Here’s a piece I just posted at WBUR’s Cognoscenti. It’s a real proposal for an experiment that I think could “work” in the sense that no matter what the outcome, we would gain useful information with no real harm (or certainly with no more harm than is already being done to high school students with our current, flawed system).
It’s April, ‘tis the season of embittered commentary about the “unfairness” of the elite college admissions game. High School senior, Suzy Lee Weiss’s acrid reflections in the Wall Street Journal, “To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me,” simply express, with more wit and rage than most, what tens of thousands of American kids and their families are asking themselves: Is this system rigged?
There might be a better way. Last year, Vassar College inadvertently sent acceptance letters to 76 students who were supposed to have been denied admission. The errors were corrected within hours, though not soon enough for some excruciating heartache to those whose fortunes were cruelly reversed. But this fiasco could have been an opportunity for an interesting experiment to see what would have happened to those accidentally-accepted-but-actually-rejected students if they had been allowed to enroll.
It’s an open secret that a large percentage of applicants to elite universities are fully qualified to attend. So, admissions committees of these colleges could safely agree to accept five or ten percent of the applicant pool randomly, without telling anyone who they are, and then track them over a period of 10 or 20 years… Continued at Cognoscenti here.