College Board Adversity Score Being Replaced; Old Idea Was ‘Mistake’

In May 2019, the College Board announced plans to create an “adversity score,” a socio-economic number based on fifteen factors including neighborhood, crime rate, and poverty levels, that would “better inform” colleges and universities as to a student’s background. The adversity score wouldn’t change or influence a student’s SAT score. Now (August 2019), according to the Associated Press, that one score idea was “a mistake.”

David Coleman, College Board’s chief executive, said in an interview with The Associated Press that some also wrongly worried the tool would alter the SAT results.

“The idea of a single score was wrong,” he said. “It was confusing and created the misperception that the indicators are specific to an individual student.”

Instead of one score, the College Board will instead provide a revised tool called “Landscape.” It will provide a series of points from both the College Board and government sources.

They include whether the student’s school is in a rural, suburban or urban location, the size of the school’s senior class, the percentage of students eligible for free- and reduced-price lunch, and participation and performance in college-level Advanced Placement courses at the school. Admissions officers also will see a range of test scores at the school to show where the applicant’s falls, as well as information like the median family income, education levels and crime rates in the student’s neighborhood.

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