SAT Company Drops “Adversity” Score

SAT Company Drops “Adversity” Score
  • SAT “adversity score” claimed to create handicap for disenfranchised students.
  • Many pointed out the fact that the potentially prejudicial score missed the mark.
  • Environmental background (e.g., socioeconomics) can create hurdles for students, but a simple equation oversimplifies a complex problem.
  • Questions also arose as to whether the score singled out students for issues of discrimination – e.g. race, gender, and income.

Earlier this year, The College Board announced that it would include an additional score that takes into account adversity in a student’s background. After significant criticisms, the SAT company has decided to drop its plans to include the controversial score.

Originally, the “adversity” score was intended to consider things like high neighborhood crime, attending a struggling school and poverty, all of which can make it more difficult for young learners to flourish. The score scaled students from a low of 1 (meaning little to no adversity) to 100 (meaning extreme adversity or multiple influences).

The College Board criticized the idea that adversity could be easily quantified with math or a verbal score. They also questioned whether or not the score did anything to actually create equity for struggling students who may have had to work harder just to stay in school.

The original idea was born out of a desire to evaluate students with more than a number or test score. While the CB still believes that to be true, they now feel the approach of awarding an “adversity” score forced them to step outside of their circle of responsibility.

In light of that, the CB will not be moving forward with the score. They will, however, continue to provide admissions officers with the newly developed Environmental Context Dashboard. The ECD provides information about disadvantages experienced in a student’s school or neighborhood separately from the SAT score.

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