Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Game on as 'Top X' Plans Fail to Hit Diversity Spot

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Game on as 'Top X' Plans Fail to Hit Diversity Spot

Article excerpt

US policies that guarantee top-performing school pupils a place at university in order to increase racial diversity on campus have failed because middle-class white families "game" the system by moving children to weaker schools.

This is the finding of research by Thomas Gall, an assistant professor in the economics department at the University of Bonn, which was presented at the Royal Economic Society's 2012 conference at the University of Cambridge last week.

In recent years, several US states, including California, Texas and Florida, have introduced "top X per cent" laws designed to increase campus diversity.

Examining data from Texas, Professor Gall and his colleagues found that the policies had not increased university diversity, but had instead increased the ethnic mix in high schools.

"High school students game the system by switching to weaker schools just before graduating so that they can be in the top X per cent," explains a summary of the research.

"This often leads white, middle-class Texans to move to schools with a broader ethnic mix. …

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