Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Companion Thread  (Read 2169 times)

redemption

  • Guest
Companion Thread
« on: June 10, 2006, 07:16:58 AM »
 Here

Lily Jaye

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 3095
  • A Schizophrenic Veronica
    • View Profile
Re: Companion Thread
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2006, 11:00:28 AM »
South Side: Where did you read that standardized testing was designed to create a more open higher education system?  I was under the impression that IQ tests were designed to determine who could be fast tracked in the military, and that SATs were originally intended to keep out Jews.
Random 2L who does not spend nearly as much time here as she should.

Steve.jd

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 5313
  • I'm edumacated now, still not photogenic though
    • View Profile
Re: Companion Thread
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2006, 11:47:47 PM »
South Side: Where did you read that standardized testing was designed to create a more open higher education system?  I was under the impression that IQ tests were designed to determine who could be fast tracked in the military, and that SATs were originally intended to keep out Jews.

Guess that backfired ;)
HLS '09

Lily Jaye

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 3095
  • A Schizophrenic Veronica
    • View Profile
Re: Companion Thread
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2006, 03:16:07 PM »
I'm not red, and I'm not going to be around much either, but since I have fifteen minutes to kill, I'll give it a shot:

I can't wait until red. returns as I didn't even see this thread originally.

A few questions:
1. How have historical groups acted when society has made it clear that they are inferior (Jews in Europe for the past 1000 years, Japanese in America during WWII, etc.)

Inferiority is not a simple categories.  There are many ways groups can be considered inferior -- and consequently, there are many ways groups respond to systemic discrimination.

Think of it in terms of playground dynamics.  Nerds are often seen as the most "inferior" group in school.  However, they're also seen as the most intelligent.  Consequently, they often work harder in school and get into better colleges.  Even though they're an inferior group, they latch onto the one thing that's perceived as a strength, and work at it until they actually are better at it than everyone else.

(And trust me, my schools growing up had some pretty dumb nerds.  And yet by senior year, they did manage to outperform a lot of our classmates.)

(And before you even try it, no, I was not a nerd.  I was a tomboy in elementary school, and in high school I was in the artist/stoner crowd.) 

Quote
2. Blacks in the U.S. are labeled as a single group, but do the results on the LSAT change if we’re dealing with blacks from the Caribbean or Africa (1st or 2nd generation) rather than those who’ve been in the U.S. for hundreds of years?

Good question.  I'm not sure the answer is relevant to the anti-AA argument, however.

Quote
3. Has this always been the case for blacks in the United States or is this a relatively recent phenomenon?

Widespread education -- like testing itself -- are relatively recent phenomenons.

Quote
4. If native americans only score 2 points lower when all other factors are held constant should that in any way change your conclusion on AA for blacks and latinos?

No.  Not only do different groups perceive themselves differently, but they are also perceived by society differently.  Consequently, the stereotype effect will still aply to blacks and latinos.

Quote
5. Why focus your efforts specifically on college and graduate school admissions?

Because it's a law school admissions board.  Most of the AA debates around here revolve around how AA works in these spheres.

Quote
6. If we institute AA as you’ve suggested, what happens to AA recipients after college is over?

Her post addressed this.  There isn't a great deal of research done on the topic, but the little that exists is on the neutral-to-positive end of the spectrum.
Random 2L who does not spend nearly as much time here as she should.

philibusters

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1076
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Companion Thread
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2006, 09:24:41 PM »
Hopefully, while at work tomorrow I can google the actual articles cited.  A quick google of stereotype threat however, illustrates that there is controversy over interpreting the data.

However, my main problem is that this is after the fact justification.  I think the best way to look to justifying AA is to look at to the historical causes that gave birth to it.  Its to easy to manipulate social science studies to reach a result after the fact.  When  you look to justify AA you should look to the historical reasons AA exist, why our institutions started the pratice, what core values were at stake and what core values opposed it, and how the values of the nation today way in on the debate.  From my experience as a political science major I find social science studies somewhat unreliable  if observed in isolation because 99% of the time, social science studies verify what the experimenter went in going to prove.  If the original researchers had gone in expecting the opposite results, that would make the study more meaningful for me.

Second, I don't see how this stereotype threat makes up the difference on the LSAT.  I haven't read the study (I hopefully plan to tomorrow and then will comment and if I made mistakes correct them) but it seems like the researchers took students of different races and predicted scores for them on their made up test by using their sat.  For example, somehow they figured a correlation where a 1300 should equal 47 on their test or a 1400 should equal a 51, in other words they assumed a correlation-then the put certain races in the more anxiety filled situations, while leaving the other races not in anxiety filled situations, and found not surprisingly those in anxiety filled situations did not do as good.  If the scientist used the SAT (a test that is substantially similiar to the LSAT in my opinion) as the starting point where races all share similiar feelings of anxiety and none were disadvantaged, how can you even apply the findings in quantative way to the LSAT.  In other words the experiment was not designed to determine if stereotype threat was responsible for the differences in standardize test scores between the races, but whether negative stereotype can affect individuals on tests using their SAT score has a predictive score.

