Predicting College Success of the Educationally Disadvantaged

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  19 Feb 1971:
Vol. 171, Issue 3972, pp. 640-647
DOI: 10.1126/science.171.3972.640


Test scores predict the college grades of educationally disadvantaged students at least as well as they do those of the advantaged. High school grades considerably augment the prediction for both groups. Regardless of socioeconomic level, students who are predicted to earn quite low grades within a particular college will tend to have academic difficulties if enrolled in it. There are social and educational justifications for admitting to a particular college some minority-group students who are marginally qualified for it academically, provided that the students are given adequate financial aid and effective remedial courses, tutoring, and coaching. However, if entrants are greatly underqualified academically, new curricula will be required. These may tend to segregate the specially admitted students from the regular student body, thereby diminishing the pacesetter role of the latter. Also, a degree from a special curriculum may not be viewed by employers, graduate schools, and alumni as equivalent to the other degrees awarded by the institution. Thus, admitting students who are seriously underqualified academically for the particular college seems likely to cause frustrations that may be difficult to resolve. Current demands by minority groups for "relevant" courses may reflect the academic difficulties many of their members encounter in present courses more than the educational unsuitability for them of such courses.

Stay Connected to Science