Friday, December 5, 2014

Academic fraud, again: Mathematicians refute oft-cited 'diversity trumps ability' study

A widely touted study claiming diversity is a better attribute than ability in spurring productivity and problem solving – claims used to push diversity classes as graduation mandates at universities – is actually fundamentally flawed, two mathematicians tell The College Fix.

University of Michigan Professor Scott Page, director of the campus’ Center for the Study of Complex Systems, authored the book “The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools and Societies” in 2007 which states “the veracity of the diversity trumps ability claim is not a matter of dispute. It’s true, just as 1+1=2 is true.”

Page’s work has since been cited by universities such as UCLA to create new diversity graduation requirements, and has also been touted by the likes of the U.S. Geological Survey, the Lawrence Berkeley Labs, and even NASA.

It’s a model that has been used “to give a scientific veneer to the diversity field,” according to Professor  Abigail Thompson, a mathematician at UC Davis.

The problem is, she adds, the model is “an example of the misuse of mathematics in the social sciences.” Thompson makes that point in her peer-reviewed critique of the model published September by the American Mathematical Society.  (more...)

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