SAT ‘Adversity Score’ Will Discriminate More, Not Less

SAT ‘Adversity Score’ Will Discriminate More, Not Less

SAT ‘Adversity Score’ Will Discriminate More, Not Less

In the midst of the college ‘Varsity Blues’ scandal and billionaire Robert F. Smith’s pledge to wipe out $40 million in student loans at Morehouse College, the SAT board is grasping for relevance. It was decided that an ‘adversity score’ would make the SAT less discriminatory and level the playing field. Essentially a student will get points…or not…due to where he or she lives.

“The College Board, which administers the SAT, announced last week that it will now take into account a student’s social and economic background to produce a separate “adversity score.” The adversity score will use 15 factors, divided into three environments: home, neighborhood and school.

The first, home, will assess things like the marital status of the student’s parents and the family’s income. The second score, neighborhood, will ­include home prices and crime rates, while the third, academic environment, will assess things like how many advanced placement classes are offered at the child’s school and how many students get free or ­reduced-price lunch.”

I’ll tell you right now that I hated taking the SAT and ACT. Why? A. Nothing in those tests seemed to have any relevance to what I had been taught – which quite frankly was significantly more than what was contained in those tests, B. The tests seemed to be a waste of time, and C. At least nine fellow classmates of mine who had GPA’s higher than mine scored lower on certain sections of the tests than I did! Stupid tests.

But this ‘adversity score’ is going to level the playing field! But it won’t. It will end up being MORE discriminatory than before. Why?

“The use of the scoring systems has the ability to change the way that admissions officers evaluate applicants for the worse. This determination allows admissions officers to set a lower standard of excellence for applicants of certain statistical backgrounds, without performing a holistic applicant review. Additionally, similarly disadvantaged students who do not meet the adverse classification standards are more likely to be overlooked.

The College Board’s effort is unfortunately a distraction, at best. The addition of adversity scoring offers only a cosmetic solution. Assigning a statistically based impersonal score says nothing about the individual. If the applicant is homeless but the majority of her peers are not, this does not count towards the applicant’s adversity score. Will neighborhood relocation replace bribery as the latest shortcut to college admission?”

According to the architect of this ‘adversity score,’ this is supposed to measure what the students have overcome in their lives.

Oh REALLY? Will this scoring model account for a student whose parents have been dealing with a contentious divorce? Will this scoring model account for a student who just moved to that state/town/city/district 6 months prior? Will this scoring model have the ability to account for those students who never do well with tests of any kind?

Will that ‘adversity score’ model account for students who are dealing with learning disabilities such as dyslexia?

What about those students, such as my daughter, who was diagnosed with epilepsy a year prior to the SAT/ACT tests? She didn’t ask for extra time, but others with health issues did. Does the scoring model account for any of that? Highly doubtful.

Keep in mind, the designer of this ‘adversity score’ model is the same one who, along with others, developed the failure called Common Core.

This so-called ‘adversity score’ is touted as something that will level the playing field. It won’t. It is discriminatory against individual achievement and it’s patronizing on every level.

It checks boxes and then, once the students meet the system’s criteria, hands them a participation trophy whether they want it or not.

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Feature Photo Credit: CollegeXPress.com, cropped and modified

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5 Comments
  • Kris says:

    You know what will fix this? More personal data collected and used to ‘predict’ or ‘correct’ outcomes.

    What could go wrong?

  • Scott says:

    Nina, I think this goes right back to the comments Amanda made in her post, regarding the book by Thomas Sowell…Same exact behavior by liberals..

  • SDN says:

    ” At least nine fellow classmates of mine who had GPA’s higher than mine scored lower on certain sections of the tests than I did! Stupid tests.”

    Do you know that they were actually smarter? More intelligent? More likely to do better? GPA is not an objective measurement; the term “teacher’s pet” did not exist for centuries in a vacuum. Now add to it “fear of being called raaaaacist”, “affirmative action”, and “union lazy”.

    Those tests are designed to measure how well you have mastered the essentials of a core body of knowledge, precisely to avoid the favoritism of a non-objective GPA.

  • Bandit says:

    That’s the intention

  • Trey says:

    The problem is that the adversity score is legit. These folks are finding people who are less able to do college work and giving them preferential admission. That is a complete set up for the people who struggled through the adversity. And if they are from a recognizable subgroup, well the rest of America will think that the folks in the subgroup just don’t measure up to the rest of us. For me the question is are these consequences unintended or not.

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