The SAT and ACT are often considered the make or break point of whether a student gets into their dream college, but starting this fall, the SAT will offer a new feature to push colleges to look beyond just the test score.
It’s being called the “adversity score” and it takes the student’s background into account. The College Board is the non-profit that oversees the SATs and is leading the charge on the “adversity score.”
The College Board is looking to level the playing field of higher education and capture information about a student's social and economic background for consideration during the college application process.
The rollout comes in the middle of a nationwide discussion about class and race in college admissions. Dozens of parents now face criminal charges, accused of essentially bribing their kids’ way into some of the country’s most elite schools.
The Wall Street Journal reports that a student's adversity score would be calculated by 15 factors that fall into three categories: neighborhood environment, family environment, and high school environment.
Neighborhood environment will consider things like crime and poverty rates, housing values and housing vacancy rates.
Family environment will factor in median income, if a home has a single or both parents, the education level of parents and if English is a secondary language.
The high school environment will look at the rigor of a school's curriculum, free lunch rates and opportunities for advanced placement classes.
That data would come from public sources like the US Census and some data owned by The College Board. The adversity score ranges from 1 to 100, with a score of 50 considered average. Anything lower would be considered a privilege and anything higher would show a hardship.
A student's adversity score will show up alongside their SAT score in a section called the "environmental context dashboard," showing the student's two scores compared to those of their classmates.
The Wall Street Journal reports this has been in the works since 2015 and said 50 schools used the scores during a beta test last year. More than 150 new schools will reportedly join them this fall with even more schools coming on later.
11Alive contacted The College Board for more information on the plan and how it would work. We haven't yet heard back.
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