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Ucas to enforce 'name-blind' applications to tackle racial bias watch

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    I'm not sure it would be hard for someone to figure out my ethnicity from my scholastic achievements...

    For instance, if you were to estimate the ethnic identity of people who make top marks in English and History, and choose to take European History and Latin as classes outside their major... what do you think 80-90% of them will be? Conversely, what about people who have records of ESOL classes, or didn't do as well in English?

    You get the idea, right? They can essentially pick who they want by looking at patterns.
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    (Original post by jeremy1988)
    I'm not sure it would be hard for someone to figure out my ethnicity from my scholastic achievements...

    For instance, if you were to estimate the ethnic identity of people who make top marks in English and History, and choose to take European History and Latin as classes outside their major... what do you think 80-90% of them will be? Conversely, what about people who have records of ESOL classes, or didn't do as well in English?

    You get the idea, right? They can essentially pick who they want by looking at patterns.
    That would be fairly pointless on the part of any admissions tutor because it's pure guesswork and I doubt many of them would like to make decisions based on guesses as opposed to the more substantial evidence available to them (exam grades, entrance test scores etc.). They might very well not take people with low grades in English, but that wouldn't be discrimination -- the person being rejected might very well be from an ethnic minority but they would have been rejected for not having the required standard of English rather than because of their ethnicity.

    Equally, it's possible that people who're ethnically from English-speaking countries might have a poor English grade. I've certainly known quite a few white British people who've got grades in English that wouldn't be acceptable to most universities and, should they be rejected for that, it would be based entirely on that in most cases, not on their ethnicity.

    Fair point about certain qualifications being peculiar to certain regions though -- there would be little doubt about the ethnicity of somebody applying with Indian board examination results. At the end of the day, you cannot eliminate every single factor that might lead to discrimination but it's a step in the right direction. :dontknow:
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    this is the worst you could easily find out the person's class if thew addmission's team where told to look up the name of the school the person attends
    i assume this would lead to addmission's team to create a list of favourable schools which includes private ones
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    (Original post by Hydeman)
    That would be fairly pointless on the part of any admissions tutor because it's pure guesswork and I doubt many of them would like to make decisions based on guesses as opposed to the more substantial evidence available to them (exam grades, entrance test scores etc.). They might very well not take people with low grades in English, but that wouldn't be discrimination -- the person being rejected might very well be from an ethnic minority but they would have been rejected for not having the required standard of English rather than because of their ethnicity.
    Actually, there are groups in the US complaining that requiring English competency or only providing English-language instruction is racist, and claim that we're just "cherry-picking" ideal minorities that have assimilated well so we can "be comfortable".
    Equally, it's possible that people who're ethnically from English-speaking countries might have a poor English grade. I've certainly known quite a few white British people who've got grades in English that wouldn't be acceptable to most universities and, should they be rejected for that, it would be based entirely on that in most cases, not on their ethnicity.
    Well, yes, of course it's possible, but statistically speaking, native monolingual English speakers tend to do better in English, and are more likely to be White.

    Organisations that are in favour of positive discrimination and a quota system would likely oppose removing the data because they want them to be given special consideration for their background. Objective consideration wouldn't be considered "good enough".
    Fair point about certain qualifications being peculiar to certain regions though -- there would be little doubt about the ethnicity of somebody applying with Indian board examination results. At the end of the day, you cannot eliminate every single factor that might lead to discrimination but it's a step in the right direction. :dontknow:
    Well, you're right, you might as well try it to see the results. I don't have an issue with it, I just doubt it will result in better outcomes for minorities. White people still have the advantage of typically coming from stable homes, knowing the system and the language better, etc.

    I think the name/race-blind thing is a fair system, though. Whether a fair system can fix discrimination is another matter entirely, though.
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    Seems fair enough.

    As long as the procedure is fair I entirely don't care how many ethnic minorities etc actually get through. This is a step towards that. Obviously where there are no interviews.
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    (Original post by jeremy1988)
    Actually, there are groups in the US complaining that requiring English competency or only providing English-language instruction is racist, and claim that we're just "cherry-picking" ideal minorities that have assimilated well so we can "be comfortable".
    That's actually surprising; for a people more patriotic than British people (generally/on average), I would think Americans would have a more no-nonsense approach to integration. I do hope these groups are in the fringe and not the mainstream. Good thing UCAS is only used for applications to British universities. Addressing this sort of thing in America would open a whole different can of worms, I suspect.

