One thought on “What’s Fair Play in College Admissions? Guest Post by Rebecca Zwick

  • May 27, 2017 at 9:00 am

    In the Netherlands, admissions to studies with a restricted number of slots (e.g. medicine) by weighted lottery were used from 1975 until until. Starting this year, 2017, studies with a restricted number of slots, numerus fixus studies, must use other methods to effect the reduction of applicant numbers, more or less the American way. It was a lottery-with-threshold in the sense that candidates must sit particular high school exit exams, a situation that is definitely very different from the American educational system.
    More info on the Dutch ways of lottery: http://benwilbrink.nl/projecten/lottery.htm

    In Rebecca Zwick (2007). ‘Casting Lots for College?’ [Education Week, http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2007/12/17/16zwick_web.h27.html ] there is one sentence on the Dutch lottery for medical studies, that is at thoroughly at fault:

    “A medical school lottery in the Netherlands was decried by citizens there as “immoral” and was curtailed in 2000 after a public protest.”

    1) This specific lottery is an admissions procedure based on a 1975 law, supported by all parties in the Dutch Parliament.
    2) The lottery was ended only in the year 2016-2017.
    3) Qualifications like ‘immoral’ have not been used in the Netherlands by any substantial group.
    4) There was indeed in the nineties a case of a brilliant student (highest grades on her exit exam) being repeatedly rejected by the weighted lottery (that gave higher chances to students with the better examination results).
    5) A ministerial committee proposed some changes to the lottery system: immediately admitting students with exam results better than a mean of 8 (on a 10 point grading scale). [download report, in Dutch: https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/rapporten/2008/02/18/gewogen-loting-gewogen” ]

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