What is the new "adversity score"?

What is the new “Adversity Score”?


After the recent scenario on the Harvard University lawsuit regarding affirmative action, it seems like the issue of dealing with affirmative action has not come to an end. Within the past week, College Board released their proposal of the new “adversity score” -- an additional report that is sent to students’ colleges about the student’s socioeconomic and demographic background, along with any hardships they may have faced.


College Board’s CEO recently stated that the “adversity score” is not an additional score to the SAT (it does not affect the individual SAT score), but College Board are providing background information about a student to colleges without the student’s prior notice of what that information is. All students in the school and neighborhood get the same report.

The College Board CEO states that this is because the “SAT score can only say so much,” but it makes more sense for the score to be in context of where the student had their educational preparation. Critics claim that providing a numerical value to a student’s background is illogical as colleges already take these factors that College Board are considering to include in their “adversity report” into account when making decisions. Thus, critics believe that it is not College Board’s job to determine a student’s background based on a numerical value, but colleges themselves already know the factors they are weighing in.


The College Board is planning to implement the Environmental Context Dashboard in order to map out a student's academic performance in context to their learning environment.

An example of the Environmental Context Dashboard can be seen below:


(credit to insidehired)


College Board recently released their overview of the Environmental Context Dashboard, which can be viewed here.


However, with the sudden jump in the inclusion of this score this coming year, it's safe to say that it will not greatly affect admissions for the coming year. Colleges are given the information from College Board, but since they have already made their own judgment on affirmative action in the past, it is unlikely for the adversity score to deter them from accepting a qualified candidate because of this new information provided by College Board. While the extent future use of this report remains unknown, it is unlikely that the environmental context will greatly impact admissions at least for the near future.



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