A new “adversity score” assigned by the College Board on the SAT exam will reportedly reflect students’ family income, environment and educational differences. This will be an effort to level the playing field in the highly competitive college admissions process. The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that 50 schools used the new indicator as part of a beta test last year and the College Board plans to bring more than 150 schools into the new plan this fall.
The College Board is a New York-based non-profit that is in charge of overseeing the SAT. This began with a dialogue about wealth and privilege in educational institutions and it intensified this year in wake of the college admissions scandal. Thirty three parents were charged with paying huge sums of money to have their children cheat on the SAT and be admitted into top colleges under the false pretenses of being student athletes.
This new “adversity score” number is calculated by focusing on 15 factors that can better help admissions officers determine an individual student’s social and economic background, according to the Journal. These factors are first divided into three categories: neighborhood environment, family environment and high school environment.
Each of the three categories has five sub-indicators that are indexed in calculating each student’s adversity score. Neighborhood environment will take into account crime rate, poverty rate, housing values and vacancy rate. Family environment will assess what the median income is of where the student’s family is from; whether the student is from a single parent household; the educational level of the parents; and whether English is a second language.
Together these factors will calculate an individual’s adversity score on a scale of one to 100.
According to the Journal, a score of 50 is considered “average.” Anything above 50 proves “hardship” while anything below 50 is considered “privilege.”