Virginia Beach agrees to change the way it scores police math exams

So reads the headline from the Hampton Roads news site. Just what changes will be applied to police math exams? The way they are scored – because Hispanics and black people couldn’t reach the 70% cutoff score required to pass it:

VIRGINIA BEACH β€” The city has reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve allegations that it discriminated against black and Hispanic police recruits.

Under a consent decree filed Monday in federal court in Norfolk, the city will change the way it scores the police entrance exam.

The Justice Department had complained that the math portion of the exam had an adverse effect on minority applicants and unfairly excluded them from being hired.

The city will offer to let 124 black and Hispanic former applicants resume the hiring process. Those recruits failed the math test between 2002 and 2005 but would have passed under the new standards.

The city also will create a $160,000 fund to compensate those applicants.

In the 27-page settlement, the Justice Department states that the city did not intentionally discriminate against blacks and Hispanics.

“The Department of Justice has alleged that the testing component disproportionately disqualified minority applicants” Deputy City Attorney Mark Stiles said. “They don’t allege that we engaged in that conduct with the intent of discrimination, but rather that the disparate impact was found to have occurred by our simply using the test.”

In a letter to the city in February, the Justice Department said Virginia Beach had “engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination” against black and Hispanic applicants.

After an 18-month investigation, the Justice Department found that the police force did not reflect the diversity of the city’s population because of how the math test was graded.

The Justice Department claimed that the test’s pass-fail system had a disproportionate effect on minorities because the passing rates for blacks and Hispanics were less than 80 percent of the passing rate for whites.

Can you believe this?

Re: the old standard versus the new standard:

Under the old standard, Virginia Beach required all recruits to score 70 percent on each of three written tests for reading comprehension, grammar and spelling, and math.

The Justice Department questioned whether math is relevant to the daily duties of a police officer. The city agreed to eliminate the 70 percent cutoff score for the math part of the test.

Under the new standard, an applicant must score at least 70 percent on the reading and grammar parts of the test and score an average of at least 60 percent on all three parts of the exam. The new scoring method will take effect as soon as next week, when the next exam will be administered.

According to data from the city, an additional 15 percent of applicants probably could pass the overall exam under the new standard.

“This is the right standard” Stiles said. “The investigation, at least in part, helped us realize what we have to do.”

Yes, and that is ‘dumb down our tests before we get unjustly accused of discrimination against minorities again.’

Is this really the way this country should go about achieving ‘diversity’? I think not.

La Shawn Barber has written about this issue in the past and says what needs to be said much better than I could in prior posts you will find here, here, and here.

Others blogging about this: Right Wing News, GOP Bloggers

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