dumb.... Just because an article makes it into Stanford Law Review doesn't mean that it should automatically be taken as the gospel truth (irrespective of its accuracy and objectivity).  One of the most important components in critical reading is learning how to effectively evaluate sources...exactly what John Galt did.  

thenextstep

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Re: New Stanford Law Review Article about black law students
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2005, 06:59:32 PM »
It is the case that making it into a big journal is NOT proof that the article is good nor that it uses solid methodology.  I agree with John Galt's critiques.  The author fails to make some important coorelations needed for the logic of his argument.  That doesn't mean he's stupid or something, just that it is really hard to do this type of study in a convincing manner.  He doesn't have the ability to get individual level bar passage data that can be linked to the academic individual level data, which would be necessary to do a better study. 

I'd just like to note that there are plenty of articles published in great journals that make spurious conclusions.  It happens regularly.  Also, law reviews are actually not known for having the greatest peer review standards, in particular for social science research.

frankfurt

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Re: New Stanford Law Review Article about black law students
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2005, 07:48:34 PM »
http://www.law.ucla.edu/sander/Systemic/final/SanderFINAL.pdf

There's the link I think - Galt, those arguments seem pretty trivial, if this article made it into the Stanford Law Review I'm guessing basic mistakes like you're highlighting are accounted for (could be wrong, I'm off to read the article right now).

For such a divisive issue, hard data is always good to have - abstract arguments on the philosophical pros/cons of affirmative action never seem to get anywhere.

this is dumb.... Just because an article makes it into Stanford Law Review doesn't mean that it should automatically be taken as the gospel truth (irrespective of its accuracy and objectivity).  One of the most important components in critical reading is learning how to effectively evaluate sources...exactly what John Galt did.  


Great Point! Who the hell should believe The Stanford Law review, when we have Jon Galt to educate us on AA!