Saturday, May 25, 2019

In Defense of the SAT Adversity Score - The Atlantic

In Defense of the SAT Adversity Score - The Atlantic
An Imperfect SAT Adversity Score Is Better Than Just Ignoring Adversity
The College Board’s simple, straightforward indicator will make schools pay attention to the tough odds some applicants face.

Last week, the College Board announced a long-overdue innovation: It will try to put students’ SAT scores in context by providing colleges with an adversity measure that summarizes—on a scale of one to 100—the disadvantages that students suffer when they grow up in troubled neighborhoods and attend high-poverty schools.
But many in the chattering classes immediately pounced on the idea—some because the score does not explicitly take account of an applicant’s race and the particular challenges that may come with it, and others because they see it as a sneaky way of enshrining racial quotas. The adversity score’s wonkier critics faulted it for trying to reduce the complexities of a student’s circumstances—which could include a parent’s alcoholism or the premature death of a sibling—to a single number. A score based on school-wide or neighborhood-wide data, skeptics argued, could never accurately capture the gist of any one student’s life.
I have studied aspects of college admissions for decades. While the adversity measure was in development, I myself attended four meetings at the College Board to discuss the concept. I recommended, based on extensive research, that socioeconomic disadvantage be included at the family, neighborhood, and school levels. The College Board ended up using only the last two of the three.

Nevertheless, even an imperfect adversity score is better than failing to account for the difficulty so many students overcome. Research from Anthony Carnevale of Georgetown University has found that the most disadvantaged students, on average, score a whopping 784 points lower on the SAT (out of a CONTINUE READING: In Defense of the SAT Adversity Score - The Atlantic