    Well, yes, of course it's possible, but statistically speaking, native monolingual English speakers tend to do better in English, and are more likely to be White.

    Organisations that are in favour of positive discrimination and a quota system would likely oppose removing the data because they want them to be given special consideration for their background. Objective consideration wouldn't be considered "good enough".
    That may be the case but I simply struggle to see why an admissions tutor would bother to take into consideration a statistic when making decisions. Granted, there may be the odd admissions tutor who is secretly a British National Party fanatic and his or her judgement may be influenced but, overall, I don't really see this being a significant factor in admissions.

    That's unfortunate about the rights groups. I really don't think that ethnic background should be a criteria for contextualisation. In fact, most British universities that I know of don't use that at all; they go by things like whether the person attends a poor-performing school and has, in that environment, done better than everybody else; or whether that person gets free school meals (which only those from poor backgrounds are entitled to); or whether they've been in social care and so on.

    As far as that is concerned, under this new system, it's still perfectly possible to have an application form read, 'Candidate #06543 attends a school within the bottom 40 percent of English state schools by exam results and is in receipt of free school meals.' That seems fair to me. I don't much care if that hurts the feelings of anybody advocating positive discrimination. Again, the situation is probably different in America but British universities are always at pains to insist that every applicant is treated equally and as an individual and that there are no quotas (although there are for international applicants -- not along ethnic lines, I should add).
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    (Original post by sdotd)
    what a stupid idea, leave things as they are
    I think its a great idea. Why should we keep things as they are if they are discriminating people, don't you want to stop that ?
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    (Original post by Hydeman)
    That's actually surprising; for a people more patriotic than British people (generally/on average), I would think Americans would have a more no-nonsense approach to integration. I do hope these groups are in the fringe and not the mainstream.
    Yeah, I think they're at the extreme left, and want everyone to be multi-lingual. The extreme right wants everyone to speak English fluently before they even come here. In practice, what ends up happening is that we provide some interpretation services and a few documents/signs in both English and Spanish, but for the most part expect people to learn English well enough to get by over time.

    That's unfortunate about the rights groups. I really don't think that ethnic background should be a criteria for contextualisation. In fact, most British universities that I know of don't use that at all; they go by things like whether the person attends a poor-performing school and has, in that environment, done better than everybody else; or whether that person gets free school meals (which only those from poor backgrounds are entitled to); or whether they've been in social care and so on.
    I like that idea. It seems more fair to judge people on their actual level of poverty and the school they attended than on their race.
    As far as that is concerned, under this new system, it's still perfectly possible to have an application form read, 'Candidate #06543 attends a school within the bottom 40 percent of English state schools by exam results and is in receipt of free school meals.' That seems fair to me. I don't much care if that hurts the feelings of anybody advocating positive discrimination. Again, the situation is probably different in America but British universities are always at pains to insist that every applicant is treated equally and as an individual and that there are no quotas (although there are for international applicants -- not along ethnic lines, I should add).
    I agree with you. I don't think they should have quotas, but the problem is that when they eliminate them, they tend to end up with more White and East Asian people in the student body, and they want to be able to brag about their diversity in an attempt to prove they're not racist. They actually post pie charts showing that they have over 50% minority students, and showing the specific racial breakdown of the campus. Some corporations do the same with their employees.

    I always thought that was messed up, and maybe it was just me... but hearing about another country addressing things in a way I would have considered fair makes me think twice. I will consider telling people that they don't use racial quotas in Europe, though. It might get people to at least consider an alternative to the current system as reasonable.

