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Practices that are commonly associated with Affirmative Action include the following:

(a) Banding: This is a practice where ranges of scores on an exam are lumped together into groups or “bands,” as a means of concealing inter-group differences in performance. All the scores within any particular band (or range of scores) are considered equivalent. In their essay “The Changing Culture of Affirmative Action,” W.A. Gamson and A. Modigliani explain: “For example, scores from 90 to 100 might all be designated ‘excellent,’ and scores from 80 to 89 might all be considered ‘good.’ An evaluator would distinguish between excellent scores and good scores, but all scores within a band would be counted [as] the same. Thus, an A differs from a B, but all A’s are treated as equivalent to one another, as are all B’s.” After race-norming was outlawed by the 1991 Civil Rights Act, banding became a popular method by which employers sought to “balance” their workforces.

(b) Double Standards and Lowered Standards: In recent decades, the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores of white applicants to America's colleges and universities have been, on average, about 200 points higher than those of their black counterparts. Nonetheless, black students have been admitted to virtually all academically competitive schools at much higher rates than whites.

(c) Race-Norming: This is the practice of adjusting scores on a standardized test by using separate curves for different racial or ethnic groups. It was banned in the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1991.

(d) Set-Asides: Set-asides, which rose to great popularity in the 1980s, are schemes under which federal, state, and local governments reserve a predetermined percentage of contracts for companies owned by nonwhites or women – regardless of any white-owned or male-owned company could have provided the same services less expensively or with higher quality. As of 1989, some 36 states and 190 local governments had such programs in place. The policy has also been widespread in academia, where universities have reserved a predetermined percentage of admissions exclusively for nonwhites.



Double Standards & Lowered Standards



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