CLEVELAND — About two million students take the SAT each year. For the first time, their backgrounds will now be a factor in results.
The College Board, which administers the test, will start submitting a so-called “adversity score."
“What this tool allows us to see is there is so much more talent out there than a test score reveals,” David Coleman, College Board CEO, said.
The adversity score will be a number between 1 and 100, calculated using 15 factors.
They include the crime rate and poverty level of the student’s home neighborhood, the quality of their high school, family income, and environment.
Race will not be a factor.
Above a 50 would mean a student had a hardship, while under 50 indicates privilege.
The move is not without controversy.
“It risks reducing something that is very human to a number,” said Brian Rutledge, a college counselor.
Yet Cleveland Schools’ CEO says it is a step in the right direction, particularly for students in poverty who have high GPAs but struggle on standardized tests.
“Students with lower test scores, but higher GPAs, actually persist just as well and often better when they get to college,” Dr. Eric Gordon said. “What the adversity score looks at is other factors that these students have persisted through and have shown up as learners.”
He points out for many low-income families, college is simply out of reach.
“We really have to make sure that we’re creating equitable access for all kids and not only those kids who it’s easy to already get into college,” he said.
Last year, 50 colleges tested the adversity score in a trial period. Next year there will be 150, with more schools on the way.
The scores are not reported to students, but rather college officials, who are likely to be the only ones to know how much they helped in acceptance.