    I just think that a system that's actually fair is better than one that pretends to be fair by making the numbers look better.
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    The point you are missing is that if you wish to positively discriminate, you should be doing so by collecting the relevant information:

    X has ticked the box saying that he is of Pakistani origin

    Y attends a school where 75% of pupils are eligible for free school meals

    Z states he is male and applying for primary school teaching

    You don't do it by making guesses about a candidate from his or her name.
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    Ingrained bigotry comes in many shapes.
    I have just watch a Warren Farrell lecture on "The Boys Crisis" where he showed how boys average results in exams increased noticeably when marked in gender blind conditions.
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    noice
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    (Original post by Hydeman)
    That would be fairly pointless on the part of any admissions tutor because it's pure guesswork and I doubt many of them would like to make decisions based on guesses as opposed to the more substantial evidence available to them (exam grades, entrance test scores etc.). They might very well not take people with low grades in English, but that wouldn't be discrimination -- the person being rejected might very well be from an ethnic minority but they would have been rejected for not having the required standard of English rather than because of their ethnicity.

    Equally, it's possible that people who're ethnically from English-speaking countries might have a poor English grade. I've certainly known quite a few white British people who've got grades in English that wouldn't be acceptable to most universities and, should they be rejected for that, it would be based entirely on that in most cases, not on their ethnicity.

    Fair point about certain qualifications being peculiar to certain regions though -- there would be little doubt about the ethnicity of somebody applying with Indian board examination results. At the end of the day, you cannot eliminate every single factor that might lead to discrimination but it's a step in the right direction. :dontknow:
    When saying "poor English grade", just how poor are we talking? Just curious for my own sake.
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    As always the elephant in the room is aptitude differences. The UK has an enormous data set for IQ of secondary school pupils, from a test called the CAT (Cognitive Assessment Test):



    The CAT shows that non-white pupils, taken as a whole, are slightly less intelligent than white pupils; that is, the white IQ is slightly above the mean of 100. However, there is enormous variation between different groups of non-whites. Indians perform about the same as whites, blacks and Pakistanis underperform whites, and Chinese outperform whites (note that the quantitative and non-verbal reasoning scores, in which non-whites do better than in verbal reasoning, are probably more representative because they tend to wash out the effect of English not being some pupils' first language).

    Now the government is implying that the racial differences in admissions are due to prejudice rather than bulk differences in the candidates' actual performance. This hypothesis predicts that all these diverse groups of pupils with different aptitudes but all without traditional British names (including "white other groups") should do worse in admissions than pupils with traditional British names (including non-whites) to a similar degree. If in fact aptitude is the deciding factor, we would expect pupils with Chinese names to do better than pupils with traditional British names, who in turn should do better than pupils with Indian names (due to the small penalty they suffer on the verbal reasoning tests, probably due to ESL), who should in turn do better than pupils with Pakistani/Bangladeshi names, who should in turn outperform pupils with African and distinctively Afro-Carribean names.

    In fact Afro-Carribeans, who have the worst aptitude scores, are probably no more likely to have non-British names than white pupils. Are they represented on-par with white pupils, or are they underrepresented? This is a strong test of whether universities are prejudiced based on racial hatred, or whether they discriminate correctly based on aptitude; in this case, underrepresentation of Afro-Carribeans would show that universities are less likely to be prejudiced.

    It is so easy to conclusively prove or disprove whether universities are discriminating based on prejudice (e.g. names), or whether they are discriminating entirely appropriately based on aptitude differences, that I am not sure why these tests have not been carried out and the results published. If it turns out that universities do discriminate based on race (e.g. if Chinese are underrepresented relative to white British) then this seems like a limp response to a real problem. If in fact the government has performed this analysis and not found evidence of such discrimination, it's difficult to see why pursue this policy at all.
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    (Original post by OrionMusicNet)
    When saying "poor English grade", just how poor are we talking? Just curious for my own sake.
    Less than the B/C at GCSE required as a minimum for most university courses. So anything in the D - G region.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    As always the elephant in the room is aptitude differences. The UK has an enormous data set for IQ of secondary school pupils, from a test called the CAT (Cognitive Assessment Test):



    The CAT shows that non-white pupils, taken as a whole, are slightly less intelligent than white pupils; that is, the white IQ is slightly above the mean of 100. However, there is enormous variation between different groups of non-whites. Indians perform about the same as whites, blacks and Pakistanis underperform whites, and Chinese outperform whites (note that the quantitative and non-verbal reasoning scores, in which non-whites do better than in verbal reasoning, are probably more representative because they tend to wash out the effect of English not being some pupils' first language).

