SAT adds new statistic resource

College Board modifies the adversity score factor after facing backlash.

The decision earlier this year to implement an adversity score on the Scholastic Assessment Test in 2020 garnered controversy among test takers and university officials. The protests resulted in College Board removing the tool on Aug. 27 and replacing it with a modified version.

The New York-based nonprofit, which oversees the SAT, proposed the adversity score on May 20. The score would reflect students’ family income, environment and educational differences. It was originally created after the massive college admissions scandal that exposed affluent parents who paid to get their children into top colleges. Thus, the adversity score was intended to serve as a mitigator for people from all backgrounds.

Although the adversity score has no effect on a student’s actual SAT score, College Board directors admit it is one of the factors colleges and universities regard when they view a student’s background. According to the College Board website, the score measures factors such as crime rates and poverty levels in a student’s neighborhood.

The adversity score was intended to give those with less opportunities an increased probability margin in admissions, which was overlooked in previous years. Though rooted in good intention, the adversity score soon began to draw critics from all perspectives.

Contrary to the exam itself, various observers argued College Board was unrighteously classifying adversity into a quantitative measurement when multiple influencing factors were dependent on each individual student’s unique circumstances. Other observers found it impossible to encapsulate a student’s entire experience accurately in a single data point, as stated in a Fox article.

Administering several improved revisions to the adversity score, College Board now introduces the new replacement, “Landscape.” This new tool displays identical information viewed by colleges about high schools and neighborhoods, enabling schools, students and families to have access to the same data without placing pre-calculated scores on student profiles.

“We listened to thoughtful criticism and made Landscape better and more transparent,” College Board chief executive officer David Coleman stated on the company’s website. “Landscape provides admissions officers more consistent background information so they can fairly consider every student, no matter where they live and learn.”