The Arbitrary Choice of the Predictor in Meritocratic Selection to Higher Education Affects the Selection Outcomes

Sorel Cahan, Ronit Nirel, Eyal Gamliel


Predictive validity considerations in selection dictate choice of the predictor with the highest predictive validity. Implementation of this principle in any specific selection process inevitably entails choice between imperfectly correlated alternative predictors, real or hypothetical, which are equivalent in terms of predictive validity. We show that use of different predictors necessarily results in the admission of partially overlapping groups of candidates. The amount of non-overlap is inversely related to the correlation between predictors and to the selection ratio. For typical values of these factors, the amount of non-overlap is considerable (50%-80%). Thus, the predictor’s identity affects the identity and characteristics of the admitted candidates independently of its validity and can be intentionally used to bias the selection outcomes in a desired direction.

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Copyright (c) 2018 Sorel Cahan, Ronit Nirel, Eyal Gamliel

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Higher Education Studies  ISSN 1925-4741 (Print)   ISSN 1925-475X (Online)


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