College Board Replaces Plan For SAT Student Adversity Score


Announced on Tuesday, the head and chief of the College Board reported that the not-for-profit organization will no longer be implementing their plan for the controversial"adversity score" as a part of the SAT college admissions test.


What Was The SAT Student Adversity Score?

Through increasing concerns and scrutiny of how money and affluence played a major responsibility in candidate university admissions, the College Board initiated the "adversity score". Through the score, the full program would be called the Environmental Context Dashboard. The company had goals of launching and expanding this plan to approximately one hundred fifty additional high schools, higher than the original pilot run of fifty schools.


Originally announced and publicized in May as the "adversity score", the new program was meant to score the socioeconomic status of student test-takers of the SAT college entrance exam. The proclaimed "adversity score" would ultimately factor in data and information about applicants in addition to the student's economic hardship and the environment of their neighborhood.


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The changes and redesign emerge as the College Board attempts to deliver colleges and universities more knowledge and details about the high schools attended by students participating and taking the SAT test. As more universities drop and throw away the SAT college entrance exam as a requirement for admissions, the College Board remains hard-pressed and straining to show their understanding of worries that the SAT favors students and applicants that are better off.


In more recent years, colleges and universities have raised corresponding concerns of the wealth preferential treatment of student test-takers, with more than one thousand schools (ranging from elite liberal arts colleges to research universities and for-profit schools) modifying their application requirements to being test-optional. The data comes from a nonprofit group called FairTest, who contends that standardized examinations are prejudiced against minority groups.


With the growth of these issues and concerns, the College Board's "adversity score" was the company's attempt at reassuring the distressed parties.


The score was proposed to evaluate and assess the kind of district and community a child lived in. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • The proportion of high school students receiving free or reduced lunch

  • The level of criminal activity

  • The average academic attainment

  • The number of advanced course offerings

The "adversity score" faced critics, blaming the mark as dehumanizing and the commencement of race-based admissions.


The not-for-profit College Board was further confronted with repercussions from parents, students, and educators alike. Opposing audiences conveyed intense backlash and disapproval for the new "adversity score".


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SAT Student Adversity Score Replaced With "Landscape"

Responding to the backfire and reactions of the SAT student "adversity score", chief executive of the College Board, David Coleman, made a statement Tuesday on August 27th.


"The idea of a single score was wrong."

Coleman says, "The idea of a single score was wrong. It was confusing and created the misperception that the indicators are specific to an individual student."


The nonprofit organization announced its planned modifications, which include giving students access to data about their own high schools and neighborhood - beginning in the 2020-2021 academic school year.


This new tool - called "Landscape" - will be the replacement of the original student "adversity score".


The latest plan will provide stable "high school and neighborhood information for all applicants" in the hopes of aiding admission officers when completely evaluating and considering every single student, "no matter where they live."


Coleman remarks that "We [have] listened to thoughtful criticism and made Landscape better and more transparent."


The freshly announced project will provide the admissions office with accessibility to a large range of test scores at the student's high school - in order to measure where the applicant's test results fell - including other data such as the median family income, education levels, and crime rates. However, Coleman states that the data points will not be given a score or mark.


"We'll leave the interpretation to the admission's officer."


So What Does The New Program "Landscape" Mean For Your Child?

Although the original SAT student "adversity score" did not take into account a student's ethnicity, the experimental schools that utilized the tool in the pilot test run reported that the socioeconomic data aided in increasing non-white enrollment.


The replacement tool for the "adversity score", known as "Landscape", revises this particular approach but maintains the circumstantial background and context of a student.


The negative repercussions against the initial student "adversity score" criticized how the data was calculated, alongside with what each candidate's results remaining inaccessible to students and families.


In Tuesday's announcement, CEO David Coleman says that this will change.


"Within a year, we'll be able for every family and student, on their College Board account, to show them their neighborhood and school information transparently."

The major changes to take note of regarding the College Board's new "Landscape" are:

  • The new system will supply two separate scores on a student's high school and neighborhood (whereas the previous "adversity score" provided only one)

  • Scores will be available to students, not only to the colleges and universities that applicants are applying for

  • The tool will "be used only as supplemental information to a large amount of individual information contained in the application"

  • There is no overall "adversity score", but all contextualizing measurement points will remain readily available to the admissions office to infer and make considerations from

If you require more information, see the College Board's frequently asked questions for the "Landscape" here.

Today's blog post contains breaking news regarding the College Board's plan to remove and replace the SAT student "adversity score" with a new tool and program called "Landscape". Thank you for supporting 7EDU and reading our blogs for the latest news and information about college admissions, test examinations, and more.


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