Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What does the Baylor Law data leak tell us about affirmative action?

Point of Law.com
By Ted Frank on April 9, 2012 2:46 PM

The Baylor Law admissions office had a bit of an oopsy recently: they sent an email to every incoming student disclosing all of their admissions data: name, address, phone number, GPA, LSAT, admissions acceptance date, race, and scholarship money, a treasure trove of data rarely available to researchers. If you believe Elie Mystal at Above the Law, the data shows that affirmative action isn't such a big deal:

Eyeballing the numbers (and I haven't done a full statistical analysis on this data because I think it's kind of missing the point), I see about a three to four point bump for African-American or Hispanic students. By "bump," I mean to say that if you were a white student, you had a fighting chance to get into Baylor with a 161 or 162 LSAT score. If you were black or Latino, you were in the running with a 159 or 158. There are some outliers, of course -- a black kid with a 156, a white kid with a 158 -- but, in general, I'm eyeballing the mode for white students at 162, and the mode for blacks and Hispanics at 159 or 158.

This is wrong for a couple of reasons. First, there's an iceberg effect; the spreadsheet doesn't have the data of the people who were rejected for admission. If a 3.7 GPA/162 LSAT gets a white a 30% chance of admission, but an African-American a 90% chance of admission (or vice versa), then there's racial bias with real adverse effects on the disfavored race, even if the averages in the admitted student body doesn't show a lot of disparity.

Full Story: http://www.pointoflaw.com/archives/009044.php

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