The College Board Plans to Create an SAT ‘Adversity Score’ — Not Everyone Supports the Idea

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The College Board is taking the first steps in assigning students with an “adversity score” to complement their SAT scores as part of the admissions testing for prospective students.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the future SAT scores could include one indicative of the student’s upbringing, including their social and economic backgrounds. The new score will be considered based on a pile of factors under three categories: high school environment, family environment, and neighborhood.

Factors determined relating to the high school include free-lunch rates and availability of Advanced Placement (A.P.) classes. Factors relating to the family include single parenthood, education levels of the parent, and whether English was the student’s first language.

Additionally, the crime and poverty rates of the neighborhood will be taken into consideration.

Although this has been compared to affirmative action, those policies only consider race, not economic or social factors. While students will never see their own score, the College Board thinks the “adversity score” will give universities a better picture of the challenges students faced that could have resulted in a lower score.

Currently, there are disparities in SAT scores based on race, household income, and parental education level.

Take a look:

Wall Street Journal/Screen Shot

The “adversity score” could be used to ensure equal representation of these groups at a university, if that is what the institution is trying to achieve.

So far, the proposal has seen a lot of mixed reactions. Most people question if the change would actually accomplish anything because of the metrics used by the College Board. Many suggested that standardized tests shouldn’t be used in the admissions process at all.

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Others noted that they believe this “adversity score” would only water down the validity of the SAT score itself. Several mocked the College Board for suggesting that their new system would work and suggested other factors that should be taken into consideration.

See some reactions:

While it is clear that the College Board will have to address the questions raised by their proposed “adversity score,” some see this as an alternative to the race-based system of affirmative action.

As IJR previously reported, Harvard University is being sued for reportedly discriminating against Asian students during the interview portion of the application process.

What do you think?


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The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations

Mike Wukitsch

IMHO, this is so wrong. The ability of someone, anyone, to get into college should be based purely and simply on their achievements and ability. This farcical “adversity score” only exacerbates the victim mentality foisted upon minorities who are capable of pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps.





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