SAT Adding New ‘Adversity Score’ Will Take into Account Student’s Hardship

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The SAT exam originally assessed students’ aptitude in math and verbal skills, but the College Board, who administers the test, has decided to add another factor into the test — an adversity score. This new factor will focus on the environment that the student was raised in as well as the families’ income to help even the playing field.

The adversity score was implemented in 50 schools around the nation last year as part of beta testing, CBS News reported. The College Board plans to introduce the adversity score into 150 more schools this coming year.

The adversity score is broken into three categories: high school environment, family dynamics and neighborhood environments, according to the College Board’s website. Each of the three categories is broken down further into sub-categories.

Neighborhood environment gauges crime rate, vacancy rates, housing values and the poverty rate of the area, the New York Times reported. These factors do not change test scores and are only made available to the college that the student applied to.

“Merit is all about resourcefulness,” David Coleman, who is on the College Board, said. “This is about finding young people who do a great deal with what they’ve been given. It helps colleges see students who may not have scored as high, but when you look at the environment that they have emerged from, it is amazing.”

Coleman told CNN this is simply evening the playing field from students of all walks of life. “There is talent and potential waiting to be discovered in every community — the children of poor rural families, kids navigating the challenges of life in the inner city, and military dependents who face the daily difficulties of low income and frequent deployments as part of their family’s service to our country.”

This newly implemented score was in response to the college admissions scandal where 50 people were charged for illicitly gaining admissions for high school students to top universities in the country.

Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were the two most prominent figures caught in the scandal.