↑ comment by Dale ·
2021-03-26T15:45:36.398Z · EA(p) · GW(p)
The document is written in legalese, and by a judge who ultimately decided in Harvard's favor, so you have to piece it together from different sections unfortunately:
The personal rating reflects the admissions officer’s assessment of what kind of contribution the applicant would make to the Harvard community based on their personal qualities. [Oct. 17 Tr. 213:22–216:1; Oct. 18 Tr. 39:1–25]. Although the reading procedures have not historically provided detailed guidance on what qualities should be considered in assigning a personal rating, relevant qualities might include integrity, helpfulness, courage, kindness, fortitude, empathy, self-confidence, leadership ability, maturity, or grit.
Mr. Hansen’s less complete models, which did not include variables for racial identities, projected admitted classes with far more Asian students than Harvard’s actual admitted classes, suggesting either that racial tips resulted in fewer Asian students being admitted or that factors correlated with Asian identity that were not included in Mr. Hansen’s models were significantly affecting which applicants Harvard chose to admit.
These statistics on the use of “standard strong” are consistent with the profile ratings Harvard admissions officers assigned to Asian American applicants and white applicants, which show that Asian American applicants excelled, on average, on academic and extracurricular ratings, but were weaker when evaluated on personal and athletic criteria.
Professor Card [The Harvard defence expert] creates an independent model for each admissions cycle, includes the personal rating because he concludes that it does not reflect race and, in any event, includes information that is important to the admissions process such that omitting it skews the outcome, includes the other variables that Professor Arcidiacono omits, and does not interact variables. Using this approach, he comes out with a very slight, and not statistically significant, negative coefficient for Asian American identity and concludes, based on that data and approach, that Asian Americans are not discriminated against in Harvard’s admissions process.
Asian Americans would likely be admitted at a higher rate than white applicants if admissions decisions were made based solely on the academic and extracurricular ratings. Among Expanded Dataset applicants, more than 60% of Asian American applicants received academic ratings of 1 or 2, compared to 46% of white applicants, 9% of African American applicants, and 17% of Hispanic applicants. [Oct. 25 Tr. 49:17–50:5; PX623]. Overall, strong academic applicants are particularly abundant, with a higher percentage of applicants (42%) scoring a 1 or 2 on the academic rating as compared to the percent that score a 1 or 2 on any other rating. [DD10 at 4].46 Asian American applicants’ stronger academic ratings broadly align with their stronger performance across a range of qualitative indicators of academic strength. [Oct. 25 Tr. 41:18–46:9; PD38 at 4–7]. Asian American applicants also average relatively high extracurricular ratings. More than 28% of Expanded Dataset Asian American applicants receive an extracurricular rating of 1 or 2, compared to 25% of white applicants, 16% of African American applicants, and 17% of Hispanic applicants. [Oct. 25 Tr. 52:12–22; PX623]. Although Harvard admissions officers do not believe that Asian American applicants, as a group, have worse personal qualities than other applicants and Harvard alumni interviewers assign personal ratings of 1 or 2 to Expanded Dataset Asian American and white applicants with a similar frequency, [Oct. 23 Tr. 204:1–9; Oct. 24 Tr. 138:11–16; Oct. 25 Tr. 55:7–12], Harvard admissions officers assign Asian American applicants personal ratings that are, on average, slightly weaker than those assigned to applicants from other racial groups, [PX623]. Among Expanded Dataset applicants, 22.6% of white applicants receive a personal rating of 1 or 2, compared to 18% of Asian Americans, 19.4% of African Americans, and 19.1% of Hispanics.
The model implies that when holding constant nearly all of the available observable variables, Asian American identity is associated with a lower probability of being assigned a strong personal Case 1:14-cv-14176-ADB Document 672 Filed 09/30/19 Page 68 of 130 69 rating by an admission officer. More precisely, his model suggests that an average Baseline Dataset Asian American applicant has a 17.8% probability of receiving a 2 or higher on the personal rating, which is lower than the 21.6% chance that the model suggests the applicant would have in the absence of any racial preference. [Oct. 25 Tr. 96:24–97:24; PD38 at 31]. Harvard did not offer a competing regression model to show that no statistically significant relationship between Asian American identity and the personal rating exists, and the Court therefore concludes that the data demonstrates a statistically significant and negative relationship between Asian American identity and the personal rating assigned by Harvard admissions officers, holding constant any reasonable set of observable characteristics.
Third, as discussed supra at Section V.C, E, teacher and guidance counselor recommendations seemingly presented Asian Americans as having less favorable personal characteristics than similarly situated non-Asian American applicants, and the school support ratings do not fully reflect more subtle racial disparities. As the experts’ analyses demonstrate, some race-correlated variation in teacher and guidance counselor recommendations is likely a cause of at least part of the disparity in the personal ratings. See supra at Sections V.C, E. Professor Card’s analysis shows that the school support ratings for Asian American applicants are generally weaker than the ratings for white students when comparing white and Asian American students who receive the same academic rating.
Overall, the disparity between white and Asian American applicants’ personal ratings has not been fully and satisfactorily explained. Because some of the disparity in personal ratings is due to teacher and guidance counselor recommendations, the issue becomes whether the remaining disparity reflects discrimination. The disparity in personal ratings between Asian American and other minority groups is considerably larger than between Asian American and white applicants and suggests that at least some admissions officers might have subconsciously provided tips in the personal rating, particularly to African American and Hispanic applicants, to create an alignment between the profile ratings and the race-conscious overall ratings that they were assigning.