Reducing Test Score Emphasis for Grad. School Applicants

University Testing

Heartened by an increase in African American and Chicano undergraduate enrollment in the first year of a new policy automatically accepting students who graduated in the top ten percent of their high school classes (see Examiner, Summer 1998), Texas legislators have turned their attention to reforming graduate and professional school admissions.


At an Austin hearing this fall before the House Higher Education Committee, FairTest and other invited experts testified about misuses of the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), and Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Several officials at public universities reported that some departments had minimum exam score requirements, in violation of the test-makers' own guidelines for proper use.


The Committee, chaired by Representative Irma Rangel, expects to develop specific proposals for the next legislative session. In the meantime, staff plan to conduct an "audit" of graduate school admissions practices. Already the Texas Mexican-American Bar Association has endorsed a plan to implement a "top ten percent rule" for law school admissions, which would ignore LSAT scores from applicants with very high undergraduate grades. National data indicate that minority applicants face tougher odds for law school acceptance than white students who earned identical grades at the same colleges.