Newspaper reports are still discussing the story about the numbers of Africans admitted to Oxbridge, but I have not seen any giving the numbers of AAA students available, or any that mention intelligence. I doubt that Admissions Officers read my blog, or indeed that they would survive in post if they were ever caught doing so, but it is perfectly possible that Admissions Officers have friends, and some of those friends might innocently print out this post for them to read when they call round for coffee.
First, let us start with some data on cognitive assessments carried out in schools. They are not face to face Wechsler tests, nor are they the traditional tests on which we have decades of comparative data, but they give us some idea of student capabilities by ethnic group, and that is what we need in order to contribute to this debate. Indeed, looking at the data has a generality beyond the specific case of Oxbridge, and applies to all university entrance matters where ethnicity is an issue. Here are cognitive scores for ethnic groups in Britain, as assessed by the CAT test at school.
In the table below I will concentrate mostly on those groups with more than 1000 subjects and not having “other” in their ethnicity description, since one does not know what ethnicities are included. I simplify the three reasoning measures into one simple average and standard deviation (this is crude but quick). I then give the percentage of each ethnic group who are above IQ 130, on the basis of a requirement that students are IQ 130 and above on the assumption that the population has an average IQ 100 and a standard deviation of 15 points. These are all approximations, since the observed standard deviations are narrower than expected, possibly because the tests may not have been offered to some lower ability children, and they may have omitted private schools with higher ability students. I have rounded the means and standard deviation scores up or down with the usual 0.5 break point, which will have further affected some of the calculations.
As you can see, on these figures Chinese students are the most likely to get to a good university. They would do so at roughly 3 times the rate of white students. White students would be almost 7 times more likely to get to these universities than Black Caribbean students.
Remember also that category of “3 A’s or better” hides a four point scale, ranging from AAA to A*A*A*, so a demanding university can still pick and choose within the students who achieve the minimal entrance level.
Now back to the actual figures of students getting AAA, which is what the universities must deal with. Since only 6600 applicants get a place at Oxbridge, we can assume that if every candidate with at least 3 As applies, then the success rate is 6600/17,146 which is 38%. The final column shows what the actual figures of placement offers should be for Oxbridge. These would be the admissions made on merit only, as judged by scholastic results. There would only be 1 Black Caribbean for every other 277 students.
I do not frequent these establishments, but if you have a pressing interest in using genetic background as an entry criterion, a prospect which does not please me, you may wish to go around counting undergraduates and rate them according to their apparent ethnicities, and compare them with the various calculation shown above. The final point should be very clear: entrance to university cannot be calculated on population numbers alone.