Listen to “Are Adversity Scores the Answer?” on Spreaker.
The College Board announced it is calculating an “adversity score” for the SAT in order to boost the chances for students living in the midst of great hardship to get accepted into college.
The adversity score takes 15 different factors into account, including the crime rate and poverty level in a students neighborhood and high school.
“There are a number of amazing students who may have scored less (on the SAT) but have accomplished more,” David Coleman, chief executive of the College Board, said, said according to the Wall Street Journal. “We can’t sit on our hands and ignore the disparities of wealth reflected in the SAT.”
The College Board insists this change does not take race into account. However, Horace Cooper of the Project 21 National Advisory Board isn’t buying it.
“There’s an attempt being made by the SAT testing centers to hide better the utilization of race as a technique for making it easier for some people to be admitted while making it harder for others,” said Cooper, who says students from stable families and communities end up suffering.
“The so-called adversity scale – if it were even race-neutral – appears to say that the parents who work together and stay together in a relationship and it benefits their children are going to now be disadvantaged,” said Cooper.
Cooper believes the extra score for growing up in difficult circumstances provides lousy parents with an incentive to stay that way.
“Children that grow up in households where moms and dads stay together do better financially. They do better academically. They do better in terms of criminal interaction and law enforcement than those who do not. We don’t want to create a situation, where we start at the end and work our way back, and then we end up incentivizing people not to (be concerned about these things,” said Cooper.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Cooper address concerns that disadvantaged students suffer because a chaotic home life causes their studies to suffer through no fault of their own. He also reveals how he believes the college admissions system ought to work.