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SAT to Include 'Adversity Score' with Students' Results

Colleges can use the 'adversity score' to determine if the students' socioeconomic background might have made it difficult for them to get a higher SAT score.

By 2020, many colleges who receive your child's SAT score will also receive an "adversity score" that takes into account how good his high school is and how much crime and poverty is in your neighborhood. 

First reported by The Wall Street Journal and later by other outlets, the score, said The New York Times, is to help admissions officers gauge the challenges some students might have faced that kept them from scoring higher on the SAT.

"Colleges have long been concerned with scoring patterns on the SAT that seem unfavorable to certain racial and economic groups — higher scores have been found to correlate with the student coming from a higher-income family, having better-educated parents, and being white or Asian rather than black or Hispanic," the Times wrote.

The score, which would be reported to colleges, but not to the students, will be on a scale of 1 to 100, with 50 being an average.

David Coleman, chief executive of the Colllege Board, which administers the SAT, hinted at the "adversity score" last month during an interview with the Associated Press following the bribery scandal where wealthy parents were allegedly paying to get their kids admitted to highly selective colleges.

“We’ve got to admit the truth, that wealth inequality has progressed to such a degree that it isn’t fair to look at test scores alone,” Coleman said, “That you must look at them in context of the adversity students face.”

Florida State University, which was in a pilot the SAT ran of the score, said it admitted 400 more students from disadvantaged backgrounds last year because of it.

“It takes the emphasis away from getting the highest score you can get to,” John Barnhill, the school's associate vice president for enrolllment management told the AP. It’s more about, “How did you do where you are?”

According to the New York Times, 150 schools will see the "adversity scores" this year with a wider distribution in 2020.


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