By Natalia Bass, Editorials editor
Recently, the College Board made plans to introduce an adversity score to measure individual students’ “disadvantage level.” This score on a scale of one to 100 is calculated through various factors including the neighborhood the student grew up in, whether or not they grew up with a single parent, and the average income of people in their neighborhood. With the recent college admissions scandals, the implementation of the Environmental Context Dashboard, which includes the adversity score, maintains the College Board’s SAT as a valued test option for colleges to base their admissions on. However, this move has caused quite the uproar from teachers and students alike.
A major disadvantage of the adversity score that has been noticed is that it causes major anxiety for test-takers who have been subjected to it. Because the College Board is reluctant to describe exactly how the score is calculated, students are unaware of the impact on their scores. Additionally, colleges already have the resources to analyze an applicant’s background and the context of their scores without having the College Board do it for them. This detracts the College Board from focusing on improving the SAT and minimizing score gaps. The score also only shows one number for the background of a student without providing detailed descriptions of their history, which individual colleges can look into if required.
Luckily for many anxious students, parents, and teachers, the adversity score was abandoned due to the backlash it received. Instead, the College Board will be launching a tool called Landscape, which will provide information for admissions offices like “…average neighborhood income and crime rates…,” however there will be no individual score. This leaves interpretation to admissions. Individual colleges will be able to use the information provided by the College Board to make their own decisions about the impact of the environment a student grew up in on their scores. This means the Landscape tool will likely have little to no impact on the scores of students because the College Board cannot use a number to define a student’s background.