Crisis Point


Published Oct 1, 2006 12:00 AM

Find a New Scorecard: Do we rely too much on numbers? And what about transfers?

Kayise: If there are talented students out there that are hardworking and earning the right to attend an institution, then the question becomes not so much how do we find a surrogate for race, but how do we develop a set of criteria that effectively and fairly measures their hard work and the context in which they have achieved? Clearly, there are weaknesses in our continuing reliance on grades and test scores as the primary or, in some cases, sole measure of a student's level of merit and achievement. That should be our challenge as a public institution.

Lifka: Actually, students do get admitted in another way to UCLA where merit is defined differently, and that's at the transfer level. Even in this year of crisis, we did reasonably well with regard to African-American transfer students. At that level, we don't look at SAT scores; we don't look at high school grades. We just look at performance in the community colleges, because 90 percent of our transfers come from community colleges. And once they're here, they do as well as anybody.

Parker: Janina, what are our efforts in outreach, what we now call academic preparation and educational partnership programs? And talk about the reduction in the African-American participation in those programs due to demographic changes in the schools.

Montero: Early Academic Outreach Program [EAOP] is the premier effort from the University of California. And there was a time where the participation of African-American students in EAOP was 70 or 80 percent, but the ethnic representation of the students has changed quite radically. We are at 30 to 40 percent participation of African-American students right now. We were fortunate in that former Chancellor Carnesale allowed us to continue work on those programs, even though the state funding was decreased.

Flennaugh: I understand Chancellor Carnesale was able to find money when money was almost not there. But there are, in my opinion, student groups who have been doing work for a long time and could be better supported in a lot of ways. There have also been opportunities — even just as actions of good faith to match money from a student referendum to increase the capacity and the capabilities of these student groups — that did not happen last year.



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