Mexican-American students with mediocre grades and below-average SAT scores can make it to the University of California by acing the Spanish SAT II exam. Low-scoring blacks have no such test to even the odds. But UC is changing the way it weights various tests, which will remove some of the advantage. I was struck by this in the Los Anglees Times story:
At Locke High School, 62% of the students are Latino, nearly all the rest are black, and standardized test scores are among the worst in the state — except on the Spanish exam. Changing the eligibility formula could increase the difficulty of sending such students to UC campuses.
“Our kids are horrible test takers,” said John Mandell, college counselor at Locke. But on these exams, “they do well.” He encourages native Spanish speakers to seize the advantage by taking one of the two Spanish exams offered.
The kids aren’t horrible test-takers when they know the subject matter. Last year, only one Locke senior broke 1,000 — the median score — on the SAT I, but several earned perfect 800s on the Spanish SAT II and more scored in the 700s.