    Now the government is implying that the racial differences in admissions are due to prejudice rather than bulk differences in the candidates' actual performance. This hypothesis predicts that all these diverse groups of pupils with different aptitudes but all without traditional British names (including "white other groups" should do worse in admissions than pupils with traditional British names (including non-whites) to a similar degree. If in fact aptitude is the deciding factor, we would expect pupils with Chinese names to do better than pupils with traditional British names, who in turn should do better than pupils with Indian names (due to the small penalty they suffer on the verbal reasoning tests, probably due to ESL), who should in turn do better than pupils with Pakistani/Bangladeshi names, who should in turn outperform pupils with African and distinctively Afro-Carribean names.

    In fact Afro-Carribeans, who have the worst aptitude scores, are probably no more likely to have non-British names than white pupils. Are they represented on-par with white pupils, or are they underrepresented? This is a strong test of whether universities are prejudiced based on racial hatred, or whether they discriminate correctly based on aptitude; in this case, underrepresentation of Afro-Carribeans would show that universities are less likely to be prejudiced.

    It is so easy to conclusively prove or disprove whether universities are discriminating based on prejudice (e.g. names), or whether they are discriminating entirely appropriately based on aptitude differences, that I am not sure why these tests have not been carried out and the results published. If it turns out that universities do discriminate based on race (e.g. if Chinese are underrepresented relative to white British) then this seems like a limp response to a real problem. If in fact the government has performed this analysis and not found evidence of such discrimination, it's difficult to see why pursue this policy at all.
    Firstly as a policy, it has no downside. There is no legitimate reason why university recruiters need to know the information. It is either being used illegitimately or it is not being used at all.

    Secondly university selection is a complex mix of aptitude and attainment which to some degree involves universities making bets on the degree to which attainment does or does not correlate with aptitude (with different universities and different departments making different bets) and which to another extent involves a baseline of attainment regardless of aptitude.

    Testing whether university admission is fair against a baseline of aptitude is irrelevant when universities are not seeking to recruit against pure aptitude.

    That is quite apart from the big question of whether and to what extent IQ is environmentally driven.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    Firstly as a policy, it has no downside. There is no legitimate reason why university recruiters need to know the information. It is either being used illegitimately or it is not being used at all.
    Although I agree with this in principle I think the merits of the policy are separable from the implication by the government that our universities are racist. This delegitimises the admission system and to some extent our entire society, as universities are civic institutions that enact public policy. The government needs to present strong evidence to prove this charge.

    Secondly university selection is a complex mix of aptitude and attainment which to some degree involves universities making bets on the degree to which attainment does or does not correlate with aptitude (with different universities and different departments making different bets) and which to another extent involves a baseline of attainment regardless of aptitude.

    Testing whether university admission is fair against a baseline of aptitude is irrelevant when universities are not seeking to recruit against pure aptitude.
    Aptitude is a large factor, probably a very large factor, in selection for university places in this country, especially outside Oxbridge. If we suppose that aptitude is the only factor in selection then we do not have a perfect model of the real world but we do have a very good approximation that makes clear predictions that diverge from the racial prejudice hypothesis. This permits the two theories to be compared with data.

    My suspicion - though I haven't done the work to prove it - is that the aptitude differences model will explain the data almost perfectly and that the racial prejudice model will fail everywhere its predictions diverge from those of the aptitude differences model.

    That is quite apart from the big question of whether and to what extent IQ is environmentally driven.
    Not relevant here, unless you think that the entire selection system should be abolished. No doubt someone would argue for that but it is not the policy of this or any likely government.
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    (Original post by DiddyDec)
    It is great idea but there is still going to be an issue once it gets to interview stage.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Not all unis conduct interviews for their courses.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    The CAT shows that non-white pupils, taken as a whole, are slightly less intelligent than white pupils; that is, the white IQ is slightly above the mean of 100. However, there is enormous variation between different groups of non-whites. Indians perform about the same as whites, blacks and Pakistanis underperform whites, and Chinese outperform whites (note that the quantitative and non-verbal reasoning scores, in which non-whites do better than in verbal reasoning, are probably more representative because they tend to wash out the effect of English not being some pupils' first language).

