SAT Score Report to Include a New Measure of Adversity (or Privilege)

The Wall Street Journal recently reported new details about the The College Board’s plans to calculate an adversity score to every student who takes the SAT.  The adversity score incorporates 15 factors related to crime, poverty, family, and education to provide admissions officers an indication of how much hardship students have overcome, or alternatively, how much privilege students have enjoyed.

What specific factors will be included?

  • Neighborhood Crime Rate
  • Neighborhood Poverty Rate
  • Neighborhood Housing Values
  • Neighborhood Vacancy Rate
  • Median Family Income
  • Single Parent Household
  • Family Education Level
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • Undermatching
  • Curricular Rigor
  • Free Lunch Rate
  • AP Opportunity

Standardized test scores, like the SAT, are often the target of criticism, as students of wealthy, educated parents on average perform better than their peers, and the PARCC scores summarized here on Jersey City Ed are no exception.  Some of the statistics quoted by the WSJ, sourced from the College Board, support the notion that test scores are too heavily influenced by race and socioeconomic factors:

Average SAT Scores by Race

  • Asian: 1223
  • White: 1123
  • Overall: 1068
  • Hispanic: 990
  • Black: 946

Average SAT Scores by Household Income

  • >$200,000:                1230
  • $140,001-$200,000: 1170
  • $100,001-$140,000: 1140
  • $80,001-$100,000:   1120
  • $60,001-$80,000:     1090
  • $40,001-$60,000:     1060
  • $20,000-$40,000:     1020
  • <$20,000:                  970

Average SAT Scores by Highest Education Level

  • Graduate Degree:          1197
  • Bachelor’s Degree:        1129
  • Associate Degree:          1039
  • High-school diploma:   1005
  • No diploma:                    944

The College Board acknowledges that the college admissions process may be too heavily influenced by wealth, privilege, and connections, and while it says the SAT score should be not be used in isolation to rank students or colleges, the College Board stands by its effort to offer colleges this one objective measure of aptitude.  Now they seek to create an objective measure of adversity, too.

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