SAT’s New ‘Adversity Score’ Will Take Students’ Hardships Into Account

The New York Times
SAT The New York TImes James Alexander Michie

Scoring patterns on the SAT suggesting that the test puts certain racial and economic groups at a disadvantage have become a concern for colleges.CreditCreditShiho Fukada for The New York Times

The College Board, the company that administers the SAT exam performed by about two million students a year, will have a significant change. This being the case, it will evaluate students for the first time not only in their mathematical and verbal skills but also in their educational and socioeconomic backgrounds, entering into a difficult battle for the impartiality of high-risk tests.

In this way, the company has announced that it will include a new rating, which is generally known as ‘Adversity Score’ between 1 and 100 in the results of the student tests. An average score is 50, and higher numbers mean more disadvantages. The score will be calculated using 15 factors, including the relative quality of the student’s high school and the crime rate and the poverty level of the student’s neighborhood. Now, it should be noted that this qualification will not affect the test scores of the students, and only university admissions officers will be informed as part of a larger package of data on each examinee.

Furious national debate

It is important to mention that the new measure causes the College Board to fully immerse itself in the furious national debate over the impartiality and merit of university admissions, driven by harsh judicial clashes over affirmative action, a federal investigation into a network of admission cheating in expansion and a booming industry in the preparation of the university that promises results that can pay.

Similarly, it is already well known that universities have long tried to bring a diversity of all kinds to their student bodies, and have expressed concern about whether the SAT can be accepted by families that hire expensive consultants and tutors. Thus, it has been found that the highest scores correlate with students from richer families and those with better educated parents.

Even so, a growing number of universities, in response to criticisms of standardized tests, have made applicants submit SAT or ACT scores. Admissions officers have also tried for years to find ways to assess the difficulties students have had to overcome and predict which students will perform well in college despite the lowest test scores. In this way, the new adversity score should be one of those indicators. It is part of a larger rating system called the Environmental Context Panel that the College Board will include in the test results that it informs schools.

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Source: Anemona Hartocollis | The New York Times

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