SAN DIEGO — When it comes to SAT scores, some students feel the odds are stacked against them, but there's a new effort to help level the playing field.
The non-profit group that administers the exam says it will assign an "adversity score" to reflect students' socioeconomic background.
While critics question whether this is just a ‘PR’ stunt,’ supporters say this new 'adversity score' could lead to more equitable college admissions – providing a socioeconomic profile of each applicant along with their actual test scores.
As the college board puts it, this new score shines a light on those students who have achieved more with less.
For Lincoln High School senior Rosalie Stovell, spending Thursday at an education fair in Mountain View applying for college over this past year has been a trying ordeal.
One of the most stressful parts, said Rosalie, is taking the SAT.
“Personally, I feel like I am a really good student, but I am not a good test taker. I feel like the SAT should not determine how we should get into college,” she said.
Rosalie said she is supportive of the College Board’s new initiative to add a so-called ‘adversity score’ to each student’s traditional reading, writing and math scores. The numerical score will take into account 15 life factors such as poverty level or crime rates in a student’s neighborhood.
The College Board which administers the test, has previously expressed concern that socio-economic inequality impacts SAT results.
Growing up in Encanto, Rosalie said she did not always have access to the same opportunities like college test-prep courses as students in wealthier communities.
Rosalie believes the adversity score could help level the playing field in college admissions.
“I think it is a good idea,” said Rosalie.
Jessica Brigance of a non-profit called Historically Black Colleges and Universities Alumni, which helps mentor students through the admissions process, also agrees with Rosalie.
“I feel like this will give them a better chance,” she said.
According to the board, race will not be a factor in the score.
Last year, 50 colleges BETA-tested it and it will expand to 150 more colleges this coming fall. Students will not see their adversity scores and only admissions officials will view it.