SATs will now contain secret ‘adversity scores’: Students will be rated on deprivation and crime

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SATs will now contain secret ‘adversity scores’: Students will be rated on deprivation and crime in effort to level playing field for poor and minority teens – but nobody will be told the numbers

  •  Every student taking the SAT will now be given an ‘adversity score’ to help equalize the college admissions system for minority and low-income teens
  • The College Board, which administers the test, established the new system
  • The new system will use 15 different factors to determine a student’s adversity score, based on things such as the crime, poverty rates and home values

Every student taking the SAT will now be given an ‘adversity score’ to level the playing field between people with different social and economic backgrounds, but critics say children of affluent parents could be penalized by the new system.

The scoring system was established by the national College Board, the nonprofit which administers the test, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The new system will use 15 different factors to weigh a student’s adversity score, based on things such as the crime and poverty rates in the neighborhood where the teens grew up. 

Other elements of the adversity index include housing values, family median income, whether a student is a child of a single parent, or speaks English as a second language.

This file photo shows a student taking the SAT, which will now incorporate an 'adversity score' to factor in the cultural and socioeconomic challenges affecting each student

This file photo shows a student taking the SAT, which will now incorporate an ‘adversity score’ to factor in the cultural and socioeconomic challenges affecting each student

The quality of the high school that students attend will also be factored into the final adversity score.

‘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, told The Journal. ‘We can’t sit on our hands and ignore the disparities of wealth reflected in the SAT.’

Students will never learn their own scores, but universities will have access to them when reviewing applications.

The system has already been tested in 50 different colleges, with plans to extend to 150 universities this fall, followed by a broader expansion in 2020.

Mary Clare Amselem, a policy analyst with the right-leaning Heritage Foundation said the new system is ‘wildly dehumanizing.’

‘We can’t whittle down people’s background and experience into a number and assume that will give us a good idea of who they are and if they will succeed in college,’ she told DailyMail.com.  

‘I find it extremely problematic that students won’t know what number is assigned to them you have people behind the scenes working to determine what kind of a student you will be in college,’ she added. 

John Barnhill, assistant vice president for academic affairs at Florida State University, told The Journal that wealthier parents who have kids attending high-performing high schools will be frustrated by the change.

‘If I am going to make room for more of the [poor and minority] students we want to admit and I have a finite number of spaces, then someone has to suffer and that will be privileged kids on the bubble,’ he said.

The issue of how to factor in a student’s race and class into admissions decisions has been controversial, finding its way to the center of a lawsuit against Harvard University.

A group of Asian-American students brought the case against the Ivy League school claiming they were being unfairly discriminated against by being held to a higher standard.

The suit claims the university has artificially limited the number of Asian-American students it will accept because that population is disproportionately high performing.

Similar suits have been filed against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and against the University of California system.

Yale University is among the schools that has started implementing the adversity score measure. 

The school has already made an effort in recent years to increase the number of low-income and minority students it accepts, nearly doubling the number of those students to reach 20 percent of admissions, Jeremiah Quinlan, the dean of undergraduate admissions at Yale, told The Journal.

‘This [adversity score] is literally affecting every application we look at,’ he said. ‘It has been a part of the success story to help diversify our freshman class.’

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