The College Board has announced a new score will be added to students’ SAT records. According to The Wall Street Journal, fifteen factors including neighborhood, crime rate, and poverty levels will factor into what is being called an adversity score.
According to The New York Times, the adversity score “would help colleges put test scores in context.”
The College Board, which administers the SAT exam and AP Exams, say the score gives admissions officials more background. They believe it’s a way to inform about the hardships students have been able to overcome.
Importantly, the adversity score will not be communicated to students. Only college officials will see the scores. In addition, the metrics used to determine the score will not be disclosed to the public.
Critics of the plan say it creates a disadvantage for all students. Privileged students who might be on the edge of a high score will be judged on their advantages. On the other hand, high performing students in “disadvantaged” areas will look as though they need a handout. Similarly, other critics say this complicates an already flawed test and program.
With the recent admissions scams and more universities moving away from mandatory testing, this move feels ill timed and poorly communicated. We remain to be convinced an “adversity score” is a good idea.
Something to remember: college admissions professionals are seasoned travel pros. They are already well informed about high schools and neighborhoods. An adversity score adds nothing new to the conversation. The lack of transparency around the score and its metrics is another problem as well.
In conclusion, a College Board adversity score is merely a band aid on a broken system.