Watch the video about the big change to the SAT.
Video credit: ABC News
Apart from measuring verbal and mathematical skills, the SAT college entrance exam will now include an “adversity score,” announced The College Board which writes and administers the SAT exam, reported The Wall Street Journal.
The said “adversity score” will factor in an examinee’s social and economic background and will be scored using a 15-factor analysis.Among the factors to be scored are “the crime rate and poverty levels of the student’s high school and neighborhood,” the education and income levels of the student’s parents, the student’s “housing environment,” and whether higher-level and advanced placement (AP) classes were accessible.
According to the same WSJ report, “a score of 50 is considered ‘average,'” while those exceeding 50 indicate hardship. “Privileged” students will have scores below 50. These scores can be accessed through the SAT’s online score reporting system under the “Overall Disadvantage Level” tab. Students will not be able to view, nor challenge, their adversity scores.
The new adversity score was justified by the fact that poor academic performance does not always translate to low SAT scores, claimed The College Board. And with colleges moving away from using diversity quotas, it was important to make them aware of any mitigating factors that may explain poor SAT performance.
David Coleman, CEO of The College Board, explained to the WSJ, “There are a number of amazing students who may have scored less (on the SAT) but have accomplished more. We can’t sit on our hands and ignore the disparities of wealth reflected in the SAT.”
Schools such as Yale University are among the roughly 50 educational institutions that have begun a beta test last year that experimented using the SAT adversity score. Another 100 schools are expected to join in by this year.
So far, Yale has been satisfied with the results. A Yale admissions dean said, “This (adversity score) is literally affecting every application we look at. It has been a part of the success story to help diversify our freshman class.”
In the end, the adversity scores also give colleges and universities more options when it comes to assessing the personal qualifications of applicants. And with greater scrutiny being placed in how schools admit students, adversity scores could smoothen the process.
Some of the recent admissions scandals include the pay-for-play scheme where wealthy and celebrity parents funneled millions of dollars to bogus non-profits just to ensure their kids got admitted to the country’s top schools.
And a lawsuit has also been filed against Harvard University for allegedly discriminating against highly-qualified Asian and Asian-American applicants through “low ‘personal’ ratings that take into account traits such as leadership and likability,” reported