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Equity in college admissions: Is it possible?
This talk explores whether it is possible ever to achieve equity in college admissions, given the subgroup disparities in educational opportunities in primary and secondary school. Starting with the observation that subgroups differ in average performance on college entrance examinations, we will review three broad categories of attempted solutions. The first perspective treats the test as a barrier, leading to several proposals to fix it or circumvent it (e.g., the “Test Optional” movement). The second perspective uses tests to gain actionable information about students (e.g., AP Potential). Finally, we will discuss some selection strategies that have attempted to remedy subgroup disadvantages (e.g., affirmative action). Throughout the talk, we will critically evaluate what equity means and demands in this context.
Michael Walker is a Distinguished Presidential Appointee and Director of the Center for Research on Validity, Fairness and Equity in Learning and Assessment at Educational Testing Service. Dr. Walker holds a Ph.D. in quantitative psychology and an MS in statistics, both earned at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. He also has an MA and a BA in psychology, both earned at Wake Forest University. With more than three decades of involvement in the field of testing, Dr. Walker is a recognized, published expert on all aspects of designing and maintaining testing programs. Current research focuses on issues in standardized testing: equating, concordance, subgroup differences, and essay reliability. Published work includes fair test design and use, maintaining and transitioning testing programs; test scaling and equating; test reliability; and use of constructed response items. Dr. Walker has lectured on psychometric issues, both domestically and abroad.
Dr. Walker used to be faculty in the quantitative psychology program at OSU.