The SAT Adversity Score

The CollegeBoard is rolling out an ‘Adversity Score,’ which is part of a larger rating system called the Environmental Context Dashboard that the CollegeBoard will include in test results it reports to schools. It has already been piloted by 50 colleges and universities, including Yale. The new score will be rolled out to 150 schools this year and then more widely in 2020. The goal is to contextualize a student’s score based on various environmental factors without looking at race.

How it works: the average score is 50. Higher scores indicate that the student may have encountered more disadvantages based on the quality of the student’s high school, the town’s crime rate, and the poverty level of the nearby area. The Adversity Score is separate from the SAT score.

Some people have concerns that the Adversity Score will diminish students’ chances at acceptance who come from safer neighborhoods and affluent backgrounds. Others take offense to the name “adversity score” as it may artificially label students in a way that might be found offensive.

Our takeaways:

When trying to understand the impact of this score, it’s good to understand why the SAT is offering the adversity score. Some high-profile colleges and universities are currently facing lawsuits that criticize the legality of their acceptance criteria as it relates to diversity. The importance being placed on SAT scores is also under similar scrutiny. The CollegeBoard’s Environmental Context Dashboard shows they are listening to these concerns. It is their way of offering a solution to help colleges while also keeping their tests relevant and an important factor in the admissions process.

“This score will be used to compare students to their peers,” says Curvebreakers Test Prep Owner Nick LaPoma, “making it all the more important that students prepare to be at the high end of scores from their local community.”

The bottom line is this: regardless of standardized test scores and environmental factors, every student has to demonstrate to colleges the same few things:

1) what makes the student unique
2) what makes the student a valuable addition to the school
3) why the student wants to go to that particular school.

Your opportunity to show colleges these things is through your application essays, GPA, extra curricular activities, and leadership roles. Remember, scores are only one aspect of acceptance. To help put it into perspective, you can check out our other blog, “The College Application – It’s not only about GPA & Test Scores.”

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (516) 728-1561 or chat with us online.