What You Need to Know about the New SAT “Adversity” Score
The College Board plans to implement a new yardstick it calls the “Environmental Context Dashboard.” The index is being referred to widely as the “adversity score.”
It measures factors such as crime rates and poverty levels in students’ neighborhoods to reflect their “resourcefulness to overcome challenges and achieve more with less,” according to David Coleman, the board’s chief executive officer.
Students are scored on a scale of 1 to 100 based on data from records such as the US Census and the National Center for Education Statistics. A score of 50 would be considered average, while a number over 50 indicates more hardship, according to the College Board.
The score takes into account information from the student’s background, but it does not include race.
Instead, it focuses on factors like their high school’s average senior class size, percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-cost lunches, and academic achievement in Advanced Placement classes.
Other factors include a student’s environment at home and in his or her neighborhood, like the crime level, the median family income, and family stability.
The nonprofit College Board says the score offers insight into the resourcefulness of students.
The Environmental Context Dashboard has been piloted at 50 colleges and universities, including Yale and Florida State, according to the College Board. It will be more widely available next year.
At participating schools, applicants from “higher levels of disadvantage were more likely to be admitted, suggesting that the additional context influenced admissions outcomes,” according to the board.
The dashboard rating doesn’t alter a student’s SAT score. It shows how a students’ SAT score compares to those of other students in their school. It doesn’t include personal characteristics beyond the test score. Students and high schools will not have access to the scores for now.
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