Another year, another graduating class, another record level of Diversity. West Point now celebrates an even larger number of Black Female graduates. This year, it’s 38. We look forward to 2021’s achievements.
As we previously educed, this ‘achievement’ comes at significant though unacknowledged cost to separated cadets, taxpayers, soldiers, and warfighting capability.
If past trends held true, achieving the new record of 38 Black Female graduates, with historical Black female yields of 64%, would have required 59-60 matriculating cadets. We see from the class profile that 47 Black Female cadets matriculated, with a yield of 80%, which is only somewhat less than other groups.
This is much better than the historicals which indicated so waste and abuse it was practically criminal, so much so that we wonder what changed. We don’t know for sure, but we can present analysis on how the Black Females are admitted relative to other minority groups. In keeping with the theme of female opportunity, let’s see how USMA treats Asian Females.
We refer to the class of 2020 admissions file data to perform an analysis of the two groups’ profiles and chances of admissions. We then relate that to how effectively USMA is serving the country at large.
We will use the combined Math / Verbal SATs as a good shorthand proxy of success at USMA and (presumably) the Army, as discussed in other posts. As always, we acknowledge that this is a good though incomplete indicator of the traits USMA looks for, such as athletic ability and leadership (charisma). However, it’s closely enough correlated to the cumulative cadet performance (and by extension, presumably in the Army) in all areas that we feel it’s adequate for evaluating group opportunity.
Another note: We distinguish between attendees and admits. The files did not give accurate data on who received an offer of admission, so we had to proxy this with GPA data from actual performance. If a cadet had a score, that cadet was admitted and attended. However, we don’t know who got an admissions offer and decided to go somewhere else. This introduces some confounding variables that we have to keep in mind when looking at the data.
First, we assess the overall pool of files opened for both Asian and Black female candidates. The relative profiles of both are below by combined SAT score. “AF” represents “Asian Females” and “BF” stands for “Black Females.”
359 Asian Females (“AF” from here on) opened files and were not admitted. Of those 359, 128 (36%) did not submit SAT scores and are not shown in the graph. 578 Black Females (“BFs”) opened files and were not admitted, and 352 (61%) did not submit SATs. 47 BFs attended and 23 AFs attended.
But this chart is distorted somewhat by the absolute numbers of applicants. Let’s look at the percentage of each demographic at each score range applying.
The average AF file comes with a 1238 combined SAT and average BF file has a 960. The AF quality is considerably higher than that of the BF pool, though the BF pool presents much greater quantity.
What does USMA do with this pool of opportunity?
Let’s similarly look at the actual attendee profiles for AFs and BFs.
We see the numbers of each demographic attending USMA at each score range. Now, because of the higher number of BFs not submitting SATs (in this case, 9 of the attending 47 BF cadets, versus 1 AF cadet not submitting SATs), we look again at the percentage attainments.
This represents the percentage of each demographic attaining the combined SAT score range on the X axis. Here again we see that the AF population is more skewed toward the higher scores.
But this is not news to anyone following the literature of aptitude testing.
What may be new is–returning to our theme about diversity initiatives overwhelming such considerations as military efficacy and human decency–how USMA treats these two demographics. Let’s look at the relative rates of admission for each demographic at each SAT score range.
We see a couple interesting things from this chart.
We see that BF cadets are admitted at much higher rates at much lower scores than AF candidates. An AF with a math-verbal SAT of 1300 has a 20% chance of attending. A BF with that score has better than 1-in-2 odds.
“But what about the far right of the chart, where the probabilities of attending drop off?” This is probably because the really talented folks go to other truly elite schools, especially the high-scoring BF who are in great demand. They are simply too rare to meet both demographic representation goals and the admissions standards for everyone else.
We see that BFs are attending USMA 100% at the 1350 range, and above that are probably looking at other better options. For AFs, this point happens somewhere around 1550-1600 combined SATs.
“So what,” you might say. Well. The attended set of BFs and AFs totaled 47 and 23, respectively, or 67% and 33% of these Minority Female groups combined. But on a rank ordered basis by SATs, the group would have been about 85% AF and 15% BF.
Could anything else account for this disparity? Perhaps “leadership” ability, or “athletic” ability? Tough to say. The average number of high school letters earned by each group were 2.61 for the AFs and 2.79 for the BFs. Each demonstrated athletic ability. “Leadership” in admissions was a bit tougher to identify. But we saw nothing that would obviously close a huge gap in the other, more heavily weighted admissions criteria of academics and aptitude.
This clearly demonstrates that USMA is less focused on selecting the best body of future officers than effecting the social-justice-oriented admissions practices of other progressive institutions of higher “education.” Oh, and again, for sports.
USMA’s leadership, LTG Darryl Williams, is (perhaps unsurprisingly) not showing any signs of focusing more on military rather than social results. In fact, West Point’s admissions profiles are now including class demographics to show how inclusive an institution it is.
This type of statistic rewards appearances of effort instead of results. Will we see more wars won as USMA admits more minorities or women, or discriminates in favor of particular groups of minority women over others? Will we see more advanced technologies, or more effective organizations? Does the right minority officer help recruit more good enlisted candidates? (Spoiler: No, he or she doesn’t.)
How is the effectiveness of such efforts judged, if not by quantitative measures?
Good intentions and feelings will not fell the enemy.
If the recent past is any record, the only results of this type of policy will be increased calls for more military social programs, at the expense of the mission of the Academy and the Army.