I thought the discussion Pygmalion effects discussion was interesting.  There seems to be something in positive thinking.  What both the stereotype threat tests and to a degree the Pygmalion effect test need is biological colleberation.  For example, there was one piece that said stereotype threat is different from self doubt-both if biology shows the the brain responds in both situations to the anxiety by producing the same hormones, which lead to the same physical effects of lack of concentration-then it is meaningless what terms social scientist use to define the word self doubt and stereotype threat is meaningless from a biological perspective.

I would like someone to take Red's place while she was gone and take up her second point-the LSAT is a stereotype threat test-cause I am not convinced.  I see more merit in the Pygmalion effects theory, where african americans are thought to feel inferior from early in their lives-and not effects how they learn through elementary, middle school, high school, and college even if they are from the same economic class as the white peers.  The Washington Post is doing the interesting series on the black male and the pressures they face, but my point is that while I think there is merit in the thread in that African Americans are psychologically disadvantaged, I don't think the important stuff happens at the test site, I think the more important stuff has been spread out over the say 22 years prior to them taking the test.  Lastly, I don't want to be seen as someone attacking this thread, I think the stereotype threat is a real thing-, but I think using it to explain the differences in LSAT score is stretching the experiment further then the data should be-second I found the Pygmalion effects discussion as intriguing as the Stereotype threat position because it gives a complex answer that is hard to qualify, yet makes sense from my everyday experience.

 My MOST IMPORTANT point however, is that while I believe the social sciences and psychological studies could be useful in gaining insights into how the LSAT and other standardize scores are effected by social factors, I think that when justifying AA we should look at normative historical values-in other words some arguments are best left unquantified.

2008 graduate of William and Mary Law School

SouthSide

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1563
  • Full speed ahead.
    • View Profile
Re: Companion Thread
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2006, 04:52:53 AM »
South Side: Where did you read that standardized testing was designed to create a more open higher education system?  I was under the impression that IQ tests were designed to determine who could be fast tracked in the military, and that SATs were originally intended to keep out Jews.

You are very wrong. In fact, the history is the polar opposite. Jews were basically shut out of top schools (with the exception of the University of Chicago) until after the advent of standardized tests. Jerome Karabel just wrote a great book called "The Chosen" about the history of Ivy League admissions, which discusses this history.

Here's a relevant quote from Malcolm Gladwell's review of the book in the New Yorker:

"In 1905, Harvard College adopted the College Entrance Examination Board tests as the principal basis for admission, which meant that virtually any academically gifted high—school senior who could afford a private college had a straightforward shot at attending. By 1908, the freshman class was seven per cent Jewish, nine per cent Catholic, and forty-five per cent from public schools, an astonishing transformation for a school that historically had been the preserve of the New England boarding-school complex known in the admissions world as St. Grottlesex."

His review, which is available at this link: http://www.gladwell.com/2005/2005_10_10_a_admissions.html

provides a decent overview, but the book itself is well worth the read.

To summarize, standardized tests were an important progressive accomplishment that opened the doors of universities to many groups that previously would never have been considered for elite colleges and universities, expecially Jews.
Columbia 2L.

SouthSide

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1563
  • Full speed ahead.
    • View Profile
Re: Companion Thread
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2006, 05:08:18 AM »
I would like someone to take Red's place while she was gone and take up her second point-the LSAT is a stereotype threat test-cause I am not convinced.  I see more merit in the Pygmalion effects theory, where african americans are thought to feel inferior from early in their lives-and not effects how they learn through elementary, middle school, high school, and college even if they are from the same economic class as the white peers.  The Washington Post is doing the interesting series on the black male and the pressures they face, but my point is that while I think there is merit in the thread in that African Americans are psychologically disadvantaged, I don't think the important stuff happens at the test site, I think the more important stuff has been spread out over the say 22 years prior to them taking the test.  Lastly, I don't want to be seen as someone attacking this thread, I think the stereotype threat is a real thing-, but I think using it to explain the differences in LSAT score is stretching the experiment further then the data should be-second I found the Pygmalion effects discussion as intriguing as the Stereotype threat position because it gives a complex answer that is hard to qualify, yet makes sense from my everyday experience.


I agree with what's bolded here. I think that LSAT performance is one small example of a much larger problem. As I mentioned earlier, the irony of AA is that it attempts to redress this problem, but it also helps contribute to the stereotypes that cause so much psychological damage. At this point, it still seems to be a necessary corrective, but it is not and should not be viewed as a permanent solution to racial inequality.
Columbia 2L.

philibusters

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1076
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Companion Thread
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2006, 10:49:52 AM »
Blasted the other thread is still locked when I tried to respond to the quote from my post, which I wished I had known because I lost the post I posted--that said-the synoposis was this:
Stanley Milgrim study that showed a simple one hour experiment could make good people do bad things is very similiar to the stereotype threat study in a lot of ways.  I think their are dozens of studies of many decades that show the premise that social influences that are so small and subtle we don't notice can drastically effect human behavior, my point was that the stereotype threat study alone, without biological understanding of things like hormones, just tells what those dozens of studies of many decades already hinted at.  Before I jump to conclusions I want not only the study cited, but a biological interpretation of it and other social science studies that build off of it.  (this synaposis ended up being almost as long as the original post that I lost, but not quite)
2008 graduate of William and Mary Law School