    Now the government is implying that the racial differences in admissions are due to prejudice rather than bulk differences in the candidates' actual performance. This hypothesis predicts that all these diverse groups of pupils with different aptitudes but all without traditional British names (including "white other groups" should do worse in admissions than pupils with traditional British names (including non-whites) to a similar degree. If in fact aptitude is the deciding factor, we would expect pupils with Chinese names to do better than pupils with traditional British names, who in turn should do better than pupils with Indian names (due to the small penalty they suffer on the verbal reasoning tests, probably due to ESL), who should in turn do better than pupils with Pakistani/Bangladeshi names, who should in turn outperform pupils with African and distinctively Afro-Carribean names.
    Those statistics are not surprising. You could essentially replace "White British/Irish" with "Non-Hispanic White", and you would have the same table describing test scores in the United States.

    People agree that there's a disparity, but disagree about how to handle this. Some think that the other groups score worse because of systematic discrimination and believe we need to "correct" for it by admitting less qualified members of a group like, say, Black Africans.

    My belief is that averages shouldn't apply to the individual. If treating every applicant fairly means more Asians and Whites get into university, then that's how it should be. Everyone will know that the Blacks who do get in are intelligent, worked hard, and deserved to be there. No one will suspect that they're just there to fill a quota and resent their presence.

    Now, are some races more intelligent than others? Maybe on average, but that doesn't tell you anything about an individual. You could have several Black Africans in there with a score of 120, and that score would be drowned out by all the others who scored lower. I would say that if there's a heritable component at all, going by individual families would probably tell you more than something as broad as visible race.

    I think a purely Mathematical view of reality is dangerous for that reason. It's easy for a Black person to get angry about their race being on bottom of the averages, claim it's all discrimination, but not realise that it says nothing about them personally.

    I mean, there's no guarantee that we won't find a gene that's present in 60% of the White population that affects intelligence positively, but find that it's only present in 30% of the Black population, and 90% of the Asian population. Would that make the 30% of Blacks who had the gene any less intelligent? Of course not. But the idea that any aspect of intelligence might be hereditary is largely taboo, precisely because people fear it would lead to racial discrimination.

    However, if a system based on merit is already in place... then it won't be as big a problem, because everyone knows that the most qualified people in each race rise to the top, and that if they deserve something, they'll earn it regardless of their race. Whereas if we endorse a concept of racial equality premised on an unsteady foundation of all differences being rooted in nurture and enforce it by trying to ensure equality of outcome... then it may all fall apart upon discovery of disproportionately distributed genes that affect intelligence, and we'll end up going right back to the 19th century in terms of attitudes in an angry backlash against a false narrative.
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    I think it's a brilliant idea.

    I'm half English and half Bangladeshi, I have English name and I believe I can gain interviews and jobs easier that my cousins. I feel this is because my cousin have Bangladeshi names. They found it much more difficult to get a interviews and job after university than me and my siblings despite the fact all 3 of them went to better universities. I truly believe this is because of their Bangladeshi names.

    On equality and diversity forms I always state "Prefer not to say". I walk in to an interview, I can see straight away that the interviewers expected a white person. But by getting the interview I feel I show them, that I am normal, and I deserve to be judged in the same way as a White British person.



    (Original post by chazwomaq)
    http://www.theguardian.com/education...ns-racial-bias



    This sounds like a good idea to me. I must say, I was surprised that this wasn't already in place.

    I also don't see why most job applications shouldn't have names removed to remove any sex or ethnicity bias, much as age, martial status and nationality are not included in CVs any more. Candidates should be identified by a number, which is then cross-checked against a list holding their name and contact details once the initial selection decisions have been made. Would give HR something actually useful to do.

    What do you think?
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    (Original post by PrincessZara)
    I think its a great idea. Why should we keep things as they are if they are discriminating people, don't you want to stop that ?
    But this wouldn't change anything at all. They will find other reasons to choose a candidate over another
 
 
 
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